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Dated: Feb. 22, 2005
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Hard Disk Drive
I'm sure everyone has heard that it is important to defragment their hard drive. People used to say they were going to optimize their hard drive, but now the common term is to defragment.
What does it mean to defragment? Well, if you imagine your hard drive as a bunch of little boxes (with spaces being empty boxes), an unfragmented hard drive would have all of the boxes for 1 program or file together like this:
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4
Well, what happens when you delete program or file number 3? The resulting set up is like this:
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4
Now lets say that you make a new document and save it to your hard drive. It is a very large document. The resulting set up would be
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 5 5
Now you can see that if you wanted to open up file 5, the computer would have to look in two different places before it can open it. This is a simple example of what a fragmented hard drive is. It is very possible that after going an extended period of time without defragmenting your hard drive, you could get a hard drive that looks like this
1 21 34 2 2 34 4 5 6 34 21 1 34 9 12
If the computer wanted to open file 34, it would have to look in 4 places. It gets much worse than this.
To defragment is to take all of the fragmented pieces and put them back in order. Windows comes with a defragmenting program. You can also get third party software such as Norton Utilities which comes with a defragmenting program.
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Let me start with something obvious, so bare with me:
- When you use Windows Defrag, stop: emailing, downloading files, browising, downloading music, etc. Reason for this is that when defrag starts, it analyzes your hard drive. And when you're doing any of the activities listed, it's changing the amount of space in your hard drive. So defrag notices the change, and tries to analyze again before defraging any further.
- Couple of articles that may help are:
Defraging Windows XP
Defragment Your Hard Drive
Let us know if that worked.