If you have ever heard disk defragmentation helps improves your computer performance, you heard it right! It can optimize your drives to help your computer run effectively. But what is disk defragmentation? Why fragmentation is to be kept in check? In this article OnlineCmag helps you understand these concepts clearly with examples.
What is disk fragmentation?
Fragmentation is a natural process that occurs in the computer’s hard disk drives. If you have gone through the earlier articles on hard disk drives you can understand how data is stored in hard drives. Initially when the hard drive is fresh and new, there are no issues of fragmentation. The operating system always manages to store a file in a contiguous set of clusters. But with time things change, there is a point when there are no contiguous locations to store files of large sizes. Even the modifications made to existing files can’t be stored alongside the original file. So the operating system stores the files at hand in distinct locations. Which means the source file is fragmented and stored in different blocks. So now if the file is to be opened, the operating system has to look into different locations and load the file from them. This process becomes more and more complex with the size of the files. The below example shows fragmentation of files,
So in this example you can see the parts of FILE1 and FILE3 being saved in two distinct locations away from the original files. Hence the time the operating system takes to load these files is much more than that for FILE2 or FILE4 or FILE5.
How can you prevent fragmentation?
Fragmentation is really an issue which can make the best processors look pretty average. Though it is not much considered it really is a serious issue. But unfortunately there is no such possibility to prevent fragmentation. It is a very natural process for all the hard disk drives. In some ways it is useful because moving all the files to create a contiguous gap is not a fast process. But there is one alternative you have at hand and it is Disk Defragmentation.
What is disk defragmentation?
Disk defragmentation is the process in which all the files in the hard drives are organized into contiguous locations. After disk defragmentation the difference is clearly visible because the work of the operating system in loading files is cut down to a large extent.
There are two ways in which you can perform disk defragmentation. They are:
- Using a disk defragmenter
Disk defragmenters are software which are precisely developed for disk defragmentation. They physically reassemble all the files into contiguous clusters. They are also known to consolidate free space, so that the files stored in future are placed in contiguous clusters by the operating system.
- Using a spare hard drive
This is a very easy method but all you need is a spare hard disk drive. Simply what you need to do is to copy all the contents from the drive into the spare hard drive. Delete all the content in the original drive and copy the contents back into the original drive from the spare drive that’s it! The data that is copied is arranged in a orderly fashion thus eliminating fragmentation.
Also note that this technique can be used with any operating system.