Tip

Speeding up disk defragmentation

This tip is in response to the series of articles on defragmentation by Serdar Yegulalp. His four recommended practices failed to address a key obstruction to effective defragging:

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the threat of insufficient "free space" to defrag efficiently.

Therefore I have come up with two more pointers for optimizing the process of defragmentation.

Pointer #1. Erase the recycle bin before defragging. Erased files held in the Recycler folder/s will impede or even lock-up sectors needing to be released to provide contiguous space.

In addition, if your system has Norton's Recycle Bin protection enabled (as seems to be the case on most new XP systems), then the Norton's Bin "erase" function needs to be activated to release the huge numbers of deleted files being "protected" for potential "lost-file" recovery purposes.

Better still, users should adopt the practice of deleting files with the shift key depressed and choosing the option to NOT send mundane deleted files to the Recycle Bin. This way, sectors are released immediately after a file is deleted, thereby providing more contiguous space (i.e. less fragmentation).

Pointer #2: Partition your disk/s into two or more equal capacity drives. Then dedicate the drives to separately storing dynamic and static data files. Typically, a three-drive disk can be divided into operating system software on drive C, application software on drive D, and bulky files such as media (photos, videos, audio/MP3) files, tutorials, maps and other infrequently updated files on drive E. With such separate drives (as opposed to a single drive), it is far easier to notice consumption of capacity through the My Computer display, and far quicker to review and purge unnecessary and obsolete files on "individual" drives.

Not only will defrag run quicker per drive (due to the reduced capacity) but it will also run more efficiently when defrag workspace is available in other partitions not being defragged.

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This was first published in October 2006

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