How happy we are when we buy a new computer or upgrade an old one — we reinstall the operating system and the necessary programmes. Everything «flies»! But... with time, the feeling of flying is replaced by the feeling of leisurely walking with obstacles. The computer starts to «freeze», files take a long time to open, the system starts to malfunction more frequently. We would like to note that similar «disease symptoms» appear also when the computer is infected with viruses.
What is file fragmentation and how does it occur?
File systems store information in small clusters. To place and store any file, not just one cluster is needed, but a rather large number of them. During the process of writing a file, the operating system provides the required number of clusters that are free, but they are not always arranged sequentially. When a hard disc is formatted or is brand new, information is written to adjacent clusters. But after some time, when the hard disc is sufficiently full, there will be a situation in which adjacent neighbouring clusters are missing. This is when fragmented files appear — the system «scatters» the file into free clusters.
Working with fragmented files is like searching for a necessary thing in an untidy flat: you can find it, but it is long, difficult and inconvenient. Besides, fragmentation increases the wear and tear on the hard disc.
A fair question arises: «what to do?». We want to reassure you. There are many specialised programs to deal with fragmented files. Let's take a look at some of them.
Standard Windows defragmenter
To run the standard defragmentation programme in Windows, open the menu
Start > Standard > Utilities > Disc Defragmentation.
To analyze the need for defragmentation, select the disc and click on the «Analyze disc» button. Defragmentation makes sense if the percentage of fragmented files is more than 10%.
The defragmentation process can take from several minutes to several hours, depending on the degree of file fragmentation. Besides, using the «Set Schedule» function, you can set a convenient time when the OS will automatically defragment discs.
Auslogics Disk Defrag Free
Auslogics Disk Defrag Free is a fairly fast defragmenter that allows you to work in the background.
The program allows you to optimize the file system to speed up your PC.
Among the main advantages are optimisation of system file placement, the ability to defrag individual files, and a Freeware license.
The programme has an intuitive interface that allows the user to easily navigate through the features and settings.
O&O Defrag Free Edition
O&O Defrag Free Edition is one of the most «advanced» programs in the line of free defragmenters. The programme can replace standard operating system defragmentation utilities, can run in the background, and can be launched on a schedule.
Five defragmentation modes are available to users: STEALTH, SPACE, COMPLETE/Name, COMPLETE/Date and COMPLETE/Access. It is also possible to defragment swap files and system files (registry, etc.) at the system boot stage.
Defraggler is a defragmenter from Piriform, the developer of the popular CCleaner and Recuva programs. Defraggler allows you to work both with the disc as a whole and with individual files. It requires minimal user intervention, which makes it possible for even a novice to perform «preventive maintenance» of the file system.
We would like to emphasise that the defragmentation process should only be performed when your PC is connected to an uninterruptible power supply, because during the defragmentation process file sections will be moving and in case of power failure their damage may occur.
Should I defragment files on SSDs?
This is another issue that may interest you. The point is that SSD discs have a limited resource — the number of rewrite cycles. And in the process of defragmentation, as you already know, the programme moves file fragments and performs multiple overwrites. After defragmentation, you will not notice much improvement in the speed of the disc, because the SSD does not have a mechanical moving part, the number of movements of which reduces the reduction of files’ fragmentation.
We wish you a stable and fast operation of your computer!