In the context of administering computer systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously. It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmenters also try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence.
Fragmentation occurs when the operating system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files (usually those gaps exist because they formerly held a file that the operating system has subsequently deleted or because the operating system allocated excess space for the file in the first place). Larger files and greater numbers of files also contribute to fragmentation and consequent performance loss. Defragmentation attempts to alleviate these problems.
What is "Defragmentation"; the option that defragment files on my disk?
- When files are moved or deleted some of the information is slightly scrambled or "Fragmented" on the hard disk.
Defragmenting sorts out the files and cleans up the unused space that has garbage files filling it.10
- DEFINITION - Defragmentation is the process of locating the noncontiguous fragments of data into which a computer file may be divided as it is stored on a hard disk, and rearranging the fragments and restoring them into fewer fragments or into the whole file. Defragmentation reduces data access time and allows storage to be used more efficiently. Some operating systems automatically defragment storage periodically; others require that the user occasionally use a special utility for this purpose. Windows 98 comes with a built-in defragmenter as a "system tool" that the user can run. Windows NT did not come with a defragmenter because its file system, NTFS, was designed to minimize fragmentation; however, NT users often find one necessary and several vendors provide defragmenters. Windows 2000 comes with a "light" version of the Diskeeper defragmenter; some users (especially corporate users) use Diskeeper or some other full-function defragmentation program to manage storage efficiency and performance. Windows XP comes with a utility called "Disk Defragmenter."
"Defrag" is a short form of the verb to defragment and sometimes the name of the utility used for defragementing, which is also called a defragmenter.
Over time and with regular use, files and folders on your computer's hard drive break down or become fragmented. This can cause your system to run more slowly and to experience processing problems. Defragmenting your computer generally improves retrieval time and overall performance.
For example, a computer program must access various files on your hard drive every time you try to run it. If those files are spread out on opposite sides of your hard drive instead of gathered and organized neatly, as they are supposed to be, your computer will have to work extra hard and take extra time to access the information it needs. In some cases, severe defragmenting may even cause a program to stop running entirely.
Defragmenting, also referred to as "defragging," reorganizes your hard drive by putting pieces of related data back together so that files are organized in a contiguous fashion. As a result, your computer system can access files more efficiently. By efficiently organizing your files and folders, defragmenting will leave your free space in one big chunk. This will allow your new files to be saves in an orderly fashion, thereby reducing the likelihood of future defragmentation.
As the overall size of disk drives keeps increasing, defragmenting your computer regularly may even help to increase its life-span. When you consider how much harder a system needs to work in order to collect fragmented information across larger and larger disks, it seems likely that defragmenting can help your hard drive last significantly longer.
Though some computer experts argue that today's operating systems are efficient enough to eliminate the need for defragmenting altogether, it is generally recommended that computer users defrag their systems on a regular basis. Average users will probably find that bimonthly defragmenting produces sufficient results, while users who notice a frequent loss of efficiency and speed may choose to defrag more often.
All computer systems come with some type of defragmenter tool, commonly found under the "System Tools" option in Windows-based PC environments. Such tools typically come with an analysis feature that will actually tell users if their computers need defragging or not. You can also defragment disks from a "C prompt" command line using the "defrag" command.10
- makes your computer run quick but it will not do anything bad to your computer like losing your files, the only thing that does is making your computer run quick20
- Imagine that the hard drive is writing lines on a paper with a pencil to write data. Every time you erase data, it takes the eraser and erases a little bit of the lines. Now you have a bunch of disjointed lines and little spaces you can't use to write data.
Defragmentation is when you bring all the lines back together so there are no holes, and now you have a bit more space on your drive!10
- While the other person's answer is quite thorough, it's also quite technical and full of jargon. Think of your hard drive like a bookshelf.
You have to put a book back in the first available spot. You use one file/book and take it out. But you also want to read another book. You take it out. Put the first one back, but it won't fit in the first slot. You have to break it apart. do this a few times, and your books will be all torn apart. Defragmenting puts everything back in order as best as is possible. You can read a book more quickly because you don't have to go searching for all the pieces.
However, realize that defragmenting is tiring work and done too often, can wear out your bookshelf (aka hard drive).10
- Whenever you download lots of files ( or delete them for that matter ) the HDD is likely to get fragmented, which means files are not stored contiguously on the drive. As a result, each time you want to open that file, the HDD has to work even more to gather all the fragments and read it. This is called fragmentation and causes the system to slowdown.
The solution is to defrag the HDD as often as depending on the rate at which it gets fragmented. The defragger will put fragmented files back together contiguously improving data access time and speed. Windows comes witha built in defragger but it has its limitations. There are alternative defraggers like Diskeeper which have advanced automatic functions such as automatic background defrag, low free space defrag etc.
- Deframenting a file is the process of moving the file's data (usually to a contiguous space on the drive) so that it's accessible faster by the computer. Defragmentation is the process of defragmenting most if not all the files on your disk.10
- Defragmentation is the process of locating the noncontiguous fragments of data into which a computer file may be divided as it is stored on a hard disk, and rearranging the fragments and restoring them into fewer fragments or into the whole file. Defragmentation reduces data access time and allows storage to be used more efficiently. Some operating systems automatically defragment storage periodically; others require that the user occasionally use a special utility for this purpose. Windows 98 comes with a built-in defragmenter as a "system tool" that the user can run. Windows NT did not come with a defragmenter because its file system, NTFS, was designed to minimize fragmentation; however, NT users often find one necessary and several vendors provide defragmenters. Windows 2000 comes with a "light" version of the Diskeeper defragmenter; some users (especially corporate users) use Diskeeper or some other full-function defragmentation program to manage storage efficiency and performance. Windows XP comes with a utility called "Disk Defragmenter."10
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