How To: Defragmentation

Defragmentation is the act of rearranging raw data in the computer’s storage drive to be arranged together in sequence. Fragments occur when new data on the drive is stored in different places because other data is occupying the adjacent area. Defragmenting the data will rearrange the fragments to be placed together. The benefits are faster sequential access speed, and improved chance of data recovery. The negative effects are increased risk of drive failure, and possible data corruption during a power failure while defragging.

A full defragmentation can take several hours, and even days depending on the size of the hard drive and the amount of fragmented data. The long process puts a huge strain on the hard drive, increasing heat and wears down the drive.

Defragmentation is considered obsolete and is not necessary for modern hard drives. Defragmentation should near be preformed on solid state drives. Linux and Apple computers do not provide defragmentation tools.

To safely defrag a hard drive, I recommend using a program like Defraggler from piriform.com or Smart Defrag from iobit.com. These programs provide a smart defragmentation option called Quick Defrag. Quick Defrag only defragments the fragmented files and not the entire drive.

Solid state drives should never be defragged. Solid state drives are not effected by fragmentation. Solid state drives automatically rotate the data’s placement over the life time of the drive, so all sections will be used equally. Rotating data increases the drive’s life span and decreases the risk of failure in a single location. Defragmenting a solid state drive increases the drive’s wear, and interferes with the drives automatic rotation.