Is Your Hard Drive a Mess?

Find out what disk fragmentation is and how disk defragging improves your computer's performance.
June 2012
by Robin Wark

Ever struggle to find all of the pieces of something in a cluttered mess? That is what your computer often has to do when you try to open a file. This definitely slows down your PC.

When your computer was new, there were lots of physical spaces for your files to be stored. Over time there are fewer spaces available. Sometimes a file needs to be broken up into various parts to be stored.

This happens for a few different reasons. For one, a hard disk drive is made up of storage compartments known as "clusters." Only so much data can fit into each cluster. For example, a cluster might have a fixed size of 300 bytes or characters. A 700-byte file would have to be placed into three clusters. As well, when a file is recalled, worked on and saved again, it might not fit into its original location and must be broken up.

In many cases, due to additions and deletions, the parts of a file are stored might be nowhere near each other. This means that when you want to open a file, the read/write head in your hard disk drive must move a lot to get all of the pieces.

The problems of disk fragmentation

Disk fragmentation can:

  • Significantly increase the amount of time it takes to open and save files.
  • Cause unneeded wear and tear on your computer equipment as your PC must search for all the pieces of your files.
  • In severe cases stop a program from running at all.

What is defragging?

Fragmentation can be corrected through disk defragmentation. Also known as defragging, this process reorganizes your hard drive. It takes parts of files and places them in contiguous locations. This means that they can be found more easily and quickly. Defragging also puts your hard disk drive's free space into a big chunk so that it is easier to save new files.

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Defragging is important for your PC

Disk defragmentation can be a key part of your computer maintenance regimen. Defragging improves your PC's speed in locating and opening or saving files. By reducing the time the read/write needs to travel, defragging can also help extend the life of your computer. Routine defragmentation can keep your hard drive in great shape. Disk defragging is easily done by programs such as RegCure Pro. Defragmentation can take a while to complete. It is best to do this when you won't be using your computer for a while, such as at night.

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