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Fragmentation

According to iDefrag, my main disk has about 0.2%/0.5% fragmentation1. Big whoop. My Catalog has six fragments. Again, big whoop.

idefrag_graph.gif

Mac OS X has had, for awhile now, "built-in defragmentation." Something like any file under 20 MB is automatically defragmented when it's touched by the system - to open, to save, etc. Great.

Still, my disks sometimes seem a bit slow. When I was a Mac Genius, we'd use (albeit on the down-low, as it wasn't exactly approved) DiskWarrior to clean up the catalog file and whatnot. It'd spiffy things up nicely.

Occasionally, defragmenting and optimizing the disk layout (i.e. to create a large contiguous block of free space, even if individual files weren't fragmented) improved disk performance, or at least felt like it did.

So that's a long-winded way of getting around to this question: is iDefrag or even DiskWarrior 4.0 worth a purchase? Does anyone (who uses a Mac) defragment or otherwise optimize their disks?

Footnotes

  1. Which, by the way, is 4,000+ files.

12 Responses to "Fragmentation"

  1. I haven't seen a need for it.

  2. I certainly haven't bothered.

  3. Me, either.

  4. I did some optomization once back in 2001/2002 - I choosed where to swap and that was it. It wasn't worth the effort. As of today i don't feel the need to.

  5. Disk Warrior is not really an optimization tool. It's a directory repair tool, and while it will optimize drive structures somewhat, using it as an optimization tool is not really using it correctly.

  6. I use Cocktail once a week and feel it is a good piece of software. If it actually does anything, well, I really don't know, but I can say i enjoy believing it does because my system has never went down.

  7. John C. Welch said on September 22, 2007:

    Disk Warrior is not really an optimization tool. It's a directory repair tool, and while it will optimize drive structures somewhat, using it as an optimization tool is not really using it correctly.

    While that's true to some extent, even the DW manual contains phrases like "DiskWarrior optimizes the directory, improving the speed of all of these activities and many more."

  8. I use idefrag, and it pleases me. In time/write sensitive situations like recording audio/video (especially the real time variety) fragmentation can be a serious issue. I don't know that it makes my disks feel "faster", but when they get fragmented our multi layer real time audio recordings can stutter. A run of iDefrag fixes it right up. I'd say your average user doesn't need to worry about it. If you have a large amount of video or audio files (over 20 MB) it might be useful, though a cursory look at your picture shows a drive far less shredded than mine get. If you were looking at purchasing one or the other, I'd say Diskwarrior just because it's saved my machine once, which made it worth the cost.

  9. I agree with John C. Welch - DiskWarrior is maybe not worth the money *just* as an optimizer, but if you consider it can *repair* non-bootable start up disks as well, then it starts to become worth it. (As I found out once!)

  10. I used to love to watch the defrag program do its thing on my original IBM clone 8088 processor pc, with the massive 10MB hard disk. You could hear the platters spinnin' and workin', and the nifty little graphic gave you the image of a robotic maid or butler dashing all around your house, cleaning up the clutter and organizing it to boot.

    I've never noticed any difference after defragging, but I can believe what Alex is saying about it possibly helping with audio/visual files, etc.

  11. JP said on September 25, 2007:

    I used to love to watch the defrag program do its thing on my original IBM clone 8088 processor pc, with the massive 10MB hard disk.

    PCs have always had a much greater need to defrag than Macs. Much, much greater. PC people I knew defragged almost daily while I'd not defrag for YEARS, if ever.

  12. DiskWarrior is worth the money to have around.

    Remember, it optimizes the disk's directory, which is very difference from optimizing the disk (i.e. defragmenting).

    Defragmenting is a was of time, unless you are doing video editing and want GB of contiguous blocks.


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