What is disk defragmentation in Computer? Is it Necessary for Hard Disk Drive?

You have probably heard on occasion that it is good to defragment your computer’s hard drive. At first, a glance is not entirely clear if you are not familiar with the term. What is disk defragmentation in computers, What is defragmenting the hard drive? Why should you do it?

Defragmenting the hard drive with proper guidance will be a very useful process to impact an improvement in the performance of your computer system.

Today I am going to talk about disk defragmentation. It is an operation that is sometimes necessary to put an order in the mechanical hard drives in which you usually write and rewrite regularly, since operating systems such as Windows.

What is Disk Defragmentation?

All the data and files inside your computer are stored in incomplete pieces in storage devices like hard drive, since a video, a photo, or any other file is made up of small fragments of information and ends up being saved in random places on your hard drive.

Windows knows where they are and how to locate them, yet as you use the hard disk for writing and deleting files, it may not always be able to sort them all accurately in close areas of the disk.

Perhaps you have seen that your PC opens applications and programs very slowly. This happens because the data have been disorganized in various pieces of the hard drive, either by saving or deleting files, installing programs, or uninstalling them. As you can see in below’s image of the defragmented hard disk after the process.

fragmented vs defragmented hard disk
Hard disk before and after performing the defragmentation process.

This issue makes the system have to work harder to find the fragments of files that may have been scattered on the disk, causing gradually and over time the speed of the entire computer can endure. In this way, the system turns out to be less agile and it might take longer to do some tasks.

Because of how the files are being composed and erased on the hard drive, with the passage of time-spaces appears between these small parts, this phenomenon is called fragmentation, and it is inherent in the file systems used on mechanical hard drives.

On the other hand, defragmenting the hard drive is a process that involves reorganizing the fragmented files, which is a helpful option to help your laptop or desktop to recover and improve speed of HDD.

In addition to performance, programs and applications will open much faster without having to waste time waiting for them to start, and prevent it from performing extra functions that usually end up slowing it down.

Why Should an computer user Defragment the hard disk drive?

The disk defragmenter deals with rearranging the fragmented data so that disks run smoother and more efficiently, To avoid performance problems in HDD, it is important that you defragment the drive from time to time.

The fragmented hard drive causes the following different problems:

  • Fragmentation makes space on the hard drive useless, causing more space to appear than is actually needed to store files.
  • Reading and writing files slow down as the hard drive heads need more time to move between fragments.
  • It can reduce the life expectancy of the hard disk by increasing the number of head movements.
  • The system will fragment your file into several parts and use the necessary available spaces in different areas of the disk.
  • Fragmentation negatively interferes with the proper functioning of the hardware and can cause it to break down prematurely.
  • When a hard drive becomes fragmented over the long run, the processor has to work harder to find your requesting files, which can lead to a decrease in the overall performance of the device.

What are the advantages of Defragmentation?

Defragmentation is the task with which files are reorganized on hard drives. This has some advantages, such as:

  • By defragmenting the files, the operating system can read the data faster, making it work more agile and fluid.
  • Defragmenting your hard drive fixes problems that arise as a result of drive fragmentation,
  • Make the computer speed up, If the files are organized, it will take less time by not having to search for them.
  • Defragmenting your hard drive makes it possible to reclaim wasted memory, making more free space available.
  • Carrying out this process periodically will also help your computer to be in a better state, and that it will take less time to perform this hard disk defragmentation.

Therefore, it is recommended to address this issue periodically by defragmenting the hard disk, an operation that comprises of eliminating these spaces in memory so that the files are stored continuously.

Is it necessary to Defragmentation with SSDs and flash drives?

No, Not only is it not necessary to perform the defragmentation process on an SSD. On the contrary, it is even harmful, since it can shorten their life cycle. Since SSDs don’t have platters that twist like hard drives, information is stored in memory cells in a non-sequential manner.

Furthermore, by not relying on the movement of a head to record or read data, they do not need to be side by side. But on the other hand, each NAND Flash memory cell has a finite number of write cycles.

This number is much lower than the cycles that a hard disk supports. In this manner, it isn’t advisable to defragment an SSD. Plus, doing so doesn’t address any performance gain when it comes to accessing the data.

FAQs related to Defragmentation of Computer:

What happens to my computer if I defragment my hard disk drive?

If you decide to defragment your computer’s hard drive, you will get an improvement in performance when working with files and applications in your laptop or desktop, which allows you to be more productive and not waste time for the loading of the contents.

Can defragment make available storage space?

During the defragmentation process where the files (their fragments) are requested, it is possible to gain free space within the disk. Normally the recovered space isisn’t a lot, but depending on the number of files  and the degree of fragmentation, the recovered space can be significant.

Can I defragment in MacOS?

Operating systems such as macOS do not tend to fragment mechanical disks as much, so they do not need to defragment hard drives either.

How often should we defragment the hard drive?

It is advisable to do it periodically, it will depend, regardless, on the movement of data on our hard drive. At least once a month or every two months would be a reasonable period.

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