>What is defrag

Introduction – What is Defrag

There are many files and folders that our computer’s hard disks handle on a daily basis. Some of them are created during our visit to the internet, and some when new programs are installed. Then there are files created by existing programs during their updation process while others are created directly by us, the users.

Now, just as the files and folders are created, so are they also deleted. The internet browser, when exited, deletes some temporary files or leaves them behind to be deleted at a later stage by the system, during clean up. Uninstallation of programs too, deletes various files and folders. Programs, after updation, removes the temporary files that was in use during the updation. And finally the users move and/or delete files and folders all too frequently.

What all this moving, deletion and addition of files and folders does to the structure of hard disk is, it breaks up the space available in small parts or fragments, and places interdependent files in non-contiguous fashion. This, in turn, leads to wastage of space and slower performance of the computer due to slower access to and retrieval of files. This is when the computer’s hard disk is said to be fragmented.

To remedy the fragmentation, we turn to the process of defragmenting the disk, or we defrag the hard disk. Disk defragmentation is one very important part of system maintenance. When and how often it is required is another question that we will tackle in a while. Back to disk defragging. What is defrag? It is exactly the opposite of the above mentioned problem. What this does is, it moves and reorganizes files and folders on the hard disk in such a way, so as to bring together all the interdependent files and also the fragmented disk space together to form one single large chunk of space that the computer can use for better storage. This in turn increases the PC performance since everything is better organized and now easily and more quickly accessible to the system.

One very important question remaining is when and how often we should defrag the hard disk? If your hard disk doesn’t see too much of action in terms of deletion and addition of files and folders, and installation and uninstallation of programs, your hard disk structure may not be very fragmented and, therefore, may not require defragmentation. Many a times, hard disks used for backup or just storage are not very fragmented simply because they face no installation or uninstallation of programs, and the data on them are hardly moved about. But the system’s primary hard disk, the one which has the operating system installed on it, is usually not so lucky as it suffers the majority of the activities of the computer. Whatever the case maybe, you can always analyze if a hard disk needs defragging by running the concerned utility/program. If the disk is heavily fragmented, you would obviously need to defrag it. And defrag it as often as the fragmentation percentage increases to a significant number, so that you have a smoother computing experience.

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