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I know some people who swore by Disk Defragmenting.

But basically I was wondering if the result (a more responsive computer) is worth the effort (running defragmenter - in a 2GB ram environment that means while i'm running defragmenter i am suffering from a less responsive computer symptom)

Or is it like in order to "maximize" the rate of return of the effort of defragmenting I should do defragmentation like once every X months?

(32 bit Windows Vista Home premium sp2)

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This is actually a damn important question. – Mechanical snail Jul 13 '11 at 21:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I manage about 25 computers in a small office, most of which had been WinXP (which came with no default defrag task scheduled). I wasn't very consistent in managing these machines, so some of them I had scheduled weekly runs of defrag (current favorite is Piriform Defraggler) and others I had not.

Over the last two years I have definitely seen the horrible performance problems that can be caused by not performing a regular defrag. Many of the machines that had run for 2-4 years were being used only for web browsing and light MS Office use, but were 25%-35% fragmented, with even small files having sometimes thousands of fragments. The daily users of these computers knew their computers were frustrating to use, but weren't vocal about it. Only when someone else would sit at their computers and simply try to open Excel or a web browser would they comment "man, this computer SUCKS."

I really like Defraggler because you can easily choose individual files to defrag if you need to.

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If you are running it while you are working, it probably is not worth it.

Everyone has their own opinion on this, but you can probably do this only every three months (or even longer) and be more than fine. Just do it when you are going to be away from the computer.

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Once every three months is good. Or after any heavy additions to the file system (like, say, installing a 5GB game.) – Andrew Lambert Jul 13 '11 at 5:53
Actually, you want to do it before a heavy addition and after a heavy deletion. A heavy addition may or may not be heavily defragment depending on your system. A heavy deletion will almost always leave a big gaping holes, unless you just installed it. – surfasb Jul 13 '11 at 6:45

Is there a reason it can only be done while you're working? Can you schedule a defragment to run late evenings and then schedule a shutdown a couple hours later the same night?

Even if there is substantial fragmentation at the outset and the defrag process may not be able to complete before the shutdown, eventually the task will make it through the entire disk and then be able to, in subsequent runs, complete the defrag without issue within the time frame.

All this being said, with Vista, unless you've specifically disabled it, you're probably already running a defrag regularly in the background during system idle time.

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Yes, you should regularly defragment your drive(s), as it keeps speed up, and can help reclaim lost space. When and how often you do it is purely your choice and opinion.

By default Vista (and 7) attempts to defrag the disk automatically once a week (fired by a scheduled Task, usually on Wednesday at 1AM). So apparently Microsoft's opinion is "once a week" for the general user populace. :)

I used to do it way less (like every few months, or after massive file moves/deletes), and since Vista+ started doing it for me I haven't manually done it (to my computers anyway) in years. ;)

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