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I work with real-time video apps, and just defragged my (Win XP) system to try to improve the general performance. It did... but it appears to have destroyed the generally contiguous nature of certain test folders filled with tens of thousands of sequential images.

Is there any utility that can make the contents of a particular folder as contiguous as possible on the disk so that the disk access time is minimised when reading files in that folder? That is... a folder-level defrag rather than a file-level one?

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Just copying the folder should have a good chance of doing that. You can then delete the original. I guess for maximal effectiveness you'd do this from a live CD to minimise other activity on that disk. –  RedGrittyBrick Jan 9 '12 at 22:07
    
If the file system is fat or fat32, defrag be it Mydefrag or windows, will not rearrange the folders themselves. making a full reorder defrag of Fat, only a partial defrag, a partial mess. Back in win98 days some defraggers were capable of doing the full file folder defrag (disktune). Most of the defraggers now will not touch FAT folders. Add to that the time it takes, and It can be effective to Copy the data to order. Like copy it all to another disk/partition compare it for insurance, then copy it back. FOR FAT. –  Psycogeek Jan 10 '12 at 6:05
    
For what it is worth, I used Auslogics defrag 3.3.0.2 on my NTFS file system. My overnight tests are now on average taking nearly twice as long to run, and no longer complete overnight. –  omatai Jan 10 '12 at 23:00
    
It's worth noting that defragmenting a folder is not the same thing as defragmenting the contents of a folder. Your question about the former is actually referring to the latter. –  Mehrdad Mar 19 '13 at 4:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

MyDefrag is free and offers a scripting language, and optimizing (reordering) by path; "System Disk Monthly" and "Data Disk Monthly" do this. Best part: you can edit those scripts and make your own; note the "zone" functionality, etc. http://www.mydefrag.com/Manual-Scripts.html

Consider, if you didn't know already: disk access at the outer edge of the platter (logical start of the drive) is significantly faster than at the end (inner edge.)

Lastly: think about what your time is worth, and consider an SSD if random IO is really important; these days prices are getting pretty reasonable, approaching that of 10k RPM drives. If you do get an SSD and need the very highest IOPS, some benchmarks done by hardware review sites have shown that SATA interface speed has a significant impact on IOPS.

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Thanks - that looks excellent :) –  omatai Jan 9 '12 at 23:39

You can always purchase a Solid State Drive (SSD) and make fragmentation a non-issue.

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