Kitz ADSL Broadband Information
adsl spacer  
Support this site
Home Broadband ISPs Tech Routers Wiki Forum
 
     
   Compare ISP   Rate your ISP
   Glossary   Glossary
 
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Pages: [1] 2

Author Topic: Defrag  (Read 8562 times)

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Defrag
« on: March 16, 2013, 01:47:16 PM »

I'm quite obsessive about keeping things running smoothly, so I regularly defrag my hard disks.

Until recently I would use MyDefrag http://www.mydefrag.com < Web site seems to be down at the moment.  Alternative URL for download : http://www.filehippo.com/download_mydefrag/

But MyDefrag seemed to be getting a bit long in the tooth, and hadn't been updated for some time.  So I recently switched to SmartDefrag http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html which seemed to finish faster, and has added feature of boot-time defrag for files that are immovable when Windows is running (pagefile, registry etc).

Last week I installed the new Internet Explorer 10 on my Windows 7 PC, and since then it's taken longer to boot, and whilst doing so there was a noticeable increase in disk thrashing. 

Running SmartDefrag didn't seem to alleviate this, yet it was reporting 0% fragmentation.

I assumed that this slower, noisier boot was just a feature of Internet Explorer 10, and cursed Microsoft.

However, last night I left MyDefrag running overnight (it took a LONG time!) and today, the PC boots up with far less disk thrashing, and seemingly faster too.  (Annoyingly, I hadn't measured a "before" boot time, but it feels faster).

MyDefrag is completely free, SmartDefrag is supported by in-app adverts.  One other thing to note is that SmartDefrag installs with various automatic background defrag features switched on, which you might not want.

Having noticed the improvement today, I think I'm going back to MyDefrag, especially since my main goal is a faster and "smoother" running machine, not speed in completing a defrag.

I assume my improvement is down to MyDefrag having a better algorithm for placing related and regularly used files close together on the disk.

Does anyone have any other "favourite" defrag utilities, and their reasons for liking them?

Ian
Logged

kitz

  • Administrator
  • Senior Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 32550
  • Trinity: Most guys do.
    • http://www.kitz.co.uk
Re: Defrag
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 05:20:40 PM »


Does anyone have any other "favourite" defrag utilities, and their reasons for liking them?
Ian

Im afraid aside from a Norton one that I used maaaaaannyyyy  years ago, Ive only ever used the windows inbuilt one.

These days I have an SSD Drive, so therefore dont use defrag.  However that said... that I suppose I should look at my backup drive. :-[
Logged
Please do not PM me with queries for broadband help as I may not be able to respond.
-----
How to get your router line stats :: ADSL Exchange Checker

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 08:26:33 PM »

Im afraid aside from a Norton one that I used maaaaaannyyyy  years ago, Ive only ever used the windows inbuilt one.

Ah, happy days when Norton Utilities were a decent set of DOS commands that improved the speed and reliability of your computer, not slowed it down through bloatware and added background tasks  :D

Since my above posting, I've run MyDefrag on my reliable (ish) old XP machine, and the difference is very noticeable.

Previously, there would be a 5 -6 second delay between the "loading settings" screen and the desktop appearing, accompanied by lots of disk thrashing.

This despite SmartDefrag being used regularly, and it telling me my disk was 0% fragmented. 

MyDefrag took about 3 hours to run on this disk, but now you barely see the "loading settings" screen flash up before the desktop appears.

The whole thing seems a lot more responsive.

I get the impression that MyDefrag isn't being developed any more, which is a shame if true, and as such I've no idea if it even works on Windows 8.  But it does work on XP, Vista and 7.

Ian
Logged

silversurfer44

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4421
  • Lord Muck
    • Ben Novice Weather
Re: Defrag
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 07:53:27 AM »

Erm! What's this defrag you talk about.  :linux:   :)
Logged
Colin II : It's no good being a pessimist, it wouldn't work anyway.

HPsauce

  • Helpful
  • Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2468
Re: Defrag
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 09:50:07 AM »

Interesting, I'd never heard of MyDefrag before. Might try it. The main site seems to be down but there's a GUI-version site online.  ;)
I do use the IOBit one (SmartDefrag) occasionally but generally just use the Windows inbuilt ones which are OK and pretty automatic in later products though slow, especially on Vista.
The XP version I find is actually as good if not better than any alternative.
The other tool I use is PageDefrag which has been on Microsoft Technet for a fair while now. It does a good job of sorting out messy page files and registry hives on XP.  8)
Logged

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 10:58:23 AM »

Interesting, I'd never heard of MyDefrag before. Might try it. The main site seems to be down but there's a GUI-version site online.  ;)
I do use the IOBit one (SmartDefrag) occasionally but generally just use the Windows inbuilt ones which are OK and pretty automatic in later products though slow, especially on Vista.
The XP version I find is actually as good if not better than any alternative.
The other tool I use is PageDefrag which has been on Microsoft Technet for a fair while now. It does a good job of sorting out messy page files and registry hives on XP.  8)

Ah yes, PageDefrag from Microsoft.  I used to use that, and it's doing a similar thing to SmartDefrag's boot-time defrag for normally onmoveable files, though I think SmartDefrag also moves MFT files that PageDefrag can't (could be wrong on this).

As I recall I stopped using PageDefrag because it wouldn't work on Windows 7, though again I might be wrong - it's been a while now.

I agree about the built-in defrag utilities, they are pretty good, the Windows 7 one in particular.

Regarding the Unix vs Windows disk defragmentation thing. 

Surely any disk format of whatever type or OS is going to suffer from fragmentation.  How you deal with it is going to affect performance.  Is it the case that Unix deals with fragmentation on-the-fly, effectively preventing fragmentation happening as it writes files?  If so, the downside of this strategy is slower disk writes?

And whilst it may be the case that some disk formats are more susceptible to fragmentation than others, I find it difficult to imagine one that doesn't suffer from fragmentation AT ALL, excepting solid state "disks" where fragmentation ought to be irrelevant.

Also, what happens if you have an NTFS or even FAT32 partition being used heavily under a flavour of Unix/Linux?

Genuinely curious, as I know very little about those operating systems!

Historical note : prior to the late 1980's, the official Digital response to fragmentation on it's Files-11 disk format in VAX/VMS was a) that it didn't really happen (it did!) and b) that you should "defragment" by doing a file by file backup of one disk to another disk or tape, then restore it  :-X

In later versions of VMS they introduced filesystem calls that could be used by defrag programs to safely move files on the fly.

Ian
Logged

roseway

  • Administrator
  • Senior Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 39682
  • Penguins CAN fly
    • DSLstats
Re: Defrag
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 11:32:37 AM »

Quote
Regarding the Unix vs Windows disk defragmentation thing.

Surely any disk format of whatever type or OS is going to suffer from fragmentation.  How you deal with it is going to affect performance.  Is it the case that Unix deals with fragmentation on-the-fly, effectively preventing fragmentation happening as it writes files?  If so, the downside of this strategy is slower disk writes?

And whilst it may be the case that some disk formats are more susceptible to fragmentation than others, I find it difficult to imagine one that doesn't suffer from fragmentation AT ALL, excepting solid state "disks" where fragmentation ought to be irrelevant.

Also, what happens if you have an NTFS or even FAT32 partition being used heavily under a flavour of Unix/Linux?

If you do a search for "linux defrag" you'll find no end of articles on the subject, but briefly, Linux file systems leave a lot of space between files on the disk, so there is plenty of room for the files to expand without becoming fragmented or having to be moved. This works well so long as the disk has a lot of spare space, but Linux systems don't behave so well when the disk is close to full.

In practice, most Linux users (me included) will say that fragmentation isn't an issue, and I've had installations running for years, which have shown no apparent signs of any performance degradation.

Logged
  Eric

burakkucat

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 31097
  • Over the Rainbow Bridge
    • The ELRepo Project
Re: Defrag
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 02:14:49 PM »

Back in my Unix days I would backup a non-OS file-system with tar or cpio and the OS file-system with dump, all to 1/2" magnetic tape.

Then using a standalone, bootable tape-based formatter, format the physical disk drive. Once that was complete a standalone, bootable tape-based copy of mkfs was used to recreate the various logical file-systems and standalone copy of restor was used to reload the dump'd OS file-system. The OS was then booted into single-user mode and the non-OS file-systems were restored with the appropriate utility.

It was something that had to be carefully scheduled, with advance notice given to all users, for the company's (multiuser) system.  :)
Logged
:cat:  100% Linux and, previously, Unix. Co-founder of the ELRepo Project.

Please consider making a donation to support the running of this site.

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 03:14:18 PM »

If you do a search for "linux defrag" you'll find no end of articles on the subject, but briefly, Linux file systems leave a lot of space between files on the disk, so there is plenty of room for the files to expand without becoming fragmented or having to be moved. This works well so long as the disk has a lot of spare space, but Linux systems don't behave so well when the disk is close to full.

In practice, most Linux users (me included) will say that fragmentation isn't an issue, and I've had installations running for years, which have shown no apparent signs of any performance degradation.

Ah, I see.

But are there optimisation programs for Linux that would move frequently referenced files close together?  Or is this unnecessary?

Ian
Logged

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 03:18:16 PM »

Back in my Unix days I would backup a non-OS file-system with tar or cpio and the OS file-system with dump, all to 1/2" magnetic tape.

Then using a standalone, bootable tape-based formatter, format the physical disk drive. Once that was complete a standalone, bootable tape-based copy of mkfs was used to recreate the various logical file-systems and standalone copy of restor was used to reload the dump'd OS file-system. The OS was then booted into single-user mode and the non-OS file-systems were restored with the appropriate utility.

It was something that had to be carefully scheduled, with advance notice given to all users, for the company's (multiuser) system.  :)

This is exactly the scenario I was remembering with VAX/VMS.  You had to boot the stand-alone backup program, which would only run on the console, and backup your disk from one device to another , then back again.

On the older Vax 11/750 there were interchangeable disk packs, so you'd back up the fragmented one to a fresh one, then mount the fresh one and use that as your new "defragmented" disk, keeping the fragmented one as your backup.

On the newer Vaxes with fixed disks, you had to do it all to 1/2" tape which was a pain.

I don't think VAX/VMS Backup had any concept of data compression either!

Ian
Logged

roseway

  • Administrator
  • Senior Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 39682
  • Penguins CAN fly
    • DSLstats
Re: Defrag
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 03:42:08 PM »

Quote
But are there optimisation programs for Linux that would move frequently referenced files close together?  Or is this unnecessary?

There may be, but I've just done a quick search of the Debian package repository, and although there are nearly 40,000 software packages in the repository, there isn't a single one which does a disk defrag. So I tend to the belief that it's unnecessary.
Logged
  Eric

silversurfer44

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4421
  • Lord Muck
    • Ben Novice Weather
Re: Defrag
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 04:39:57 PM »

Whilst browsing I found http://www.howtogeek.com/115229/htg-explains-why-linux-doesnt-need-defragmenting/ which may be of interest to Ian in particular.
I did make my first post on this with my tongue firmly in my cheek. I didn't mean to make waves with it.
Logged
Colin II : It's no good being a pessimist, it wouldn't work anyway.

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »

Whilst browsing I found http://www.howtogeek.com/115229/htg-explains-why-linux-doesnt-need-defragmenting/ which may be of interest to Ian in particular.
I did make my first post on this with my tongue firmly in my cheek. I didn't mean to make waves with it.

No waves were felt here - it's been an interesting discussion!

I accept I'm looking at this through Microsoft glasses (they're repaired with sticky tape, you know) but I still can't quite get my head around a file system of any flavour that won't benefit from a defrag, and especially one that would intelligently relocate files on the disk surface so that they are physically closer together to speed up boot time or popular application load, particularly on a longer seek-time disk.

Is it perhaps the case with Linux that an executable image tends only to be one file?  So application load doesn't have to seek a whole bunch of files, which is what usually happens on Windows with multiple dll files required as well as the main .EXE ?

It's the grouping together of those files on a Windows system, along with any relevant data files needed at startup, that can improve boot and application load time.

(and it's that behaviour that I suspect SmartDefrag ISN'T doing, hence the disk thrashing when loading IE10, because it's dlls were cast four corners to the wind at install, and SmartDefrag did nothing about this, whereas MyDefrag rearranged them more efficiently.)

Ian
Logged

oldfogy

  • Helpful
  • Kitizen
  • *
  • Posts: 3568
  • If it ain't broke....... I'll soon fix it.
Re: Defrag
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 01:06:06 AM »

I've been using MyDefrag for some time now and the biggest downside is if you defragging a drive with large files, such as movies or in my case Norton Ghost (2GB) backup files on it, then yes it takes forever, so if I remember I use Microsoft defrag on that drive, which TBH I also think is just as good overaul.

But one thing I really like about MyDefrag is the different defrag  options for weekly/monthly etc and memory cards.

Although the court's out on if it really improves startup time or is it just a feel-good factor.
Logged

sheddyian

  • Kitizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1159
    • My Shed Blog
Re: Defrag
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 11:18:40 AM »

Oldfogy : I found that MyDefrag did improve the overall startup time of my computer, after I'd installed Internet Explorer 10.  This is the reason for my conversion back to using MyDefrag!

I agree with the long defrag times though - and I've modified the monthly script to add a shutdown option.

So, if you want to set MyDefrag running, leaving it to do a through defrag and then switch the computer off when it's finished, download the attached script, unzip it and copy it to the "Program Files/MyDefrag v4.3.1/Scripts" folder

When you then run MyDefrag, you'll see an extra option , "System disk monthly then OFF" , select that, select the disk(s) you want to defrag, and walk away!

Ian
Logged
Pages: [1] 2