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View Full Version : Do Mac computers need defragging?




saintforlife
Mar 17, 2011, 08:12 PM
Sorry my new MBA is my first Mac and have never used anything but Windows before.



Psilocybin
Mar 17, 2011, 08:27 PM
Sorry my new MBA is my first Mac and have never used anything but Windows before.

Don't defrag a ssd

Cheffy Dave
Mar 17, 2011, 08:27 PM
Sorry my new MBA is my first Mac and have never used anything but Windows before.

I'll bet you used one of my Fav's Diskeeper. In my Windows days I relied on every version from 1 to 11, that was the version out when I switched, I heard OSX does it automatically, thou I could never find it in writing, that said I use a program called iDefrag every 3 months, along with running MacKeeper weekly. Necessary? still don't know, figure it cant hurt, and I fell better because I do :D

Psilocybin
Mar 17, 2011, 08:30 PM
Defragmenting is only necessary for hdd with moving parts

MacDawg
Mar 17, 2011, 08:31 PM
Apple's Support Article: About disk optimization with Mac OS X (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375?viewlocale=en_US)

I don't think you want to defrag an SSD regardless

pinsrw
Mar 17, 2011, 08:57 PM
Sorry my new MBA is my first Mac and have never used anything but Windows before.

Mac OS/X automatically defragments files that are larger than a certain size, I think it's 4 MB or so.

brentsg
Mar 17, 2011, 09:01 PM
As a couple said, never defrag an SSD. You'll wear it out much more quickly.

stockscalper
Mar 18, 2011, 08:47 AM
You don't defrag SSD's. But I've used Macs for 25 years and I've never defragged a Mac mechanical drive either and I've never had any problems.

KPOM
Mar 18, 2011, 09:54 AM
Don't defrag a ssd

x2. This is true regardless of the operating system. SSDs have no moving parts, so "fragmenting" doesn't really affect performance. However, reading and writing to an SSD very often (which defragging does) eventually wears out the flash memory, and it also leaves "garbage" around which can slow down performance. It's technically pretty complicated, but the bottom line is that defragmenting an SSD is counterproductive at best, and potentially harmful. Just use an SSD as normal, and with modern operating systems it will maintain decent performance for a long time.

Cheffy Dave
Mar 18, 2011, 10:01 AM
apple's support article: about disk optimization with mac os x (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1375?viewlocale=en_us)

i don't think you want to defrag an ssd regardless

thanks md;)

Cheffy Dave
Mar 18, 2011, 10:05 AM
thanks md;)

Sorry, i missed the fact he had an Air, DUH! My comments sb directed to Disk HDD's My bad with 63 year old eyes, that speed read:o

Consultant
Mar 18, 2011, 10:18 AM
OS X does not need defragging.

Do not defrag SSD.

Mac OS/X automatically defragments files that are larger than a certain size, I think it's 4 MB or so.

Yeah. Can't remember the number but it's just a number and not needed for OS X to work its magic.

Sjhonny
Mar 18, 2011, 10:50 AM
Mac OS/X automatically defragments files that are larger than a certain size, I think it's 4 MB or so.

it's 20 MiB (link) (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=645667). I second not defragmenting (the more recent) SSD's. In the last generation (25-nm baked), cells wears on average after just 3000 writes! (in the previous generation (I thought 40 nm?) cells wear on average after 5000 - 10000 writes).

I don't fully agree with the 'major advance in SSD technology' mentioned in the link. To me its ridiculous that we are making storage devices that have a real high chance of dying on you years before any other part of the device does.

Psilocybin
Mar 18, 2011, 11:48 AM
it's 20 MiB (link) (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=645667). I second not defragmenting (the more recent) SSD's. In the last generation (25-nm baked), cells wears on average after just 3000 writes! (in the previous generation (I thought 40 nm?) cells wear on average after 5000 - 10000 writes).

I don't fully agree with the 'major advance in SSD technology' mentioned in the link. To me its ridiculous that we are making storage devices that have a real high chance of dying on you years before any other part of the device does.

Unless your writing alot or gigantic files daily im sure your SSD won't die a few years after getting it. Reformatting all the time and transferring files to and from alot I'm sure it will die quicker

janstett
Mar 18, 2011, 01:07 PM
Anyway if you decide you still want to defrag (and don't have an SSD) I've used iDefrag (http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php) in the past.

Some 1st gen Airs have hard drives not SSDs.

DarwinOSX
Mar 20, 2011, 12:08 PM
Unlike Windows of any type OS X is a modern operating system and handles defragging on its own. Also no registry to clean, no viruses or malware to constantly run apps against and all that other nonsense that should not even exist in 2011.

janstett
Mar 21, 2011, 02:28 PM
Unlike Windows of any type OS X is a modern operating system and handles defragging on its own. Also no registry to clean, no viruses or malware to constantly run apps against and all that other nonsense that should not even exist in 2011.

If OSX handled defragging on its own, then iDefrag would not have any work to do, does it not stand to reason?

If you want to see for yourself, I came across a tool called hfsdebug (http://osxbook.com/software/hfsdebug/fragmentation.html) that lets you inspect the filesystem. HFS minimized fragmentation but it does not eliminate it nor does it automatically defrag.

And finally OSX is based on BSD Unix which traces back to 1977.

g3jedi
Mar 21, 2011, 03:06 PM
Many Mac users (including myself) who do a large amount of video work on Macs will tell you that they defrag regularly. It keeps things from slowing down. But even in every day usage it can speed things up. You can test your drive and see how fragmented it is. Now, I know that OSX is supposed to keep things fairly tidy but there have been quite a few times when I noticed some quirky things happening or things not moving as zippy as usual and a quick check showed that my system drive was pretty fragmented. Defragging made things better. But things are probably different for an SSD since there are no heads to move back and forth between fragmented files.

iRun26.2
Mar 21, 2011, 08:51 PM
it's 20 MiB (link) (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=645667). I second not defragmenting (the more recent) SSD's. In the last generation (25-nm baked), cells wears on average after just 3000 writes! (in the previous generation (I thought 40 nm?) cells wear on average after 5000 - 10000 writes).

I don't fully agree with the 'major advance in SSD technology' mentioned in the link. To me its ridiculous that we are making storage devices that have a real high chance of dying on you years before any other part of the device does.

Every single laptop computer that I have owned before now (probably 7 over the last 15 years) has been put to rest by a mechanical hard drive that failed. One can replace hard drives but usually that is the last straw: A new hard drive is required???...might as well get a new computer (with updated everything)!

I love the SSD in my MBA! I will give it the benefit of the doubt over mechanical hard drives that have always eventually failed me.

solaris7
Mar 21, 2011, 09:44 PM
Unlike Windows of any type OS X is a modern operating system and handles defragging on its own. Also no registry to clean, no viruses or malware to constantly run apps against and all that other nonsense that should not even exist in 2011.

Wow...Mac fanboy much?

Psilocybin
Mar 21, 2011, 10:20 PM
Wow...Mac fanboy much?

He's just stating the facts

janstett
Mar 22, 2011, 08:08 AM
He's just stating the facts

Not entirely.


Is Mac OS modern? In many ways, but in others it's older than Windows. BSD started in 1977 and Unix overall started in 1969. Windows from the NT (and OS/2) branch of the family tree, which includes Win 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7, have no relation to DOS whatsoever, and can trace their lineage back to Windows NT which was first created in 1989.
No registry to clean? Perhaps not, but your drive can still get littered with orphaned .plists, and there are Mac cleanup utilities (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=180360).
Deleting an app from the applications folder doesn't get rid of all of its components -- it can leave behind plists, system components, etc.
No need to defrag? Not true.
No viruses or malware? Not true (http://www.macforensicslab.com/ProductsAndServices/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=174) (but thankfully very infrequent).
No mention of the headaches you do have to uniquely deal with as a Mac user -- such as constantly needing to repair drive permissions (or worse when they cannot be repaired), or the need to reset PRAM, etc.

ZipZap
Mar 22, 2011, 08:18 AM
No cut and paste for moving files...I mean come on Windows has done this since 3.1, maybe earlier.

I see a lot of gaps that dont make me say OSX is modern.

Dont get me wrong, I do like my Mac ...but I also like windows....

shstiger2009
Mar 22, 2011, 08:56 AM
No cut and paste for moving files...I mean come on Windows has done this since 3.1, maybe earlier.

I see a lot of gaps that dont make me say OSX is modern.

Dont get me wrong, I do like my Mac ...but I also like windows....

What? Copy/paste, delete original.

KPOM
Mar 22, 2011, 09:01 AM
Not entirely.

[LIST]
Is Mac OS modern? In many ways, but in others it's older than Windows. BSD started in 1977 and Unix overall started in 1969. Windows from the NT (and OS/2) branch of the family tree, which includes Win 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7, have no relation to DOS whatsoever, and can trace their lineage back to Windows NT which was first created in 1989.
No registry to clean? Perhaps not, but your drive can still get littered with orphaned .plists, and there are Mac cleanup utilities (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=180360).
Deleting an app from the applications folder doesn't get rid of all of its components -- it can leave behind plists, system components, etc.


Not entirely true. Windows XP merged the NT branch back with the DOS/Win3.1/Win98 branch. NT was originally an attempt to break compatibility and establish "independence" from the x86 architecture (there was even a PowerPC version), but market forces drove those lines back together. It's only the 64-bit versions that finally broke compatibility with 16-bit applications. And parts of Windows 7 can still trace their roots to Windows 1.0. Check the copyright dates on Windows 7 (they still go all the way back to 1985).

The registry is FAR worse than the Library, plists, etc. on a Mac. Migrating to a new computer is a LOT easier on the Mac because applications are largely self-contained.

/user/me
Mar 22, 2011, 09:01 AM
No cut and paste for moving files...I mean come on Windows has done this since 3.1, maybe earlier.

I see a lot of gaps that dont make me say OSX is modern.

Dont get me wrong, I do like my Mac ...but I also like windows....

What about it isn't modern?? Guess What.. I just copied cut and pasted a file. Sometimes people would do well to check their facts before just saying something.

Hirakata
Mar 22, 2011, 09:25 AM
Do not defrag an SSD.

As far as HHDs are concerned, OS X handles "file" fragmentation well, so files are not spread all over the drive. OS X does not do "drive" fragmentation and is susceptible to large amounts of fragmentation. As long as there isn't much "drive" fragmentation, there won't be a performance hit. It becomes a problem when there are no longer any large areas of contiguous space on the drive for OS X to use virtual memory, swap files, save files, etc. That's when things will slow down and you should use iDefrag or something similar. With the size of HDDs these days though, (and the number of external drives people use) it shouldn't be often.

GGJstudios
Mar 22, 2011, 09:52 AM
No registry to clean? Perhaps not, but your drive can still get littered with orphaned .plists
Unlike the Windows Registry, .plists left behind from deleted apps have zero effect on system performance. They simply take up very little space on a hard drive. The Windows Registry is read every time you boot, and can directly impact system performance, especially when it gets corrupted with left-over entries from removed/reinstalled apps.
... there are Mac cleanup utilities
None of which are required for a Mac to operate efficiently. Just because 3rd party apps exist doesn't mean they're necessary. They just want to sell software.
Deleting an app from the applications folder doesn't get rid of all of its components -- it can leave behind plists, system components, etc.
Quite true, but none of them impact Mac OS X performance. They only take up space on the hard drive.
No viruses or malware? Not true (http://www.macforensicslab.com/ProductsAndServices/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=174) (but thankfully very infrequent).
Only a handful of trojans, which don't require any antivirus apps to defend against. Zero viruses that run on Mac OS X.
No mention of the headaches you do have to uniquely deal with as a Mac user -- such as constantly needing to repair drive permissions
You don't "constantly" repair permissions. That's only required when you have a specific problem with permissions. I've never needed to repair permissions in 3 years on my current MBP.
or the need to reset PRAM, etc.
Again, this is only done when needed to address a specific issue. I've never had a need to do it.

The fact is, there is absolutely no ongoing regular maintenance that is required on the part of the user to keep Mac OS X running efficiently, short of running Software Update, which any OS requires.

jim.ryan
Mar 22, 2011, 02:38 PM
Fragmenting has to do with the underlying filesystem and with the type of storage. The filesystem controls if a file is going to become fragmented or not. NTFS results in lots of fragmentation, hence the tools that exist to defragment it. HFS (the fs used by OSX) attempts to limit fragmentation on-the-fly, and there should generally be no need to defragement it with something like iDefrag.

Also, fragmentation only matters when it's slow to read random parts of the disk, which is the case with a typical hard drive, spinning to random parts of the disk to piece together a single file takes time. It is MUCH quicker to read random parts of SSD, making fragmentation even less of an issue.

All said and done, HFS + SSD = no need to defragment. Even if you needed to, you wouldn't want to move that much data around a SSD that often, as it has a limited write life.

Hope this helps.

Jim

janstett
Mar 23, 2011, 08:07 AM
Not entirely true. Windows XP merged the NT branch back with the DOS/Win3.1/Win98 branch. NT was originally an attempt to break compatibility and establish "independence" from the x86 architecture (there was even a PowerPC version), but market forces drove those lines back together. It's only the 64-bit versions that finally broke compatibility with 16-bit applications. And parts of Windows 7 can still trace their roots to Windows 1.0. Check the copyright dates on Windows 7 (they still go all the way back to 1985).

The registry is FAR worse than the Library, plists, etc. on a Mac. Migrating to a new computer is a LOT easier on the Mac because applications are largely self-contained.

That's not true, there's no 16-bit code in Windows XP and there was no merger with DOS/Win95/98/ME. Windows XP ran DOS/Win95 code the same way NT and 2000 did, with a VM and WOW (Windows-on-Windows).

Over the various generations the kernel *has* been rewritten several times and XP was probably the most vigorous rewrite as far as compatibility (although many would argue it would be Vista). The big knock on NT and 2000 was that although they were great they weren't ready for the home as they weren't optimized for slow and low-resource computers, didn't work with enough games, etc. XP is the point where they put attention on finally making the "new" OS tree mainstream and finally doing away with the Windows 95 branch of the family tree for good.

Not only was XP the first version to go 64-bit on x64, it was also the first one to run on IA64 as a separate build (Intel's "Itanium" line of 64-bit processors that predates 64-bit in the Pentium/Core processors). Although by this time DEC Alpha, Mips, PowerPC, and an unreleased SPARC versions had fallen away and only the new Itanium version remained, don't mistake that to assume XP was no longer a multi-platform design.

If there were a significant competing processor architecture Windows 7 could support it (they still do IA64 builds, FWIW). The irony is that aside from occasional flare-ups from AMD, Intel has dispatched the alternatives and even Apple has gone Intel. Who would have guessed any of that in the early 90s?

What about it isn't modern?? Guess What.. I just copied cut and pasted a file. Sometimes people would do well to check their facts before just saying something.

He probably meant cut and paste, which you can't do for some odd reason.

Also when you try to merge two folders with the same name, it does a replace, which is not what Windows does and very inconvenient.

Unlike the Windows Registry, .plists left behind from deleted apps have zero effect on system performance. They simply take up very little space on a hard drive. The Windows Registry is read every time you boot, and can directly impact system performance, especially when it gets corrupted with left-over entries from removed/reinstalled apps.

None of which are required for a Mac to operate efficiently. Just because 3rd party apps exist doesn't mean they're necessary. They just want to sell software.

Quite true, but none of them impact Mac OS X performance. They only take up space on the hard drive.

Only a handful of trojans, which don't require any antivirus apps to defend against. Zero viruses that run on Mac OS X.

You don't "constantly" repair permissions. That's only required when you have a specific problem with permissions. I've never needed to repair permissions in 3 years on my current MBP.

Again, this is only done when needed to address a specific issue. I've never had a need to do it.

The fact is, there is absolutely no ongoing regular maintenance that is required on the part of the user to keep Mac OS X running efficiently, short of running Software Update, which any OS requires.

And all of that can be said about Windows, too. Everything you just said. The ONLY maintenance I do on the Windows 7 machine sitting next to my Mac Pro is to run chkdsk once or twice a month, and that's out of habit and preventative maintenance than necessity.

You don't "constantly" repair permissions. That's only required when you have a specific problem with permissions. I've never needed to repair permissions in 3 years on my current MBP.

I constantly have to repair permissions on many of my Macs. The fact is after they are running for any significant amount of time permissions go haywire -- apps won't run, folder's can't be deleted, etc. It happens to me all the time. And worse you get stuck with items on the hard disk that can't be repaired, ever.

ZipZap
Mar 23, 2011, 09:28 AM
What? Copy/paste, delete original.

Not the point. Feature should be there.

ZipZap
Mar 23, 2011, 09:31 AM
What about it isn't modern?? Guess What.. I just copied cut and pasted a file. Sometimes people would do well to check their facts before just saying something.

So how exactly did you manage to do that...do you mean....copy, paste then go back and delete original?

If not enlighten me...

jim.ryan
Mar 23, 2011, 09:46 AM
So how exactly did you manage to do that...do you mean....copy, paste then go back and delete original?

If not enlighten me...

Are you referring to a "cut" keyboard shortcut? I don't believe that exists. I'd imagine you could write one pretty easily if you wanted to, or find some third-party software that does it.

Or you could drag and drop the file, that moves it (i.e. cuts then pastes).

Or you could open a terminal (gasp!) and use the 'mv' command.

Obviously, the concept of "cutting" exists, Finder just lacks a keyboard shortcut for it AFAIK.

Jim

GGJstudios
Mar 23, 2011, 11:09 AM
And all of that can be said about Windows, too. Everything you just said.
Not true at all. A corrupt Windows Registry can have a significant effect on system performance. The same is not true of .plists and other app-related files left behind after deleting an app on Mac OS X.
The ONLY maintenance I do on the Windows 7 machine sitting next to my Mac Pro is to run chkdsk once or twice a month, and that's out of habit and preventative maintenance than necessity.
I didn't say anything about maintenance on Windows. I simply refuted your incorrect suggestion that Macs need regular maintenance.

I constantly have to repair permissions on many of my Macs.
If that's the case, you either have a unique problem with your specific Macs, or you are incorrectly assuming that permissions repair will fix the issues you're having. Repairing permissions is not something users normally have to do on a regular basis. Don't assume, because you have a particular issue or problem, that all users of Mac OS X have the same issues or problems. It's simply not true.

/user/me
Mar 23, 2011, 11:48 AM
So how exactly did you manage to do that...do you mean....copy, paste then go back and delete original?

If not enlighten me...

Thats exactly what I meant, except instead of doing a secondary click and selecting cut (because it isn't there) you select move to trash.. Same amount of work involved... Same result...

ZipZap
Mar 24, 2011, 06:46 AM
Thats exactly what I meant, except instead of doing a secondary click and selecting cut (because it isn't there) you select move to trash.. Same amount of work involved... Same result...

Thats not the same and not easier. On my PC, its cntrl-X to cut the files and cntrl-V to paste files. No going back and deleting files.

I cannot believe a OSX does not do that.

janstett
Mar 24, 2011, 09:43 AM
If that's the case, you either have a unique problem with your specific Macs, or you are incorrectly assuming that permissions repair will fix the issues you're having. Repairing permissions is not something users normally have to do on a regular basis. Don't assume, because you have a particular issue or problem, that all users of Mac OS X have the same issues or problems. It's simply not true.

I use four different Macs on a regular basis, and they all have frequent and unfixable permissions problems. Perhaps you have these problems and aren't ware of it.

Now granted it takes a lot to get to the point where, for example, an app won't run, but it has happened and it's been due to permissions. Just as I run chkdsk on Windows machines as a force of habit, I do repair/repair permissions on my Macs fairly regularly. And if I'm not mistaken each and every machine has permissions that simply cannot be repaired. And far more often than I'd like, I've had items on my hard drives that cannot be deleted because the permissions are broken. I have to drop into a terminal window as super user to get rid of them.

/user/me
Mar 24, 2011, 11:08 AM
Thats not the same and not easier. On my PC, its cntrl-X to cut the files and cntrl-V to paste files. No going back and deleting files.

I cannot believe a OSX does not do that.

You do know that cutting the file is the same as deleting it right? Yea, you're right about there not being fancy keystrokes for it, but that's where the right click comes in. you should try it sometime.... You can right click, hit copy, then right click and hit move to trash, and then paste it wherever you want...

GGJstudios
Mar 24, 2011, 03:16 PM
Perhaps you have these problems and aren't ware of it.
How is it a problem if there are no symptoms of the problem and everything works as it should?
And if I'm not mistaken each and every machine has permissions that simply cannot be repaired.
Mac OS X: Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions messages that you can safely ignore (http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1448)