Defrag or not?

steve31

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 20, 2007
907
30
Edmonton Canada
Is it wise to defrag every once in a while? If so what do you use?:confused: I have tech tools pro and have not used it yet to defrag and I am not shure if I should.
 

///alpinepower

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2007
99
0
Files (>20MB) do fragment under OS X - and OS X is actually awful at handling drive fragmentation. I'd like a utility to handle this as well
 
This has been asked around here before, but I'll repeat it again.

Fragmentation becomes a performance issue when -- and only when -- a sufficient amount of regularly-accessed data (typically OS-related, or program-related) itself has become fragmented. The only time you really notice a problem with user-generated data file fragmentation is in video editing projects.

Those of us who have been around long enough all used to regularly defrag our hard drives, "back in the day" but many/most of us no longer do because of primarily two factors:
  1. Hard drives are much larger, meaning it takes a heck of a lot more effort to start having fragmentation;
  2. Hard drives are incredibly much faster now than they used to be, so to the extent that fragmentation happens, the higher performance of the HDDs out there more than compensates, in the vast majority of cases.
Moreover, defragging modern HDDs takes forever due to both capacity and use factors. The amount of time it'll take you to defrag a HDD is normally NEVER made up for in improved performance.

A better option is to use some kind of data duplication software, like for instance Carbon Copy Cloner, to mirror your data (minus the fragmentation, of course) to another HDD, then nuke your internal and move the data back over. It's actually faster to do it this way than it is to do a defrag!

Now, considerations for doing this are:
  1. If you're having any kind of stability issues, get your data backed up (just user data), nuke the computer and re-install and start from scratch.
  2. If you're going to "copy data over then back again" you ideally should be using either another internal HDD (on a desktop) or a Firewire-attached external HDD, and the reason is that you CANNOT boot your Mac from an external USB drive, and you'd need to boot from the drive to both nuke your internal HDD and to copy the data back over.
I hope this helps clarify the matter. Good luck!
 

compuguy1088

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2007
883
14
In the Sub-Basement of Solitude
This has been asked around here before, but I'll repeat it again.

Fragmentation becomes a performance issue when -- and only when -- a sufficient amount of regularly-accessed data (typically OS-related, or program-related) itself has become fragmented. The only time you really notice a problem with user-generated data file fragmentation is in video editing projects.

Those of us who have been around long enough all used to regularly defrag our hard drives, "back in the day" but many/most of us no longer do because of primarily two factors:
  1. Hard drives are much larger, meaning it takes a heck of a lot more effort to start having fragmentation;
  2. Hard drives are incredibly much faster now than they used to be, so to the extent that fragmentation happens, the higher performance of the HDDs out there more than compensates, in the vast majority of cases.
Moreover, defragging modern HDDs takes forever due to both capacity and use factors. The amount of time it'll take you to defrag a HDD is normally NEVER made up for in improved performance.

A better option is to use some kind of data duplication software, like for instance Carbon Copy Cloner, to mirror your data (minus the fragmentation, of course) to another HDD, then nuke your internal and move the data back over. It's actually faster to do it this way than it is to do a defrag!

Now, considerations for doing this are:
  1. If you're having any kind of stability issues, get your data backed up (just user data), nuke the computer and re-install and start from scratch.
  2. If you're going to "copy data over then back again" you ideally should be using either another internal HDD (on a desktop) or a Firewire-attached external HDD, and the reason is that you CANNOT boot your Mac from an external USB drive, and you'd need to boot from the drive to both nuke your internal HDD and to copy the data back over.
I hope this helps clarify the matter. Good luck!
I still defrag my windows box because ntfs can fragment alot, expecially with games, it just depends on your defragger on Windows, it usually takes only an hour a drive. For OSX, there is no need, its just like Linux (I think), because EXT3 is more fragment resistant than NTFS.
 

steve31

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 20, 2007
907
30
Edmonton Canada
This has been asked around here before, but I'll repeat it again.

Fragmentation becomes a performance issue when -- and only when -- a sufficient amount of regularly-accessed data (typically OS-related, or program-related) itself has become fragmented. The only time you really notice a problem with user-generated data file fragmentation is in video editing projects.

Those of us who have been around long enough all used to regularly defrag our hard drives, "back in the day" but many/most of us no longer do because of primarily two factors:
  1. Hard drives are much larger, meaning it takes a heck of a lot more effort to start having fragmentation;
  2. Hard drives are incredibly much faster now than they used to be, so to the extent that fragmentation happens, the higher performance of the HDDs out there more than compensates, in the vast majority of cases.
Moreover, defragging modern HDDs takes forever due to both capacity and use factors. The amount of time it'll take you to defrag a HDD is normally NEVER made up for in improved performance.

A better option is to use some kind of data duplication software, like for instance Carbon Copy Cloner, to mirror your data (minus the fragmentation, of course) to another HDD, then nuke your internal and move the data back over. It's actually faster to do it this way than it is to do a defrag!

Now, considerations for doing this are:
  1. If you're having any kind of stability issues, get your data backed up (just user data), nuke the computer and re-install and start from scratch.
  2. If you're going to "copy data over then back again" you ideally should be using either another internal HDD (on a desktop) or a Firewire-attached external HDD, and the reason is that you CANNOT boot your Mac from an external USB drive, and you'd need to boot from the drive to both nuke your internal HDD and to copy the data back over.
I hope this helps clarify the matter. Good luck!
thnxs I will hold off until I need to. I have no problems now and just thought this might be a required as is with the PC.
 

marcai

macrumors newbie
Sep 5, 2007
5
0
Just for the record, the common wisdom that ext3 doesn't fragment is garbage. Journaling has nothing to do with fragmentation but with safety, and yes, ext3 and similar file systems get just as fragmented as NTFS and FAT32.

Doing a little analysis on my /usr directory on my desktop machine running Ubuntu shows this:

Code:
Non-contiguous:
  Files 8472 (2379.0MB, avg. 287.55kB per file), blocks 13384, average block 182.01kB

Contiguous:
  Files 187209 (710.4MB, avg. 3.89kB per file)
So, you can see that while most files (being small) are contiguous, the majority of the data is not.

In my ~/downloads directory the situation is even worse. Many files as small as 1.6MB are fragmented into 100+ pieces!

This is on a partition with 80% free space.
 

Tyranny

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2008
1
0
fragmentation & cloning

I have a "severely fragmented" hard drive that cannot be "rebuilt" using Disc Warrior. The Apple Disk Utility rebuilds the HD just fine, but it still reads that it's severely fragmented and I've been having trouble with programs quitting and not being able to install OS X 10.5 and CS3. This may be due to the new RAM I installed.

Regardless, I'd like to salvage the information and programs on my HD. Can I clone the HD to another, then reformat the frag'd drive and clone the info back to the newly wiped drive? Will the fragmentation clone with everything else, or will it re-build the info as it "clones". My impression was that a clone is a clone - fragmentation and all, but others are not sure on this.