Defragging HD really works!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ArkabaS, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. ArkabaS macrumors member

    ArkabaS

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    The Moon
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    This isn't a question, just some anecdotal evidence supporting defragging HDs capable of booting OS X. Might be an interesting read or helpful for someone in the future.

    My computer is a >3 yr old 2.5 GHz C2D MBP (early 2008). It came with Leopard pre-installed. I installed WinXP via Boot Camp and linked the Boot Camp partition to Parallels (v3 or 4 at the time). I upgraded to Snow Leopard around 10.6.2, then upgraded XP to Win7 and Parallels to the most recent version. In short, lots of changes to partition map and HD. I was also starting to reach full HD capacity -- 200 GB used with 60 GB free.

    Yesterday I decided I want to clean install Lion by making a new partition, installing Lion fresh, and gradually moving files from the Snow Leopard disk to new Lion one. I erased Boot Camp (with Boot Camp Assistant) to free up space. I then tried partitioning with Disk Utility and within Terminal. But unfortunately it failed every time (always distressing on OS X, where stuff usually just works). I kept getting the following message from Disk Utility: "Error: -9899 The partition cannot be resized. Try reducing the amount of change in the size of the partition". I tried resizing to as small as 10 GB but no luck. I then erased Parallels using the official instructions, thinking maybe some part of the HD is being secretly allocated to Parallels. No help. I tried doing all the typical Disk Utility maintenance (verify + repair permissions + disk). Still no dice. I eventually opened Console.app to see what's going on, and I noticed the following message from the kernel: hfs_reclaimspace: Error reclaiming datafork blocks of fileid=23184815 (error=-32735). I tried searching for and finding this 23184815 file with Terminal, but no luck (most of the folders told me I had no permission to look inside, maybe I forgot to sudo?). I reasoned that there is some fragmented data that is breaking the contiguous free space required for a new Partition.

    I'm not savy with Terminal or UNIX so I went ahead and purchased iDefrag 2.0.5 for $30 and defragged my disk after somehow booting into the program. Process took ~8 hr! I reclaimed 20 GB and the system runs sooo much smoother. No more beach balls! Even animations are faster. Before I had to wait at least 1 min after booting for the system to become responsive (granted, I've installed a lot of **** over the years like CoverSutra, TotalFinder, Google's Music Beta uploader, iStat Menus, GeekTool, etc.). And, most importantly, partitioning worked beautifully and Lion installed without any problems.

    In summary, defragging is good for older and/or near capacity HDs that are capable of booting into OS X. Anyone who says that defragging is not necessary or is done automatically on Macs is full of ****. Strongly consider defragging if your disk is slowing down and you are running low on HD space. You could always simply nuke the HD and reinstall OS X fresh, but that's like performing neurosurgery for a simple headache... or getting gastric bypass to lose a couple of pounds... Just make sure to backup your HD before you mess with it!
     
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    If you are already doing that may as well just clone to HD boot from that clone back to normal drive takes about an hour and saves time, $$ by using the already included tools in OS X to achieve the same result...
     
  3. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #4
    I don't understand why Mac folks are so down on defragmenting. It's as if the word embodies all the hate and derision they feel for Windows. :)

    I've been defragmenting my Mac since the old Norton Speed Disk days, through my G3 tower, then my Core Duo iMac, and now my new i7 iMac. Yes, the same results could possibly be realized by copying all the data off the drive, erasing the drive, then copying the data back, but to me that seems more invasive and "scary" than just running a program to do it in place. I guess there are risks either way. What if the defragmenting program fails and you lose data? What if the backup drive gets an error and you lose data? There's risk either way.

    Regardless of the risk, I've almost always seen performance improvements after defragging. Even on my new iMac: after upgrading to 10.6.8 my boot time increased to something like 48 seconds. After iDefrag did its thing, it was back to the low 30s. The most dramatic differences were on my G3 tower; I think slower hard drives benefit most.

    Anyway, I agree with the OP, but I wish this particular tool didn't have such a polarizing effect in the Mac community. Nobody cares if you don't use Apple's built-in mail program, for example, but people get quite excited if you try to buy a defragmentation application.
     
  4. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    Waste your money if you want on a BS program I draw the line at fools telling other people they need to waste theirs when OS X has built in free tools that accomplish the same idea.
     
  5. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #6
    Thank you, you made my point on how polarizing this topic is.

    Don't resort to name-calling. We are not fools and nobody told anyone to buy a defrag tool. You can use your backup/erase/copy method if you want for free (plus the cost of a second drive) -- nobody is disputing that that method works. One good thing about computing is that you have choice, so I happen to want to use a 3rd party tool and you happen to want to do it manually. There's no reason to get so upset about it. The point is that defragging can often speed up disk access and thus the computing experience, sometimes dramatically.
     
  6. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    The first post reads like spamvertizement so don't tell me no one is not telling others to buy BS and you chimed in right along to support it...
     
  7. smirk macrumors 6502a

    smirk

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #8
    Nice attitude.

    The original poster has been on this forum since 2004, I really doubt he's advertising. I'd be pretty stoked too if I ran through a process that made my computer run better. That same guy also made a similar post in 2009 about Snow Leopard -- are you accusing him of shilling for Apple? And for the record, I supported the act of defragmenting your files, not any particular utility.

    iDefrag isn't "BS", it does what it claims to do. Don't use it if you don't want to. But get over yourself and realize that not everyone wants to undertake a manual backup/erase/restore process. Just because you do it that way doesn't mean iDefrag doesn't have some utility to people.
     
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #9
    Aside from cost, using 3rd party tools like iDefrag can in theory do more harm than good. These tools can improve things in many (or most) cases, but it can screw things up.

    From iDefrag's very own FAQ page:
    Backup, erase, and restore is the safest proven way to defrag.
     
  9. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    Only thing missing in that first post for full blown spamvertizement is affiliate link so you get over yourself.

    Exactly.
     
  10. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #11
    I have never defraged my Apple nor did I defrag the Linux box it replaced...I dunno how "necessary" it is. My boot time never really increases nor do my beachball occurrences. I guess it probably would help academically but I've never tried.
     

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