If macs don't need defragging, then......

Discussion in 'macOS' started by knux11, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. knux11 macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    Why does my MBP keep freezing? I can be doing anything; watching a movie, surfing the web, browsing folders..... It'll just freeze. Sometimes I'll get the beach ball, sometimes I won't. sometimes i'll even be able to move the mouse, but can't click on anything, sometimes i can click on finder windows but nothing else. It happens every 2-3 minutes and lasts about 2 minutes each time. It doesn't matter if i have a lot of programs open, or none at all. I've never been a believer of the "it's a mac, it doesn't need defragging!" nonsense anyway, but can someone explain this?

    And I did do the disk permissions, verify and repair, but it would freeze. I think the longest i let it stay there was about 30 minutes before i reset the computer.

    running the idefrag bootdisk showed either 100% fragmentation or 77%, depending on where i looked.
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Your disc could be dying or you could have one that may not work to well in Macs. What model Macbook Pro do you have and is it the stock drive or did you replace it? And has it always done this?

    Macs do not need to ever be defragmented.
  3. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2007
    AS Intell hinted at, this problem does not sounds at all like a fragmentation issue. It could be a drive issue, it could be a font issue, or it could be any number of other issues. Have you had a look in the system log to see if there are repeated messages right around the problems? Have you checked in Disk Utility to see if SMART is reporting a drive problem (if it is not that is not proof that there is not a drive issue)? You seem to have jumped to a conclusion (fragmentation issue) with little investigation or reasoning.
  4. TJones macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    Defraging is a catch all/feel good thing to do in Windows that doesn't actually fix anything with your computer. It just feels good because it seems like you're accomplishing something. In fact it's more like you're rotating a flat tire.

    What you should be worried about instead is data integrity on the disk. In windows we do that with CHKDSK /f in OS X with Disk Utility.
  5. knux11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    that's ok i kinda expected those responses.

    And the disk utility stuff doesn't help when the computer freezes in the middle of it. Even when I booted from the SL disk it froze during the repair permissions operation.

    so I did "Steve's defrag" (format, install,restore) and it's all back to being speedy. Maybe it was something else, but I guess it doesn't matter at this point.

    The drive is a toshiba 500gb drive, not stock but i put it in before the laptop was booted for the first time about 1 year ago. I've never had this happen before.

    Laptop is a MBP 13", bought last august.

    COuld you explain the "font issue"? Really hard to investigate anything when it freezes all the time.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's not entirely true. Like all computers, data on HFS+ partitions can get fragmented its just how HFS+ handles performance, means that defragging could slow down performance unless your applications require the data to be contiguous.

    For instance many pro apps, like audio and video would be impacted if the data was strewn all over the hard drive.
  7. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    No modern OS (WinXP is NOT modern) really needs the user to specifically launch defrag, because it's done in the background when the computer is idle.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Defraging is a catch all/feel good thing to do in Windows that doesn't actually fix anything with your computer"

    ..to which I reply, nonsense.

    Particularly if you're into producing audio or video, or if you simply want to copy large (I mean LARGE) files, it's important to have contiguous free space available on the drive.

    One of the reasons computers seem to "slow down" as they get a few years' old is because the drives have become totally fragmented with files scattered everywhere.

    This is why "wiping" and older drive, and doing a complete re-installation of the software, yields a perceptible speed increase. The restored drive now has files that are contiguous and bunched up closer together on the media, so that the drive spends less time searching for them and trying to put them all together.
  9. TJones macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    There's a bit of a difference between addressing disk performance via defrag and actually fixing errors with disk repair utilities or a complete reinstall. If more people actually understood that there wouldn't be as many people reinstalling Windows on a yearly basis.
  10. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    To which I reply, "nonsense".

    Even if a one Gigabyte file is fragmented into 100 parts, it doesn't matter, because each part is still 10 MB on the average, so the time needed for moving the head 100 times is nothing compared to the time to transfer 1000 MB from the disk. And it is nothing, nothing at all compared to the time that a stupid Windows defragmenter takes to defragment the drive.

    To the OP:

    Spinning beach balls as you had are a good indication of problems on the hard drive itself. It could be that certain sectors are worn out, and after backup/reinstall those particular sectors might not be used at the moment (for example they might all be in a movie that you never play). Make sure you have a time machine backup at all times, and if the problem comes back, maybe go with a new hard drive.
  11. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    I love my Mac, but why does everybody go straight to the "oh, your hardware is bad" when someone has an issue with one? While defragging may not be necessary, repairing permissions is.

    A useful utility for cleaning up your Mac is Cocktail - it clears caches, repairs permissions, etc., all in one place. I don't use it very often, but when things get screwy its the second thing (after repairing permissions myself) that I do, and it often works.
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I'm surprised that no one asked - OP, how full was your HD before you reinstalled? If it was nearly full (90%+) that can affect performance, apparently.

    However, I don't think that was the problem. It sounded more like a OS/file system problem. We'll never know now, since all evidence has been erased - but congratulations on getting your system fixed. :)
  13. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2010
    how much room is left on your hard drive? my old laptop had only a few gigs left and i thought my computer was just dog slow. it turned out that the drive just didnt have enough free space to run the operating system. i think you should have about 25 gigs of free space before your computer will start to slow down.
  14. knux11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    i had just made some space to get up to about 140 gigs free, but right before that when it started running slow i was down to about 70 gigs.

    thanks for the cocktail link, i'll be checking that out.

    And osx optimizes files under, what is it, 10mb, right? so what about all the +10mb files out there? I watch a lot of tv shows on my laptop and delete them afterwards. wouldn't that cause a lot of fragmentation?
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    When your system is beach-balling, check the activity monitor. Is the CPU bogged down? Is there a lot of disk activity? Is it accessing the internet?

    As designed, the OS should not get bogged down. So something is happening that is unusual and specific to your situation. Finding out what it is will take some detective work.

    Good Luck.
  16. knux11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    Well this is already resolved, but when it was beach balling THE ONLY THING I COULD DO IS CLICK ON FINDER. No apps would open, existing apps i couldnt even switch to. I guess if i had activity monitor open as the top window beforehand would work, but too late now.
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Hard drives break down, and a sure symptom is the rotating beachball effect. "Repairing permissions", on the other hand, is voodoo. Not needed anymore since around 10.2, about eight years ago.

    It doesn't. Even if one of your tv shows is split into 100 fragments, that means for a 45 minute show one fragment is about 27 seconds. So while you play the movie, every 27 seconds your hard drive will waste maybe five milliseconds due to fragmentation (but in practice you will never have that amount of fragmentation).
  18. knux11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    which goes to prove that there's no reason to believe any of it. Everyone believes something different and contradicts each other. I'm all for defragging and wish they never took it out of osx.
  19. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Which just goes to show you have no clue what you're talking about. The problems you describe do not have any connection to fragmentation. Instead of being stubborn and ignorant, try listening to the people who are trying to help you.

  20. knux11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008

    did u read the thread? I know about hard drive failures. I tried the other stuff but it didn't work, the system was FROZEN.

    Everything suggested AFTER I said I formatted and reinstalled, doesn't do me any good obviously.

    All I DO realize is that just because you post something in a forum, doesn't make it fact.

    People saying for sure it is this or that, or not this or that, is just guessing. tips were/are appreciated but a diagnosis from my description only is impossible.

    I don't believe everything I read and I ask questions to learn other peoples' views and experiences and compare/add them to my own.

    A lot of stuff on the internet is conjecture and opinion. That's all i was saying. I'd even say that's prolly the truest statement in this thread. Even you should be able to realize that. Don't take it personal.
  21. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    More like 10 GB, if that much. The reason you need some free space is because when you run out of RAM, your system creates swap space on the drive to fill in for the RAM. If you run out of swap space, you're in trouble. However, on my worst of days I'll see 4 GB worth of swap space. I'd put more RAM in, but I'm maxed out as it is. If you're seeing up to 25 GB swap space, something is seriously wrong.
  22. BulletToothTony macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    when i use iDefrag my bootup times go from 50 seconds+ to 33 seconds..

    i LOVE os-x and i wanted to believe that is perfect but macs still use an hdd, and unless there were partitions on the hardrive for music/video/apps/system/ defrags are needed once in a while

    it is an overnight process but is very worth it..

    and i don't care what people say.. my results speak for themselves.. apps also open faster so i do it usually after i erase a lot of old movies or big apps.. it's very helpful
  23. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    When I open my MacBook, it is up and running less than a second after opening it. Who cares about boot time? And how long did the defragmenting take? Just the time for finding the software, starting it, plugging in your Mac, and then you spent at least 50 + 33 seconds measuring the boot time, so how much time did you spend for making boot time 17 seconds less?
  24. BulletToothTony macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    wow you're an angry little person.. did you read that it makes my applications open faster as well?

    i'm here to help someone with a defrag question.. sorry if i busted your mac bubble..

    defragmenting does make a difference, and why does it matter to you how i choose to spend my time? a little hypocritical to come and spend YOUR PRECIOUS time to type such a worthless reply.
  25. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Set my Mac to optimize this morning, then took a one-mile walk. It was done by the time I got around to sitting back down. I don't know how long the set-up took me, or how much more efficiently it runs afterwards, but I do like seeing the gaps in the fragmentation graph all filled in. :)

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