Leaving space to avoid slowing HD: What happens if HD maxes out, and then shrinks?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by dontmatter, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. dontmatter macrumors 6502a

    So, I know that you ought to keep some of your hard drive clear to keep the computer running at top speed, and my 17" PB ain't got hd space or optimal speed by any means, at the moment. If I get space back, by deleting stuff, do I get that speed back? I'm thinking no, because the reason drives get problematic without free space is that they get fragmented beyond belief, and getting rid of pieces of data here and there isn't going to clean it up in that way. Not to mention, I've heard nothing good about defrag apps... anybody have any suggestions? Thanks.

    Now, I have to get a new drive, b/c I couldn't do with less than my current 40 gigs of music, now could I? ;)
  2. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2003
    New York, New York
    No, you do not get the speed back, as its still quite fragmented. Copy the data to your new drive (when you get it) and then copy it back. 10.3 does fair job and defragging on the fly however.

    Amen to liberal arts college btw.
  3. dontmatter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Copy, delete, copy back, or copy, secure delete or zero out, copy back, or swipe whole drive, reinstall OS, and copy back?

    And ditto to the liberal arts. If you're of college age and you don't think you could use some dabbling in random areas and exploration of all things intellectual and yourself, you probably don't know yourself that well.
  4. emc2 macrumors newbie


    Jul 12, 2004
    Either Seattle or Kona...
    Is this still the case on a drive that is partitioned? I have a 40gb drive with two partitions...One was a capture scratch for FCP...this is 250mb away from full, the other side has about 8GB of space left...will I see performance issues? :confused:
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    As far as the partitioning question, fragmentation happens to individual partitions, not the whole drive, since the areas of the drive that belong to each partition are laid out when the drive is formatted that way.

    So, if you have, say, and OS partition and a data partition, and your OS partition has plenty of free space and not a lot of file traffic, but you do all kinds of stuff to your data partition and it's nearly full, then your OS partition will be unfragmented and fast, and your data partition is probably a fragmented mess. Accesses to the OS partition will be snappy, accessing things on the data partition will be relatively slow. If you're accessing both simultaneously it'll be very slow, of course, since there's only one drive doing all the work on both partitions.

    As for the original question, as per Apple's documentation things will gradually defragment during use, so long as the fragmented files aren't over 20MB in size. Of course, if the disk filled up on account of a few huge files (say, an iMovie project), then it might not even be fragmented, and if it is and you delete the big project that caused the fragmentation, the OS will take care of the rest and the disk is probably fine.

    Your OS partition is probalby fine for most purposes if there's at least some free space on it, since most OS files are very small and 10.3 has special speed-optimization (hot file clustering) routines for heavily used files. In truth, I haven't seen fragmentation to be much of a problem even on nearly-full drives, so long as the OS drive/partition has enough space to spare.

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