Two (potentially stupid) Questions -- Running / Quitting Finder and iDefrag.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Collider, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Collider macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    I'm hoping these issues aren't as stupid and/or obvious as they seem (and I also hope I'm not posting in the wrong place; it seems OS related to me, but I'm still very very very new at this stuff (both the MR forums in specific, and Mac computers in general), so I could be wrong -- irregardless, feel free to delete or move this thread, and many apologies if I got it wrong).

    1) One of the first things I did when I got my new MBP was to input the command that granted a 'quit' option for Finder, and since then, I've been keeping Finder quit / closed pretty much all the time. This is in part to free up what little RAM it uses (I know it's next to nothing, but it seems pointless to use even that to keep permanently open an application that's used less than 2% of the time) but mostly because I simply cannot stand keeping applications running if I'm not actively using them.

    Having tried to look this up, I've come across a wide variety of different thoughts on the subject, so I was hoping for something a little more clear-cut. I've read advice stating that Finder is just another app and that quitting it does no harm... and I've also read advice that insists it's part of the fundamental workings of the OS.... so what I'm hoping for is some kind of definitive answer as to whether it's likely to damage Snow Leopard at all if I continue to keep Finder quit / closed, or whether it really is necessary to keep it running the whole time?

    2) Unrelated, but I'm hoping just as relevant to this forum as the other question... I have the demo version of iDefrag, simply to check the level of fragmentation on my files / free space, and I'm more than a little confused by the results it's showing. The 'statistics' tab show 0.1% fragmentation of files and 0.3% fragmentation of data forks (which is obviously insignificant), but the 'layout' tab shows well over half of my used space as red (which, according to the key, translates as 'fragmented'). The highest percentage of fragmentation on any part of my system, according to the 'statistics' tab, is in my free space, but even that's only at 1.8%, so wouldn't account for such a large chunk of neon red on the 'layout' tab, and certainly not one right in the middle of my used space.

    So my question is whether there's a logical explanation for what seems to be two completely conflicting pieces of information, whether I'm just being an ex-Windows moron (I've only been a Mac user for a couple of weeks, so I'm still way at the bottom of the learning curve and very much still adapting to the differences), or whether there really is a conflict there that shouldn't be.

    Additionally, is there a means of doing something about that free space fragmentation without running a complete system defrag on the perfectly fine state of my files? I only ask because (though it's only 1.8% at the moment) what research I've done on the subject, while it makes the repeated point that Mac OS X defrags small files on its own, also seems to imply that it doesn't do anything to defrag free space, so I'm led to assume (possibly wrongly, but that's why I'm asking) that without third-party interference, that 1.8% isn't going to be defragmented on its own and will just end up getting bigger over time.

    Naturally, feel free to rip apart any myths and/or misinformation in any of the above; like I said, I'm a complete and utter Mac Newbie, and I'm slowly but surely learning the ropes, so I don't for one second expect that very much of the above rambling points are even remotely valid. I'm just asking for clarification and a little explanation, really, so please bear with me.

    Many many thanks for any help / advice / support, and many many more apologies for any stupidity.
  2. BobZune macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    These aren't stupid questions, but nor are they worth worrying about.

    Here's *a* non-authoritative answer.

    Finder: There are 3rd party replacements to it, so quitting it shouldn't hurt. If it is likely to hurt, Apple won't have made it easily quittable. Lot of us like to keep icons on the desktop, so we let it run (which is the default) - otherwise you won't see the desktop icons. In addition coverflow view mode in the finder window is very nice to see picture folders (others too). If you haven't read it is worth a look. I'd leave it running like the large majority of (especially new) users; but if that bothers you, quit it and run it as needed. I'd recommend against putting a quit finder command in the login items, at least until you gain at least an intermediate skill level.

    On defrag: I have no idea how iDefrag computes or show fragmentation. If there are no issues or slowdowns, leave things as they are. See (even though it covers only up to 10.5, I believe it is valid for 10.6) for what Apple says about it. If you are moving/deleting large files and feel like you have to derfag, you can use the method outlined in that article, OR make a bootable clone of the system disk to another disk, make SURE it boots and works properly, then reformat the internal/system drive and clone it back (with careful situational awarensss on what drive you boot from etc.) SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner are programs that help with cloning. iDefrag is another option to defrag though I never used it.

    Always have a separate backup (and additional offline archive) of your important files.

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