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Defrag causes damage?


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I heard on some site that defragmenting your hard-drive can cause some damage, sometimes alot, but not so much...

That true?

It's an absolute load of rubbish. NOT defragging the drive will cause damage in the long run. I use Diskeeper and it is set to run in the background, and never allows the main hard drive to become more than one or two per cent fragmented.

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Disk defragmentation does a lot of I/O, and very frequent defragging might wear a disk out earlier than necessary. Normal use of a good defragger should not cause any harm.

However, an interrupt such as a sudden power-off during defrag might cause some data loss.

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There is no 'too much' defrag because a regularly (or automatically/background) defragged drive will show minimal (<1-2% IME) fragmentation at any time. The most the defragmenter will have to do is to clean up those fragments, hence it's just a short job. If there is no fragmentation, then there is nothing to defrag. Defrag is like any other drive I/O and not extra 'harmful' in any way. Modern drives are reasonably well engineered and manufactured (as long as it's not a Maxtor :censored: ) and should have no problems handling the drive activity which they are rated for.

A power outage may mess up things, i think, most dangerous only when the MFT is being written to, and it can happen even during 'normal' windows operation; hence all mission-critical systems *should* be rigged up with reliable UPS regardless of defragmentation.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Very interesting topic. I had absolutely no idea about defrag having the possibility of harming a drive. Looks like I'll begin doing regular defrags to avoid future problems.

Did you mean to say this? I think you meant that NOT defragging may cause harm. :D

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I think you meant that NOT defragging may cause harm. :D

I didn't know that not defragging would damage a hard drive?

In any case, I do defrag mine but I thought that if you don't defrag regularly, disc access just slows down as Windows has to work harder to access the data?

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Yeah if you don't defrag your hard drive read and write head would be spinning round like crazy trying to open up one file, this can cause a lot of damage on the read head if the files are fragmented all over the place, I believe it was the main cause of one of my older hard drives.

Its best to defragment your HDD as much as possible which can be done with programs that do it in the background or when the system is just idle, or if you use Linux you can use the ext3 file system allowing for automatic defragmenting of the files.

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