Why Defragment Software Works

By: Terryfitzroy
Remember how fast your computer was when you first bought it? That clean hard drive ran like a charm and never missed a beat. You loaded all of your favorite files onto it: photos, games, software, videos, and music. Time passed and your personal computer started to react slower and you realized that you had used up a lot of hard drive space, so you deleted some old programs and files that you had already backed up.

That solved the problem for the moment, but as more time passed, not even deleting files seemed to speed up your computer's dreary response. Poor system performance over time is a common problem with all computers. Many people simply overlook the problem with excuses like "this machine is old" or "I need to add more memory" without realizing that there are less expensive options to restore a computer's speed. There are better options than accepting slow boot-up time and slow file loading.

Why does the computer's response slow down? The answer is a process known as fragmentation. When PC users modify files on a consistent basis, the computer becomes vulnerable to slow system performance. Common activities such as installing and uninstalling programs leave traces on the hard drive. These little traces are not easily deleted by uninstall programs and are even more difficult to track down and delete manually. The computer's registry is the most frequent victim of partial files since it gets used and modified each and every day.

As requests are made to save files, the computer will store the information on a designated space located in what is known as a "block". Once that block becomes full, the computer begins to forward the save file requests to the next block. When you open an older file and resave it with new information, the file no longer fits inside the old block because the computer long since stopped saving information there. The computer must then split portions of the file to save in other blocks and new spaces.

Once you try to retrieve that resaved file, the computer takes longer to gather the pieces that were spread around by the previous save request.
On computers that are used for business, the daily changes made to the hard drive number beyond the thousands. There are ways to prevent fragmentation even though it is simply the computer's solution to a basic problem. Any prevention software will have its own set of issues, however, so running software to defrag the hard drive at opportunistic moments is a favorable solution.

Defrag software will run processes that create larger blocks on the computer's hard drive to allow for modifications. Larger blocks mean more space for modification without fragments. The software also unites broken pieces of files on fresh blocks to stop the slow processing time it takes to rejoin them every time a retrieve request is received. By running a defrag software on a regular basis, you will assure high quality system performance without the need to upgrade the computer's hardware.
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