In another post I told you about using disk cleanup in Windows 7 to remove unnecessary files from your computer. Now let’s take a look at defragmenting your drive. Performing the cleanup first should enhance the defrag routine because it won’t need to deal with the unnecessary files.

Fragmentation

When new files are saved to your computer’s hard drive, they are normally saved in one chunk. The computer finds a contiguous space and drops the file in there. However, as the file is edited it may outgrow the space. Instead of moving the entire file, the computer divides it and places the new file piece elsewhere. In fact, it’s not uncommon for very large files to be separated into numerous locations.

When a file is requested by a program, the computer must find all of the pieces throughout the drive a reassemble them for processing. If the drive is badly fragmented, this increases the seek time and, in turn, the wear and tear on the drive heads.

In hard drive recovery, this means that the recovery software must match all of the pieces for each file.

Defragging the drive brings all of the file pieces back into one contiguous location. The files will open more quickly, the drive doesn’t need to work as hard and harddrive recovery is easier.

WARNING: This only applies to standard platter drives. Do not defrag a solid-state drive. Defragging can actually harm an SSD. Defragging circuit-based media can cause problems in SSD and flash drive recovery.