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View Full Version : Defragging a large hard drive..worth doing it?


idahobob
2005-09-10, 09:11 PM
Hello friends,
After summer of downloading music from this site and etree, I have now about maxed out my 186gb hard drive. I plan to copy FLAC and DVD files I''vec reached a good seed ration and don't think will be requestred soon to data dvd's for prosterity and delete them from the hard drive. And then delete the .wav files of anything I am not going to burn again in the near future.
So my friends...my question would be is it worth the effort to then run disc defragmenter on the hard drive? Anyone have an idea how long defragmenting a 186gb harddrive that has been filled to the max would take? I'm using a Dell Optiplex GX300 and Windows 2000.
I appreciate any advice.

Billster
2005-09-10, 09:22 PM
Unless I'm missing something, defragging a HD of that size would take only a few hours.

Rider
2005-09-10, 10:10 PM
Hello friends,
After summer of downloading music from this site and etree, I have now about maxed out my 186gb hard drive. I plan to copy FLAC and DVD files I''vec reached a good seed ration and don't think will be requestred soon to data dvd's for prosterity and delete them from the hard drive. And then delete the .wav files of anything I am not going to burn again in the near future.
So my friends...my question would be is it worth the effort to then run disc defragmenter on the hard drive? Anyone have an idea how long defragmenting a 186gb harddrive that has been filled to the max would take? I'm using a Dell Optiplex GX300 and Windows 2000.
I appreciate any advice.

Depends on how fragmented the hard drive is.

farmstar
2005-09-10, 10:27 PM
and depends on how full the hard drive is, i normaly don't defrag unless i have 40-50% disk space free and use the Norton app and not Windows. Free space really seems to help out, space for re-shuffling. I have had too many defrags that just keep going or end with not too much defragmentation with loss of some data. just some thoughts.

gsmyth79
2005-09-11, 12:31 AM
I would say burn the data off, delete it, then defrag. That just makes a lot more sense to me. But then again I'm not a PC person.

Five
2005-09-11, 01:54 AM
^what he said

h_vargas
2005-09-11, 02:57 AM
actually, easier and better for your hard drive is the following:

1) burn off all data onto blank discs (CD-Rs, or DVD±Rs).
2) *format* / fdisk the hard drive.

this is quicker, and from what i've read, better for the actual hard drive itself.

whenever i do a larger video editing project, after burning the archive discs, i always simply format the drive. it is very quick (like 15 minutes), and the drive is wiped clean and ready for another run of filling it up with data.

*** note: i say "format" the hard drive, assuming you have either partitioned the single hard drive in your computer (one partition for operating system, i.e. Windows in your case, and one partition for data only), or that you have two physical hard drives (one for operating system, one for data only).

if neither of the above applies, then obviously all you would want to do is burn/backup all of the FLAC/SHN/DVD files, and then defragment your hard drive. ***

idahobob
2005-09-11, 03:27 AM
Thanks all for the advice so far.

The best solution, of course is for me to win the lottery, get a bigger computer and set it up as a server. But I can't count on that happening. h_vargas, I agree with you completely about just reformatting the hard-drive--it's external, data only--but then I will need to learn about how to re-seed some of the torrents I've downloaded...no biggie, I'm sure. There are a few (mostly DVDs) though I wanted to keep on that hard drive so they are out there and can be easily burnt or re-seeded. Rider, looking at the Windows defrag analysis, it is quite fragmented. I'm used to running defrag on 1 to 30 gb hard drive, have seen those take hours and haven't seen one this intense; that's why I asked if you all have run into this yet. I am doing a download and seed now, but then I'll probably look at doing what gsmyth79 said and let you know how it goes and how long it takes.

Unless, of course, I win the lottery and just buy a terrabyte-size storage system.

Thanks all. I appreiciate all your advice.

joemc
2005-09-11, 07:34 AM
hi
i find that using the defrag that windows xp provides takes a long time, try this (its what i use) does the same as windows defrag without the bells and whistles.

Start>run> type in 'cmd' (without the') press ok then a window opens

on the command line type 'defrag c: -b'

it will then tell you the state of defragmentation and fix it as far as it can. As always shut all progs including antivirus, firewall etc down.

hope this helps
joemc

rerem
2005-09-11, 08:01 AM
O+O defrag is what I use,it's quicker than the Windows defrag_and can run WITHOUT shutting down processes. You don't want to bit torrent,burn a CD,but can web surf and do light load stuff while its working. I try to partition enough that no partition is over 15gb,

Defrag is most important on the partition/drive that has the OS,software. There's thousands of little bits,10kb files and such,there's lots of change and stuff accumulates. A partition of music files,flacs,Waves,even mp3 is going to be files of several mb,many grouped as folders-and periodically chunks of 250-1000 megs are getting deleted. The arrangement of all that won't have an effect on your OS/software on another disc.

If you are not using O+O or another defragger able to do background defrag-its good to startup in SAFE MODE-which keeps any processes from interupting. Generally I just try to clear the old stuff off a storage drive and defrag maybe twice a year.

spiritinaphoto
2005-09-11, 02:16 PM
If you set up your hard drive into multiple partitions the next time you reformat, you might want to see if you could format the data partition as 'ext3' instead of 'FAT' or 'NTFS'. I've heard that Windows can read and write to ext3 partitions (if you download the proper freeware utility), but I don't know if there is a program that would allow Windows to format a partition as such.

If you could format a partition as ext3, it'd be well worth it--ext3 partitions are self-defragmenting.

jazzbo
2005-09-11, 03:09 PM
If you set up your hard drive into multiple partitions the next time you reformat, you might want to see if you could format the data partition as 'ext3' instead of 'FAT' or 'NTFS'. I've heard that Windows can read and write to ext3 partitions (if you download the proper freeware utility), but I don't know if there is a program that would allow Windows to format a partition as such.

If you could format a partition as ext3, it'd be well worth it--ext3 partitions are self-defragmenting.

I think if you run Windows this is a bad idea. As much as I like Linux and its filesystems, using something where you're need even freeware utilities to read it, means an extra layer of difficulty if Something Goes Wrong (whether it be some type of data loss, a crash -- anything that requires you to try and apply a disk recovery utility). Also as an external drive, there might be the need to pick it up and move it to another machine, something that becomes more difficult the fancier you get.

ext3 is better at avoiding fragmentation, but it will still fragment. And a blanket statement like 'self-defragmentating' is misleading. It looks for contiguous blocks in order to place flaces as part of the file allocation algorithms, and I've seen statistics that it begins to hit a effectiveness curve as the filesystem approaches 60-70% full.

It certainly does not however, actively defragment when free space becomes available and filesystems kept close to max often will be severely fragment even on ext3. Only if the files are moved manually will they defragment -- it is not something that the filesystem does itself.

Try running

e2fsck -nvf /dev/hda1

(subsitute your drive's device with the one listed here) and look at the value for non-contiguous inodes.

Whether UNIX like systems are hampered as much by fragmentation as Windows is a different issue, but suggesting a Windows user adopt ext3 won't reap those potential advantages either.

ColinM
2005-09-12, 02:11 AM
Defrag is most important on the partition/drive that has the OS,software. There's thousands of little bits,10kb files and such,there's lots of change and stuff accumulates. A partition of music files,flacs,Waves,even mp3 is going to be files of several mb,many grouped as folders-and periodically chunks of 250-1000 megs are getting deleted. The arrangement of all that won't have an effect on your OS/software on another disc.

Agreed. I have 4 hard drives in my case that are the same age; 5 months now. The OS is a 36 gb Raptor and needs defragging now. The other 3 are SATA or IDE 160gb models and hold Loveline, Stern and Boots. They are 50% full or more and haven't needed defragging all this time.