Disk fragmentation, Optimization and De-fragmentation – What they mean and How they work

Disk fragmentation, Optimization and De-fragmentation – What they mean and How they work

File fragmentation can be define as a phenomenon whereby a single file is divided into pieces and scattered all over the hard drive. This means that a single file may be divided into pieces and scattered all over the hard drive/disk(in different section), and this leads to slower PC performance because when trying to read/access that file, the PC is forced to check all sectors of the hard drive for the scattered pieces of that file.

How fragmentation happens?

When a new file is saved to a hard disk, it is placed in the end of the last saved file and this reoccur until the hard disk is full or you delete some previously saved file. When you delete a file a free space is created, so the more file you delete the more free space created. As this goes on, free space will be created and scattered all over your hard drive not in contiguous section in one spot. This stage is called Disk fragmentation. So when next you saved a file to the disk, file is saved to the nearest available free space windows finds on the hard drive. And if that free space doesn’t contain the whole file, windows save half of the file there, then saves the rest in the nearest available free space it finds again. And this stage is termed File fragmentation.

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De-fragmentation is the exact opposite of file fragmentation – While file fragmentation divides a file and scatters it all over the hard drive, defragmentation looks for and brings/save all the scattered pieces of a file together. This will reduce the time required for accessing and saving files.


Optimization is the exact opposite of Disk fragmentation. While disk fragmentation creates and scatters free space in a non-contiguous section in the hard drive, Disk optimization re-arranges the content of the drive, and places all the free space of the hard drive in one place. It works by joining all the lumps of memory space, left unused due to their smaller size, together. Because of this, the free space is available as a large single chunk. After optimization, new files are saved in contiguous memory locations.


5 benefit of de-fragmentation and optimization

  • Improve PC performance – defragmentation helps improves PC performance as programs will opens faster when they are de-fragged.
  • Improve hard drive life – Defragmentation also helps improves hard drive’s life cycle as windows won’t have to look all over the hard drive which cause unnecessary hard drive spin.
  • Saves PC battery – The hard drive will no longer need more energy to spin round and look for fragmented files.
  • Optimization helps reduce file fragmentation.
  • Helps anti-virus program scan files efficiently.
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