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Summary:

One of the preventive maintenance steps I recommend frequently is to regularly defrag your hard drive. This is especially important for mobile PCs as they usually have slower hard drives that really affect performance as the hard drive fragments. The computer will run slower and slower […]

One of the preventive maintenance steps I recommend frequently is to regularly defrag your hard drive. This is especially important for mobile PCs as they usually have slower hard drives that really affect performance as the hard drive fragments. The computer will run slower and slower as the fragmentation worsens until you have a big (and noticeable) problem. This sounds like obvious advice but since most people don’t leave their notebook or Tablet PC running all the time it is difficult if not impossible to automatically schedule a defragging utility to run at regular intervals. So most users are like me and it gets forgotten.

Yesterday my Tablet PC got really slow, Outlook was very sluggish and other programs I use a lot were taking way too much time to launch, shutdown, and to interact with them. I was quick to blame the recent installation of WindowBlinds with the cool glass skin. I have tried every version of the skinning program in the past but always ended up removing them due to performance issues so I have been watching my Tablet’s performance very carefully since installing this new version of WB. It is no surprise that I immediately blamed WB for the sluggishness I was experiencing so last night I removed it from my system and rebooted.

I was very surprised that my Tablet was still very slow when it came back up. I took a step back, had a cup of coffee, and realized it had been about a month since I had run Perfect Disk, my defragger of choice. I started it up and went to bed, after reinstalling WindowBlinds. Sure enough, this morning my HP is as fast as the day I received it and I am a happy camper once again. Remember to defrag often!

By James Kendrick

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  1. Great point and my defrag is running now. I typically run the Disk Cleanup utility before I defrag as well. This helps me delete any unnecessary files before I defrag; I often overlook unused and temp files that are just taking up space! I know you’ve recommended Perfect Disk before; do you have a short review on the benefits and differences from the built in Defrag tools in XP?

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  2. I’m a defrag addict myself. I’ve used perfectdisk as a demo and didn’t notice too much of a difference between it and the built in.

    If you have enough ram in your box to reboot with virtual memory turned off, you can defrag the swap file too which can get large and slow if it’s not set on another hard drive.

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  3. Does WindowsBlinds get a repreive (and get reinstalled) on the TC1100?

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  4. Yes, I reinstalled it immediately. :)

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  5. Kevin, I keep unnecessary files cleaned off routinely too. I like Perfect Disk cause it’s faster and it only requires 5% free desk space, which has sometimes been an issue on smaller devices like the Sony U.

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  6. Defragmenting also helps with another more random problem: information on hard disks can go sour through rare individual bits slouching over time towards taking on incorrect values. Moving the files around resets the bits to full strength.

    Does PerfectDisk deal directly with this problem by purposely moving files to new places on the hard drive or does it just move fragmented files in some way that is considered better than Microsoft’s defragmentation utility?

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  7. This info from the help file leads me to believe it does, Mickey:

    Completeness of Defragmentation – Each drive contains different types of files – depending on the file system used and what the drive is used for. It may include directories, system files and data files. The expectation when you run a defragmentation utility is that it will defragment all of the files on the drive. PerfectDisk can defragment all file types, including all system files. Less advanced disk defragmenters can not defragment all file types and not all system files, leaving your disk still fragmented and free space scattered all over the place.

    Patented File Placement Strategy – PerfectDisk has a patented file placement strategy called SMART Placementâ„¢ that is designed to slow down the rate of refragmentation and to speed up future defragmentation passes. PerfectDisk accomplishes this via consolidation of free space and by identifying both rarely modified and frequently modified files, and grouping them together. SMART Placement of files results in your drive maintaining its peak performance longer and reduces the need to frequently run defragmentation passes.

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  8. Defragmenting system files sounds like a plus. But my understanding is that it is important to have a way to take completely unfragmented files and move them to a different location on the hard drive every once in a while to get around the file bit decay problem.

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