MS Windows XP Pro Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

J
#1
Need some help. My PC is getting slower and slower on any task that is heavy on drive read time. I haven't defraged in about 5 years on a 5 year old XP Pro installation. (stupi me) I have about 20% free space and defrag works but seems satisfied to get the job 1/2 done. It reports leaving the drive 16% fragmented with hundreds of files still fragmented, some files exceeding a 1000 fragments. Performance is somewhat up. There are clearly still critical files severely fragmented. How do I get it to completely defrag the drive. I have tried :
regular mode,
safe mode, and
defrag c: -f , from a dos mode start.
I remember from the 80's (dos days) defragging and having it report 0% fragmentation at finish. Any ideas????
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Defragentation is only a problem on older drives. Since you computer is old, it might help a bit. I know widows 2000 has a defragmentation option in the Get Info for the disk (Disk Properties > Tools tab). Upon restart it will defragment the drive.

But - You would probably get the most out of backing up your data, reformatting the drive and reinstalling your OS, programs and then your data. That clears out the registry and all the 'crud'.

Todays drives are so fast, not to mention cheap, that defrag doesn't do much speed wise. You might want to just put in a bigger hard drive while you're at it. I have an old (7 years?) PC here and that's what I did. I have windows 2000 on it and it's one of my 'house servers'. It's an old Compaq I bought used. The Cheech Wiz house server (scroll down near the bottom).
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

I tend to agree with Marc in that with the speed and size of modern drives, file fragmentation isn't the issue it once was. You might benefit from backing your data files, reformatting and reinstalling the OS. If you want to give defragging another shot, you can try Diskeeper free for thirty days and see if it helps--it's more thorough than the XP defragger (which is a crippled version of Diskeeper).
 
M

Madfox

#4
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Going way back, part of the problem might be with the TSR's. (? I believe that meant "terminated, still resident;" like a screen saver program.) So, begin with the control+alt+delete thing to get to the basic 6 or 7, I believe, processes you want to ensure remain active. (Due diligence caveat...find out which exact programs you don't want to end.) Then try the defrag.
But before then, do a "disk cleanup."

Madfox
 
C

Clausterphobic

#5
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Need some help. My PC is getting slower and slower on any task that is heavy on drive read time. I haven't defraged in about 5 years on a 5 year old XP Pro installation. (stupi me) I have about 20% free space
Hello JBar,

I agree with the advises given so far but, i can't help notice when you mentioned that you have 20% free disk space. How much is your actual free disk space in megabytes? If i remeber it correctly, XP requires at least a hundered megabytes available anytime on your disk. Lower than that it performs slower and sometimes gives some error.

Suggestion: you might want to delete/uninstall files/programs that you are not using. then perform defrag. or better back-up your files, format hard drive and re-install OS.

and slower on any task that is heavy on drive read time.
Heavy drive read time means the computer is accessing your hard disk space since your RAM is not enough. this is true when you have a lot of programs running.

Suggestion: you might want to consider increasing your RAM. I have the same problem before. I have a P4 1.7GHz and 125MB memory. I can only run 1 applications at a time. when i run 2 applications it goes way too slow. :nope:

Also try scanning for adaware, spyware, or virus. These programs run on the background thus slowing down your computers performance.

:topic: Another thing is that anti-virus programs running on the background also contributes on slowing down your computer. but you would not want to disable it.:notme:

Hope this helps.

:bigwave: EMTT
 
#6
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

I have about 20% free space and defrag works but seems satisfied to get the job 1/2 done.
You may need to run defrag several times (with the bare minimum of things running in the background) to get a decent result, but what you really need (apart from the previously given advice) is a new and bigger hard drive. 20% free space is in the realm where you can expect performance to start deteriorating.

/Claes
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Another option you could do is install a "Slave" drive. Keep all the required files in the Main Drive ("C"), like the OS and Office, and place the remaining files in the slave drive ("E").


I run two Hard Drives. My main hard drive "C" is 300 GB and my slave drive "E" is 40 GB.

Just another thought.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#8
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Going way back, part of the problem might be with the TSR's. (? I believe that meant "terminated, still resident;" like a screen saver program.) So, begin with the control+alt+delete thing to get to the basic 6 or 7, I believe, processes you want to ensure remain active. (Due diligence caveat...find out which exact programs you don't want to end.) Then try the defrag.
But before then, do a "disk cleanup."

Madfox
That's also a good suggestion. "TSR" by the way (terminate, stay resident), is an old DOS term that no longer applies in actual multitasking operating systems. TSR was a type of system call devised to get around the pesky memory limitations of MS-DOS and gave the appearance of actual multitasking, but in actuality MS-DOS is/was only capable of dealing with one program at a time.
 
#9
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Very good advice, Claes. Anything over 50% full on even the most modern systems will begin to degrade hard drive performance on XP boxes, 80% full is going to make you crazy, no matter what size drive you have. You can get a blazing fast 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM IDE harddrive shipped to your house for US$95. (www.newegg.com). It's time to upgrade.

If you have the XP Pro Software, I would install a new Seagate as IDE Master, put your existing drive on as Slave, and do a clean XP install on the new drive, then copy only what you need from the old drive to the new, thus cleaning out the XP attic and gaining 320GB at the same time. If you don't have the install disc*, drive to drive imaging software is WAY cheaper than XP Pro.

MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR CURRENT DRIVE BEFORE SWAPPING!

*Before I hear from the infringement crowd, currently most PC mfgs don't provide you with the wherewithal to do a fresh install these days. If you are lucky, you get a small "restore" partition on your main drive.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#10
Re: Hard Drive Defrag (defragmentation) question

Very good advice, Claes. Anything over 50% full on even the most modern systems will begin to degrade hard drive performance on XP boxes, 80% full is going to make you crazy, no matter what size drive you have.
This might have been true on MS-DOS based systems (anything before Windows 98) but I operated on a ~80% populated system drive for nearly 5 years without any issues, and that was a 5400 RPM drive. When I replaced it with an 80Gb, 7200 RPM drive there was no discernible difference in performance. Heavy disk access is almost always a function of excessive paging, and the best strategy is usually adding RAM. ("Paging" refers to the OS using the hard drive as virtual RAM when actual RAM is limited, and it results in a lot of hard drive thrashing). One way to tell whether excessive paging is going on is by use of the free XP Page File Monitor.

If you have the XP Pro Software, I would install a new Seagate as IDE Master, put your existing drive on as Slave, and do a clean XP install on the new drive, then copy only what you need from the old drive to the new, thus cleaning out the XP attic and gaining 320GB at the same time. If you don't have the install disc*, drive to drive imaging software is WAY cheaper than XP Pro.
You don't have to have XP pro in order to do this; it will work just fine on XP Home as well. Also, imaging isn't the answer because imaging creates a sector-by-sector copy of the original drive, and will copy all of the problems that might be there (including viruses, worms, adware and fragementaion) to the new one. If a clean install of the OS is desired, just data files should be backed up--there's no sense in backing up programs, including the OS, that will be reinstalled.

Before I hear from the infringement crowd, currently most PC mfgs don't provide you with the wherewithal to do a fresh install these days. If you are lucky, you get a small "restore" partition on your main drive.
Usually, there's no pirating involved because what you've purchased is not the OS, but a license to use it. Thus if your original is an OEM copy (what was on the computer when purchased) you can legally use any OEM disk to reinstall. And most manufacturers do offer a full install disk, but you have to ask for it and pay a little extra for it. I know that HP, for example, has a history of supplying a full install disk if your drive has been trashed and you have no other way of restoring the OS. Under the MS OEM licensing scheme, OEMs are obligated to provide a method of restoring the as-purchased condition of the hard drive, thus the restore partition strategy. But the restore partition is useless if the hard drive crashes, so most OEMs will work with you on restoring the OS in such cases.
 
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