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Old Nov 25, 2010, 05:12 PM   #1
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genci88
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Default Defragment your hard drive to free up storage space? WTF?

Saw this on Symantec's website (see pic below).

How does defragmenting your hard drive free up storage space? Are Symantec people retarded, or do I have a severe lack of understanding on how defragmentation works?

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Last edited by genci88 : Nov 25, 2010 at 05:14 PM.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 05:20 PM   #2
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yup, it took me several weeks to get people to stop saying we'll free up hard drive space during our free pc tune up (norton registry fixer and a defrag is what we do).

it's on the product and we have to tell people.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 05:24 PM   #3
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it is possible for an application to not be able to save a file/files/project due to insufficient drive space because of fragmentation, where the application looks for a contiguous block of free space. This is very rare these days as file system handling is much improved since the time when applications needed to know better than Windows how they wanted to save their data. The statement is likely a holdover from studies/old research.

It is BS these days, though, but there might be an old application that still does it.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Nah, it's more about fragmented files possibly using up... can't remember the name, but it's the value "Allocation unit size", which you can choose while formating.

Anyway, say that you have an allocation unit size of 64KB. A file of say 1KB will still then use 64KB of the harddrive, as a file can't take up less space than the allocation unit size.
And well, when you have a fragmented file (total 25KB in size), you might have say an 1KB fragment, one 4KB fragment, and an 20KB fragment. This file would in a fragmented state take upp 64KBx3 of space, as each fragment would need one allocation unit each, instead of it being in one fragment, only one allocation unit for the whole file.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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Cluster. ****.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 08:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibis View Post
Nah, it's more about fragmented files possibly using up... can't remember the name, but it's the value "Allocation unit size", which you can choose while formating.

Anyway, say that you have an allocation unit size of 64KB. A file of say 1KB will still then use 64KB of the harddrive, as a file can't take up less space than the allocation unit size.
And well, when you have a fragmented file (total 25KB in size), you might have say an 1KB fragment, one 4KB fragment, and an 20KB fragment. This file would in a fragmented state take upp 64KBx3 of space, as each fragment would need one allocation unit each, instead of it being in one fragment, only one allocation unit for the whole file.
That makes sense. Forgot about clusters.
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Last edited by genci88 : Nov 25, 2010 at 08:34 PM.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 08:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibis View Post
Nah, it's more about fragmented files possibly using up... can't remember the name, but it's the value "Allocation unit size", which you can choose while formating.

Anyway, say that you have an allocation unit size of 64KB. A file of say 1KB will still then use 64KB of the harddrive, as a file can't take up less space than the allocation unit size.
And well, when you have a fragmented file (total 25KB in size), you might have say an 1KB fragment, one 4KB fragment, and an 20KB fragment. This file would in a fragmented state take upp 64KBx3 of space, as each fragment would need one allocation unit each, instead of it being in one fragment, only one allocation unit for the whole file.
Tis true and what they mean by reclaim disc space.

http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_optimization.htm
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 10:56 PM   #8
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Tis true and what they mean by reclaim disc space.

http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_optimization.htm
Am I the only one who read that article in a Yakov Smirnoff voice?

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Old Nov 26, 2010, 02:03 AM   #9
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Maybe it mattered a bit in the days of FAT16 with 8kb cluster sizes for drives that were only 100MB or less - but compare that ratio to 64KB cluster sizes for drives that are 200GB or even 200+TB in size these days.

In other words, I don't know why they would even advertise for that savings now - considering that defragmentation couldn't even save a small fraction of a percent of free space in today's drives.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 02:09 AM   #10
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Its an excuse to sit there for at least an hour extra waiting for it to defrag so you can get paid more .


From my understanding of it you don't lose or gain any actual space but heavy fragmentation can mean some files can not be written well at least in the old days or if you ever actually manage to use up all the space while also having bad fragmentation.

Think of it this way you have something you need to write that is 6 blocks large ======
but your harddrive is so fragmented that there are only gaps 4 blocks large ====

Defraging rearranges files so all used blocks are stacked next to each other instead of leaving small gaps of 4 blocks so when it's complete all the free blocks should be in one long string that is large enough to take any size file.

Even if they where to change it to say it speeds up your drive that doesn't really happen these days as there is usually loads of completely unused drive available for file movement so the drive hardly ever has to seek out empty spots in random places of the disk.

Also did anyone else notice that pretty much everything in their PC tuneup section is a repeat of the next item like:

Removing cookies and purging passwords both are pretty much the same task,
Reclaiming PC memory and recouping system resources are the same again,
optimizing hard drive and defraging again the same

So of the 10 things listed there only around 4 of them actually do anything the rest are repeats with changed wording.

Last edited by CoolNitro : Nov 26, 2010 at 02:37 AM.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 09:13 AM   #11
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Yeah, defrag will not reclaim any appreciable amount of disk space unless the file fragmentation is very high and the cluster size is large. If the filesystem is so badly fragmented, free space would be the least of the user's worries, and defragging for improving file access speed would take precedence I'd think. If you have a competent automatic defragger monitoring and defragging the drives (some utilties even prevent most fragmentation), fragmentation will never reach such levels.

There is also a chance that the Norton ad meant 'free space consolidation' instead of 'reclamation'. With this interpretation, a defrag makes perfect sense since it consolidates available free space into large contiguous blocks.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curio View Post
Maybe it mattered a bit in the days of FAT16 with 8kb cluster sizes for drives that were only 100MB or less - but compare that ratio to 64KB cluster sizes for drives that are 200GB or even 200+TB in size these days.

In other words, I don't know why they would even advertise for that savings now - considering that defragmentation couldn't even save a small fraction of a percent of free space in today's drives.
default filesystem cluster size for windows is 4kb.

try installing windows to a volume formatted to >16k cluster size, see what happens.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 05:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
default filesystem cluster size for windows is 4kb.

try installing windows to a volume formatted to >16k cluster size, see what happens.
Yeah true - but the point still stands
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 06:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
default filesystem cluster size for windows is 4kb.

try installing windows to a volume formatted to >16k cluster size, see what happens.
It works OK as long as you have a small first partition for the boot loader. You need to format your main partition from the dos prompt, or you get stuck with 4k clusters.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 11:07 AM   #15
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Security and "optimization" companies will do anything to make you buy their products. They need you to live in constant fear that without their product, your PC will slow to a crawl, get infested with viruses that steal your data and CC# and eventually make the whole computer explode in your face, killing you and your family.

That's one reason why Windows has such a poor reputation among typical computer users - they've been lead to believe that the operating system is so poorly written that it will suffer from "registry errors", crashes and full drives if you don't buy the latest PC Booster and Cleaner for $99.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 12:05 PM   #16
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Security and "optimization" companies will do anything to make you buy their products. They need you to live in constant fear that without their product, your PC will slow to a crawl, get infested with viruses that steal your data and CC# and eventually make the whole computer explode in your face, killing you and your family.

That's one reason why Windows has such a poor reputation among typical computer users - they've been lead to believe that the operating system is so poorly written that it will suffer from "registry errors", crashes and full drives if you don't buy the latest PC Booster and Cleaner for $99.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 04:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepsin View Post
Security and "optimization" companies will do anything to make you buy their products. They need you to live in constant fear that without their product, your PC will slow to a crawl, get infested with viruses that steal your data and CC# and eventually make the whole computer explode in your face, killing you and your family.

That's one reason why Windows has such a poor reputation among typical computer users - they've been lead to believe that the operating system is so poorly written that it will suffer from "registry errors", crashes and full drives if you don't buy the latest PC Booster and Cleaner for $99.
When in reality windows will suffer registry errors no matter what you do, I don't think it is possible to run a windows PC for a week without getting some sort of registry error well unless you turned it on and did nothing.

That said you shouldn't need to run a fixer program to solve these problems as it only becomes a problem if the computer is heavily used for around 2 years at which point most people will just do a clean install.

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Old Nov 27, 2010, 05:04 PM   #18
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When in reality windows will suffer registry errors no matter what you do, I don't think it is possible to run a windows PC for a week without getting some sort of registry error well unless you turned it on and did nothing.

Don't know about your machines, but my windows boxes have never done this. Under any OS. If you're talking about some sort of extremely minor error which is invisible to the user and does not affect the way the system works, then you're contributing to the stereotype needlessly.

There have certainly been instances where the software was to blame for some error which caused a significant problem, but honestly I've had more experience with windows machines having significant errors because hardware was faulty or failing than due to the operating system itself.

It has problems, but it will get by with them or correct them in one way or another most of the time, so it's rare that I see a significant error that can be blamed entirely on microsoft.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 05:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
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When in reality windows will suffer registry errors no matter what you do, I don't think it is possible to run a windows PC for a week without getting some sort of registry error well unless you turned it on and did nothing..
Really? You're doing it wrong, then.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 05:53 PM   #20
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herp derp im gonna download norton and increase my kajiggerbytes.
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