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Fragmented hard drive

Posted on 1998-10-20
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Last Modified: 2013-12-19
Hi there,

I have an NT 4SP3 server and the hard drive is severely fragmented. It is to the point of not booting and giving the "...missing kernal file..." error. I got it to boot with an NT boot disk, cleaned up the hard drive a bit and installed a Defrag package I read about in Windows NT Systems magazine.

The problem is that the defrag software I installed didn't defrag squat. The drive is still severely fragmented. Looking for recomendations.
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Question by:honnonc
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8 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:seejay22
ID: 1564480
If it is an NTFS partition, it will look fragmented when viewing the data on a graphical map of the drive. It is just the nature of NTFS. It can't be written to the disk sequentially from the begining of the disk, like on a FAT partition. Officially, NTFS partitions can't become fragmented. <g> (unless they are nearly full) Norton Utilities for NT will defrag an NTFS partition, but again, it won't be like defraging a FAT partition.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:MFK
ID: 1564481
What format is the partition ?

The best defragmenting software for NT is Diskeeper from Executive Software Int'l. The lite version is available for free downloads. Just search for the site as I don't remember the site name. It works with both the FAT and NTFS partition.
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Expert Comment

by:astara
ID: 1564482
If the disk is NTFS, I recommend
1.  Back-up everything and move as many non-essential files to another server or a hard drive that is not your boot drive.  Try to get about 500 MB free.  
2.Then go to http://www.execsoft.com/trialware/dkguest.htm and download the trial edition of diskeeper by executive software.  First run analyze.  if you see a lot of red blocks, you probably have some severely fragemented files.  Then run defragment, and look at the results in "written" format, not the pictoral representation.  This will geve you details about the drive after your work
3.  your drive probably became close to totally full.  There is a chance you overwrote the kernel, or blew it out somehow.  If you have a back-up of the kernel, you should restore it.  If you do not have a backup copy, you might be able to get a copy of the standard kernel for your model from the manufacturer.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:carmine
ID: 1564483
If it's severly frag'd and pretty full then non of teh defraggers will be of much help.  Best to backup, format, reinstall NT, restore backup - preferably on a larger disk!

Alternatively, backup all non-essential data & progs, delete them from the drive, defrag, then restore the data.

The defraggers need some disk space to work, also if the disk structures are fragmented, then you'll have to reformat to sort it out.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:mearley081497
ID: 1564484
This is absolutely possible.

After you do the following use Nortons Utilities as a defrag solution.

1. Install a new copy of NT to a new directory - c:\winnt2
2. OR - install the harddrive into a new machine with NT and NTFS already on it.
3.  Use MS Backup or install your usual backup software
4.  Backup - this will defragment the drive during the read to tape.
5.  Re-install NT to a clean drive
6.  Restore the backup over your new install - it will skip open and therefore redundent files.
7. be sure to have used the same level of service packs and reaplly hotfixes after.

-Matthew
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Author Comment

by:honnonc
ID: 1564485
As I said, I have been able to boot with a Boot disk. Maybe I'm missing the point :-) but accessing my data is fine. In fact the email server has been running for a week now off the boot disk while I've been trying to figure out what to do. I have also already installed Diskeeper but have only cleared up about 300 megs of free disk space. Maybe this is why it isn't doing much. I also tried copying all of the files from my boot disk to the hard drive but it, of course, didn't work. It's wierd to me that it wouldn't work although I guess the files I copied over are fragmenting in the copy process?

What represents the "kernel"?

I think I'm just going to build a new server but it would sure be nice to get this thing booting without a floppy disk while I'm waiting for the budget to pass!
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Expert Comment

by:seejay22
ID: 1564486
And NTFS partition doesn't write info to a hard disk sequentially, so it just looks fragmented! A FAT partition defraged will look like:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

An NTFS partition will look like a fragmented FAT partition,ie:


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                           xxxxxxxx    xxxxxxxxxx                       xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx            xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                     xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx       xxxx       xxxxxxxxxxx           xxxxxx

Get it?
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
pistole earned 200 total points
ID: 1564487
I use the following method:

if you're running the pagefile on the same disk , do the following:
-remove the pagefile, preferable move it to another disk (control panel | system)
-(reboot)
-make sure you have enough available memory by stopping services and application (logon with shift pressed)
-start an defragmenter (I prefer Norton Speedisk) and let it run continuously for a couple of hours (depending on size of harddisk)
-if it doesn't work, maybe you could delete some files

-finally restore the pagefile to the disk, and make it big enough! Microsoft says it should be 1.5x physical ram, but if you have the space, make it twice as big (128 MB if you have 64 MB physical ram). Also make the maximum size equal to minimum size. This will prevent the pagefile from fragmenting

I've scheduled Speedisk to run from 8 pm to 8 am so my disks get defragmented when I'm not at work. The fragmentation remains below 10%

Pistole
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