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What is a "fragmented" file?

Hello Again...
It's your computer-impaired friend.
What is a fragmented file?
Are they completely ruined, or do they just need to be put back in order - like the clothing in my closet?

The reason I'm asking this is that I defrag my computer every Saturday and a few days on "Defrag Saturday" I was STUNNED to find out that my disk memory available had dropped in 7 days frm 42% to 4%...  My HP Pavilion dv8000 said that it needed at least 15% to do a degfrag.

Well, I got rid of some programs, old files, goofy photos, etc. and gained a whole percentage point.
Then I went to the online HP chat line.  Now, remember, I'm a bit slow with stuff like this (I'm an artist - does that explain things - I mean, I could put a 3-d collage on your desktop that would win awards, but I'm just lucky each day to see that my desktop hasn't "crashed" or whatever...),  Well, the gal was right on top of things.  The very first thing she asked was whether I'd added a restore point during the week - YES, I had.  I was forced to do this when the man from the cable company came to set me up with wireless and mid-session he became violently ill.  I immediately called 9-1-1 and told them that he'd suffered a brain aneurysm in my office.  The operator was INCREDIBLY hesistant to take me seriously but I told her that I was a medical intuitive (medically psychic) and was called upon by the Cleveland Clinic and other hospitals to help with difficult Dxs.   Well, she dispatched an EMS team and, sure enough he had emergency brain surgery within one hour and I'm happy to say that he will fully recover.

The reason I added that was to explain that I thought I should add a restore point since my PC hadn't been operating quite normally for about 10 days.  So I set this point.  And the HP chat professional said that doing that really took my memory away...  She gave me the MOST COMPLICATED instructions I can imagine and I was unable to follow them.

So I need to know (for curiousity) the meaning of a "fragmented filed," a "defragmented file" and how to restore my memory.  I'm almost to the point of just buying some more, but I know the problem can be solved by smart people like you.  So, I thought I'd be "cheap" and go with your ideas - NOW REMEMBER - don't make them too complicated!!

Thank you all, so much!
4 Solutions
A fragmented file is just one that is plit up into different pieces and scatterd around on your disk - its completley OK - but because its scattered about it takes longer to read/write such a file. If you defrag the disk, this gatthers together all the file fragments and tries as best it can to put them so they follow on and other - improving efficiency.

To defrag you disk just select "Disk Defragmenter" from System Tools on the start menu
File fragmentation has nothing to do with "memory".  Restore points don't take very much either.  Clear your browser cache and see how your usage looks then.  What size hard drive do you have?  Here's some info on fragmentation:


A fragmented file is like this.....

Lets say your drive is 100 "blocks"   (its not)...  a document you save takes up 2 blocks.  Then you save another document for 2 blocks.

Now say that document one used block one and 2....document number 2 used block 3 and 4....now....

1-4 are used.....

when you go to make CHANGES to doc 1 and re save, parts will be saved to block 5 most likely.  Now document 1 consists of blocks 1, 2 and 5.  Your file is now fragmented.  Not a big deal until you get huge files that are in a million fragments.  But even so, defragmenting is over rated.  Waste of time
I generally I find that MUSIC and Video files are what are taking up the majority of space on peoples HDD when they are running low on space.   A relatively cheap and easy solution is to get an external HDD to store MUSIC and Video files.  After the files are offloaded onto the external device you should have much better than 15% free space.
artisticattorneyAuthor Commented:
Each of these 4 experts added their own "spin" and; therefore, each gave me extra information to explore.  THANK YOU to all for speaking in simple, plain English for me since I've got that little "computer-impairment" problem!  I will remove all music from the had disk - it came with the computer and I'm not really into rap...;Forgotten gave a SUPER explanation of fragmented disks - I've heard lots of descriptions, but I guess this one "spoke" to me!; I read lcit's Wikipedia reference and it, also was helpful - I'm angry with HP for telling me that restore points messed me up and I will be in touch with them; and for KCTS, everytime I attempt to defrag it says I don't have enough space to do so, but I appreciate your advice.  It's VERY difficult to split out points - guess that's why I've never been a judge on American Idol (!) but I tried my best.  I hope no one has hurt feelings - you are all a credit to the organization and, trust me, I've got more "pretty basic" questions coming your way, so I'm making a log of the points you've been given to even any problems up in the very near future.
Barb, enjoying the 50+mph squalls off Lake Erie...
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