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Is buying a disk defragging program worth the money?

Posted on 2011-09-28
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I've had my PC for over 4 years running XP and my pc diagnostics STILL say that I do NOT need to defrag my drive.  but I hear it churning and churning and churning.  And my pc is getting slower and slower and slower.  NO, it's not my temp files which I regularly delete.  NO, it's not my registry which I also clean regularly.

I can't help but think that it would speed things up.  Should I purchase one?
Norton?
diskeeper?
Another brand?
One more question:  In early versions of Norton I was able to specify which files were placed closest to the drives VTOC/FAT/whatever they're calling it now.  Do current programs still provide this functionality?
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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by:Khalid Mehmood Awan
ID: 36780404
Why waste money. Use default defragmenter available in the operating system and still you can defrag even if it says you dont need.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 36783746
For a workstation, I have found Perfect Disk to be best of breed. It costs about 30 dollars for a license and does a good job. The newest version will run completely unattended and not hog system resources doing it. It offers smart placement to order the drive well.

Some people will say it is a waste of money, but my machines do *not* churn away. I have it on my two personal machines and I value it doing a good job for me. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36801371
My current favorite is smart defrag. I turn of the realtime and scheduled defrag and just use it when I want. The deep optimize does wonders. I rarely use it and when I do it's never over 1%.
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by:dbrunton
ID: 36805291
>>  One more question:  In early versions of Norton I was able to specify which files were placed closest to the drives VTOC/FAT/whatever they're calling it now.  Do current programs still provide this functionality?

No.  Not needed.

Defraggler http://www.piriform.com/defraggler  (Free to use, they will take money if you offer)

If your hard disk is working something is occurring.  Indexing perhaps or virus scan or virus.
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36807334
Usually a chugging drive on an older computer is caused by paging to disk for lack of ram. Xp used to run on 256 but xpsp3 does not. Av and other apps take more and more memory.
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by:doug67coug
ID: 36810156
Ram maybe be a concern like aarontomosky mentioned or virus scanner as mentioned above, but...four years on a spinning disk...deepending on brand...it maybe about to die on you.
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by:Em Man
ID: 36812791
4 Years, rather than buying Apps to Defrag. it will be better to purchase additional drive to backup that "churning" drive..just in case that Hard Disk will fail. better late than sorry. :)
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by:Em Man
ID: 36812797
4 Years?, For me, I will buy a new HD rather than buying Apps to Defrag. it will be better to purchase additional drive to backup that "churning" disk..just in case that old drive fail. better late than sorry. :)
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by:PeteEngineer
ID: 36812818
The main reason why purchasing a disk defragmenter is a good option is as follows :

You acquire the best defragmentation technology available
You want the benefits of additional hard drive optimization features
You need to defrag in extreme conditions (i.e. really full hard drives)
You need to defragment large hard drives such as servers
You are a network administrator and want the most convenient solution for defragmenting computers on a network

Read On :

http://www.speed-up-your-slow-computer.com/disk-defragmenter.html
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by:paulsolov
ID: 36813015
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by:expone
ID: 36813670
I agree with taga_ipil, your disk is 4 years old and hence it is probably failing slowly, so it is trying to find a "healthy" sector for use, which is taking time.

On the other hand, if you buy a new disk, it will be faster today than the technology from 4 years ago (and also it will give you a piece of mind with your data).
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nobus earned 167 total points
ID: 36814329
>>  my pc diagnostics STILL say that I do NOT need to defrag my drive  <<   what Diag does say that?
if you suspect disk problems, here is how i handle it - AFTER A BACKUP :
1- run the manufacturer diag on the drive to knwo it's status
2-if ok - run chkdsk on the drive to repair file system problems
3-if that is ok - defrag it

this procedure you can repeat every month - or after several months, depending oon the use, and necessity
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by:nobus
nobus earned 167 total points
ID: 36814333
oh yes,  here the link to all diags :   http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287      
i run them always from UBCD : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
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by:garycase
garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 36815702
Short answer:  "... Is buying a disk defragging program worth the money? " ==>  No.

A bit more detail:  

While it's true that 3rd party defragmentation software provides more options than the built-in XP tools, the built-in tool does a fine job -- assuming you're running it regularly (You DO run it -- even though it says you don't need to -- right??).

Disk churning can be caused by a variety of things ... most of which have nothing to do with fragmentation:   Indexing/Windows Search is turned on (turn it off ... it's of very little use with XP);   the drive has a large number of relocated sectors (the OS won't "know" this -- you can tell if this is the case by examining the detailed S.M.A.R.T. data for the disk);  there are failing sectors that require frequent recalibration of the drive to access;  you're encountering a lot of page faults (a VERY common problem) due to limited memory (how much RAM does your system have??).

In addition, you indicated you do frequent registry cleaning ["... it's not my registry which I also clean regularly "]  =>  I've found registry cleaners can often do more harm than good ... often resulting in either a fragmented registry (not the file, the structure) or missing keys that can cause strange behavior.

Also, how large is your drive ... and how much free space is left?     A very low % of free space can aggravate things a LOT as you'll have limited space for page file restructuring, which can greatly increase the number of page faults.

With a 4-year old system I'd be particularly suspicious of relocated sector issues and page faults as the most likely "culprits" that are causing your churning issue.    
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by:John Hurst
ID: 36815775
>>> Short answer:  "... Is buying a disk defragging program worth the money? " ==>  No

That part of the "answer" is just an opinion and there are equally valid and opposite opinions :)

... Thinkpds_User
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by:garycase
ID: 36816116
Of course it's an opinion :-)
... but one based on a modest amount of experience.    I have, and have used, PerfectDisk, Diskeeper, several versions of Norton, Defraggler, and several others.     As I noted above, many of these have nicer interfaces and better options than the built-in XP defragmenter ... but in my OPINION none of them are worth spending $$ for.     Defraggler is a nice product if you just want to use an alternative to XP's tool (and it's free).    Both PerfectDisk and Diskeeper are very nice products -- I've purchased both of them in recent years, but don't bother to install them on my current systems [While this question is about XP, the newer Windows defragmenter on Vista is even better ... and maintains the defragmentation automatically with no user intervention].
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by:nobus
ID: 36816348
if a windows tool does the job - and the 3rd party ones don't bring any real worth, or gain, i am against them also
to start with, you have to install a piece of software - for doing the same windows does
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 36818350
i am with @garycase and @nobus, its not worth buying a defragger, lack of RAM is the most likely cause of extra disk activity
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by:brothertruffle880
ID: 36904879
@aarontomosky:
Xp used to run on 256 but xpsp3 does not. Av

JEEZ.  I upgraded to SP3.  Is that it?
Was SP2 that much better?
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 36904911
>>>> Xp used to run on 256 but xpsp3 does not
>>>> JEEZ.  I upgraded to SP3.  Is that it?

SP1 runs ok (only ok) on 256Mb, SP2 needs 512Mb, and SP3 needs 1Gb. SP3 will barely go on 512Mb and I have never bothered to try on 255Mb. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:garycase
ID: 36905321
"... Was SP2 that much better?  "  ==> NO !!   You definitely want to keep up-to-date with the security fixes, etc.

SP3 runs just fine with 512MB ... or even with 256MB for a basic e-mail/internet setup.    But it is true that with small amounts of memory (especially 256MB) you'll get a lot of page faults -- especially if you have multiple windows open at the same time (or if an antivirus scan is underway).

How much memory is in your machine?     If your issue is primarily page faults (as I suspect it is -- as I noted earlier), then adding more memory will do far more good than buying a 3rd party defragmenter.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 36905377
Every client machine under my supervision that had 512Mb of memory ran like a slug when upgraded to SP3. Many complaints. All the machines were upgraded to 1Gb and the complaints went away.  Most people need much more than basics, which is probably why the extra memory is needed. I even have Adobe failures with only 512Mb.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:garycase
garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 36905421
In a domain environment the resource requirements are somewhat different than a standalone workstation.   In addition, there's a BIG difference in what's needed for a basic e-mail/internet machine (which I was referring to above) and a system that runs multiple applications in different windows simultaneously => in the latter case you'll get major page fault issues (the #1 cause of slowdowns & sluggishness) with small amounts of RAM ... and upgrading more memory easily resolves those.
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by:nobus
ID: 36908102
if he posts the specs - we can help better
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by:doug67coug
ID: 36910335
Also make sure you don't have windows search installed...that will kill a windows xp box.
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by:garycase
ID: 36911018
Agree r.e. Windows Search (as I said in my original post) ... also be sure the indexing service is turned off.
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by:doug67coug
ID: 36911067
Sorry garycase, I missed that in your earlier post.
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