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(tool, file system)
/dee-frag(-ment)'/ (Or "defrag") To coalesce files and free space on a file system; to reduce fragmentation.


To reorganize the disk by putting files into contiguous order. Because the operating system stores new data in whatever free space is available, data files become spread out across the disk as they are updated. Large files may be broken into thousands of fragments, causing the read/write head to move back and forth numerous extra times to read the data. A "defragger" or "optimizer program" rewrites all the files and stores them in adjacent sectors.

Windows comes with the DEFRAG.EXE utility, which can be activated by the Run dialog from the Start menu. Other popular defraggers, such as Diskeeper, offer enhanced capabilities.

Users Run the Gamut
Some users are fanatical about defragging their disks on a regular basis. Others rarely do it, if ever. After defragmenting, performance increases are most noticeable on very large databases that had been heavily fragmented. Because today's computers are so fast, users may not notice any increase in speed with routine applications such as word processing and spreadsheets, especially if the files are small.

A Good Habit
Nevertheless, defragmenting disks regularly is good practice because it reduces wear and tear on the drive mechanism. In addition, should the hard disk ever crash and you did not back up important files, data recovery experts will tell you that a defragged disk is much easier to restore.

Before and After
Diskeeper is one of the most popular defraggers on the market. The red in the drive map at the top shows all the fragmented files. After defragmenting, the new drive map was pasted on the bottom for comparison. Diskeeper can be set up to defrag the disk whenever the machine is idle. As soon as the user clicks the mouse or presses a key, the defragging is suspended.
References in periodicals archive ?
One new method is to bypass the Windows NT 0/S and the special APIs in order to defragment the MFT online (Microsoft technical authorities consider this approach dangerous), Alternatives include offline defragmentation during rebooting (less convenient, but safe) and the latest approach of Diskeeper 5.
0 Second Edition includes advances that enable it to defragment even faster than earlier versions.
It should be noted that in the 2 x 60 GB configuration, the Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter could not defragment the two drives at the same time.
Defrag Manager is a Windows enterprise defragmentation solution that remotely defragments the drives of computers network-wide from a single console, without requiring any manual installations on client systems.
Running PerfectDisk 2000 for Exchange defragments and optimizes the data stores, resulting in improved Exchange performance.
Defrag Manager then automatically defragments every computer in the OU, and computers that are added or removed from the OU are likewise adjusted in the corresponding Defrag Manager schedule.
This simplifies the process for configuring Advanced Mode defragmentation -- an offline environment that safely defragments all files, folders, and metadata regardless of Windows version, cluster size, or permission settings.
PerfectDisk is the only product that defragments and rearranges all the files on a disk.
This process automatically defragments the paging files and Registry hives of remote systems using a method that is 100% compliant with Windows file system APIs for safety.
The product defragments and optimizes directories, the Master File Table (MFT), page files, files and meta data.
Once schedules are bound, Defrag Manager automatically defragments every computer in the OU, and recognizes changes as machines are added or retired, freeing up Defrag Manager licenses for future use.