Your computer's running a little slow... You decide to do a defrag because you've heard this may speed up your PC... But... Do you know what a defrag is? If the answer's no then read on...
I like to explain defrag using this simple analogy... Think of Windows as a very untidy store keeper who looks after your files.. A file gets accessed then handed back to the store keeper who instead of packing it away neatly takes your files and just randomly throws it back in to the store anywhere. Now within reason this isn't such a bad thing as your hard drive (the store keeper) is pretty good at accessing files very quickly, but... let's imagine another store keeper takes over for the day and he decides that he will store files that are related to one another closely together making them easier and quicker to find, overall wouldn't this speed up the whole file accessing process? That's what a defrag does (in very simple terms).
Now for the conventional explanation... In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device used to store files into the smallest number of contiguous regions (fragments). It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmentation utilities try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defragmentation
The defragmentation process.
How often should I run a defrag? In most modern versions of Windows defrag runs with other maintenance programs in the background at preset times so you shouldn't really need to run the defragmentation program manually but it wouldn't do any harm.
But my computer's running slowly, shouldn't I run a defrag? In most cases your computer will be running slowly due to some other reason. Today's computers are much faster than the beige boxes of Windows 95 and Windows 98, the problem is much more likely to be caused by bloated software, driver issues or even Malware.
Do I need to defrag my Apple Mac? No Macs use a completely different type of file system called Darwin a distribution of Unix built by Apple to work with OS X and macOS.
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