Although viruses and spyware are more notorious, fragmentation is a hidden menace that lurks within all Windows-based computers and networks. The prognosis is inevitable for those who don’t do something about it.
We are all well aware of the destructive nature of computer viruses. They’re mean, and they’re nasty, and they’re designed to destroy computers and networks. Spyware and adware are also notorious for the interference they can cause, and are now considered by some experts to be worse than viruses. However, if you own a Windows-based machine, there is a hidden problem lurking within which will ultimately lead to the crippling and demise of your system. That hidden problem is called fragmentation, and the only solution to handling the many ills that it presents is to defrag your system on a regular basis.
Fragmentation is the scattering of information across the hard drive in unconnected bits and pieces. This happens because as information is written to the disk, not all files can be neatly put together in one piece as they should be. If the file is too big to be put all in one place, the operating system splits the file up, putting pieces of the file wherever it can find the space. Fragmentation, in other words, is built into the system, and, believe it or not, most computers already have it by the time you bring it home.
The insidious nature of fragmentation lies in the fact that it is a silent killer of computer systems. Just like its biological counterpart, fragmentation slowly metastasizes throughout your system, growing, and slowly choking off resources as it clogs the system with bits of data. The symptoms begin to show up in the form of slower performance, longer and longer boot times, and ever slower load times for programs.
Then, one day, your computer suddenly freezes up for no apparent reason. Sure, you’re able to restart the system, but these episodes become closer and closer together in time, until one day, CRASH. Your system does a total shutdown.
The same scenario applies to networks and servers, only in those situations, or in situations where massive amounts of information is being stored and process, the situation becomes exponentially magnified and significantly more expensive when the system does eventually go down.
As stated, fragmentation is unavoidable. You can’t stop it, but you can manage it and keep it under control with a good defragmentation or defrag program.
A defrag program will take all the scattered bits of information and put them back together the way they should have been in the first place. Files are no longer scattered all over the disk, and the read/write head doesn’t have to frantically fly all over the drive in order to get you your information.
Compared to the cost of replacement, defrag is a relatively cheap but effective means of rescuing your system from certain doom. “Computer disease” can be successfully treated if you know what to do and take effective action.