We are all aware of the fact there are certain items that require proper maintenance if they are to operate at their peak performance. When we start to notice our car no longer gets the same gas mileage that it once did we can take it to a mechanic and have them replace the filter on the fuel pump; by doing this our car runs more efficiently and we save time and money. For those of us who have had the pleasure of cutting grass on a regular basis we know there is a need to flip the mower over every so often to clean the blade; by ridding the blade of tangled weeds that have accumulated over time it makes the job easier.
None of us want to deal with the problems that arise from failure to maintain our car so we take it in to the shop and nobody that has ever cut grass enjoys having to start the mower every five minutes so they keep it in free of debris, but there are some things that none of us want to experience yet we do little to prevent it.
It is this failure to protect and maintain our computers that typically results in our hard drives suffering a catastrophic crash. Of course nobody really wants to deal with that situation yet they often fail to take the simple steps to ensure it never happens.
While most of us have heard about the dangers associated with computer viruses and thus installed anti-virus software or experienced the frustration of junk mail so we implemented a spam filter our computers require more protection if they are to operate properly. Viruses and spam seem to make the headlines but the danger that can really take the life of a hard drive is the computer disease known as fragmentation.
Left untreated fragmentation will act like the dirty filter on the fuel pump or the weeds that are wrapped around the lawnmower blade, that is it will slow down the speed of the hard drive until it can no longer operate. This is because fragmentation, like any disease, continues to get worse as it goes untreated.
Fragmentation is related to the manner in which files are saved and stored on the computer’s hard drive. When you save a file it is placed directly behind the last file saved and this process continues with any file that follows. Problems begin to arise when a saved file is recalled, modified, and then resaved. Because the original file was placed in a designated space the modified file won’t fit. The hard drive’s solution is to cut the additional information that was created and place it in the next available space; this is now considered a fragmented file.
Because a file can be broken into thousands of pieces the hard drive can quickly become overrun by these fragments and this is what causes those slowdowns most of us are familiar with. If you’ve ever had to wait while your computer was booting up, had trouble loading files and applications, difficulty accessing and sending emails, or had to deal with a sluggish Internet then chances are the computer’s hard drive was heavily fragmented.
Of course this slowdown is annoying and can certainly try one’s patience but the real truth is fragmentation, when left untreated, can cause your hard drive to crash and cost you all the saved information you have stored.
In order to prevent such an event every computer owner should not only be aware of defragmentation but install the software to protect their computers from the damage caused by fragmentation. By defragmenting your hard drive the computer’s health can be quickly restored and the speed in which it operates returned to original state.
Defrag software, when installed, scans the hard drive and locates the fragmented files and joins the pieces that belong together and then saves them in one space. This saves your hard drive from having to search for pieces of a file and thus saves you from having to wait for that file or application to appear on your screen.
The great thing about defrag is that once it has been installed you don’t have to worry because it not only fixes the problem that exists but ensures the problem doesn’t return. Defrag will continue to monitor the hard drive, keeping files together and making sure they never become fragmented.
Understanding that it takes very little effort to keep your computer running at its optimal speed should be enough for every computer owner to install defragmentation software.