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File Fragmentation and the Average Company Employee

You may know that file fragmentation affects performance of a computer system. But did you know how much and how closely it affects every user on a system? Standard fare operations such as word processing, email, spreadsheets, web browsing, anti-virus scans and anti-spyware all have their performance greatly affected by file fragmentation.

Every user from the top executive down normally begins the day by downloading, reviewing and answering email, and nowadays many company communications, in an effort to save paper, are conducted through email. Many communications to and from costumers and prospects are also conducted through email. As employees use email bits of data are created, modified and deleted at extremely high rates. The effect on a disk is drastic–and even more so when much of this email has attached word processing, slide show, image and other similar file types. Every time an email message and attachments are opened, the disk must be accessed and all fragments of that message and attachments must be retrieved. When the message is then replied to, it is again saved–in a further fragmented state–and the person the message is sent on to must repeat the process of accessing and opening the message and attachments. Obviously, slowing email means slowing a major component of company production.

In the normal course of work, employees are opening, modifying and saving word processing documents, many of which are made larger by imbedded images and graphics. Every time a file is modified, it is saved in a more fragmented state than before. The next time it is accessed–which might be as soon as after lunch–access will be slower because the computer is having to retrieve the file in a higher number of fragments.

With the proliferation in the use of the Internet, web browsing is also now done in the normal course of work. A web page is seldom if ever a single file–they normally consist of dozens of files, all of which must be downloaded to the user’s computer for the web page to be viewed. The user clicks on a link in the page and opens another page–and dozens more files are downloaded. Every time files are downloaded, they are saved in fragmented states. When web pages which are visited frequently are accessed again, they are loaded from the user’s hard drive and then updated with new data from the web. When those files are fragmented, loading of those web pages takes far longer than it should.

There are other numerous examples of everyday applications which are all greatly slowed by fragmentation.

With the constant frequency at which files are accessed, modified and deleted today, fragmentation must be addressed in a similar frequency. The best solution is one which operates invisibly, in the background, addressing fragmentation whenever idle system resources are available.

Never underestimate the impact of fragmentation–on tens, hundreds or thousands of users within an enterprise. Defragmentation means that performance of the computer–and performance of the users themselves–is maximized and maintained.

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