For anybody that has ever rushed to their computer to find directions to a restaurant, pull up times for a movie or check the weather before heading out the door there is nothing that compares to the frustration of having to wait for the results to appear on the screen. For a brief moment you may actually think the computer is laughing at you while you beg and plead for results yet the truth is the slow computer performance is likely your own fault.
That may not be very comforting as you pull your hair out but it should motivate you to be more proactive when it comes to the health of your computer. That’s because a slow computer is usually caused by neglect and if you take the time to ensure your hard drive is protected then its operability will remain at top speed.
The neglect comes from failing to protect the hard drive from the computer disease known as fragmentation. Most people hear about the dangers of viruses that can cause serious problems and compromise the security of your information and while these are legitimate threats that need to be addressed the damage that can be caused by fragmentation can be just as devastating.
Unlike a virus that is imported onto your computer fragmentation is actually born on the hard drive. Known as a computer disease because it continues to get worse as it goes untreated, fragmentation can quickly turn a healthy hard drive into a jumbled mess. That mess will eventually become too overwhelming for the hard drive to handle and it will crash, signaling the end to all the information that had been saved.
Fragmentation exists due to the manner in which the hard drive was designed. To maximize space the hard drive was made to save and store files using a contiguous method, placing files one behind the next as they were saved. This may have seemed harmless enough at first but it quickly became a problem when it was realized those saved files couldn’t be modified without causing problems.
This is because when a saved file is modified and then resaved it will no longer fit in the same space it originally occupied. The hard drive is then forced to cut the excess information and store it in the next available space on the hard drive, now you have a fragmented file. Because there is no limit to how many pieces a file can be split into the hard drive can quickly become overrun by fragmentation.
When this happens it becomes increasingly difficult for the hard drive to retrieve information that is being requested and you experience delays, not exactly what you want when you’re running late to that restaurant, movie or trying to get a weather report before booking your vacation.
A fragmented hard drive will cause delays in booting up the computer, problems accessing files and loading pages, difficulty accessing and sending emails and sluggish Internet browsing. All of these problems will get worse unless the problem is addressed.
Fortunately the solution to fragmentation is simple and requires nothing more than the installation of defragmentation software. Once defrag is installed the hard drive will be scanned and any file that has been fragmented will be repaired and then saved in one place. This eliminates the hard drive’s need to search for several pieces when a file is requested thus the speed of the computer is increased dramatically.
The next time you’re sitting at your computer and your waiting for that page to load don’t forget it’s not your computer laughing at you it’s probably just your common sense that told you to defrag your hard drive a day earlier.