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Some Not-So-Obvious Symptoms of the Fragmentation Disease

In non-computer-related fields such as biology and botany, there are countless cases of observed symptoms that have not been traced (or have been wrongly traced) to causes. There are numerous symptoms in computers that can have incorrect causes assigned, as well. One example is slow response in web browsing. The common “cure” for this symptom is either faster hardware or a faster internet connection. But did you know that slow web browsing can be a symptom of the fragmentation disease?

This is more easily seen in examining the mechanics of web browsing. When a web page is accessed, the files that make up that page are actually downloaded as temporary files onto the computer that’s doing the browsing. Those files are then accessed from that computer’s hard drive and the page is displayed on the screen.

If that hard drive’s files are generally fragmented, that means that any other files loaded onto that drive–such as those from a web page–will be fragmented also, as they have to be saved in fragments into the fragmented free space. Access to fragmented files is considerably slower due to the extra I/O traffic needed to retrieve each fragment. This will also slow down access to web sites revisited later; the browser will first look to the hard drive and any elements of the site that exist on the hard drive will be loaded from there rather than downloading them again.

The right defragmentation solution installed will mean that those files are no longer fragmented, and web browsing will be as fast as possible given the actual hardware limitations. But many times defragmenting will make such a difference that hardware solutions can be delayed or eliminated altogether.

The right defragmentation solution to assure fast web browsing–or consistently fast performance in general–is one that is completely automatic, one that works invisibly, in the background. No scheduling is ever required, there is never a negative performance impact from defragmentation, and performance is maximized from that point forward.

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