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      09-04-2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Disk defragmenting is basically consolidating fragments of files on your hard drive and grouping them together.

The easiest way, off the top of my head, to explain it is, your hard drive has clusters that store information. Lets say for this example your HDD has 10 clusters that you can use to put information in. So you decide to install WoW. Wow takes up a decent amount of HDD space, so lets say it takes up 3 clusters. So now clustered 1, 2, and 3 have data (wow code) written to them. Now you want to install Ventrilo, so you install it and it gets written to cluster 4, the next available consecutive cluster. Now you want to install a 3rd program 'X' and it takes up 2 clusters. It is written to clusters 4 and 6. So the overview of your HDD storage is that clusters 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 are full of data out of the 10 possible. Now, for whatever reason you want to uninstall ventrilo. This will free up the data in cluster 4. And then you install a HUGE program, 'Zed'. Program 'Zed' will take up 4 clusters, started at 4, then 7, 8, and 9. Your cluster break down is as follows.

1. wow
2. wow
3. wow
4. Zed
5. X
6. X
7. Zed
8. Zed
9. Zed
10. open

What defraging does is that it will group your files together, and reorganize your files so that they can be more easily read. It will also fill up any gaps left. So if you had ran a Defrag after you uninstalled Ventrilo, then you would of bumped program 'X' up to cluster 4, and 5. Then when you installed 'Zed' it would of installed to clusters 6,7,8, and 9. Thus, keeping it all together and much more direct for the HDD to read. If you defrag after you install 'Zed' it will rearrange where the files are installed to, and then put group them together as whole programs. This is a rough understanding of how it works. Come to think of it, the game of Tetris would of also made a great example. Basically you don't want open spaces in your HDD and fragmented files. It boggles down your HDD when it attempts to search for those specific files.

Running a defrag would be a good way to test the HDD in an isolated environment where the GPU won't activate, however if you do have a problem or crash while defragging it could potentially cause more problems.