Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Breaking the myths of Mac defragmentation:

I own a Mac which means mean no computer virus, hacker or malware can penetrate into my system. This is not only a single myth that Mac users have in their minds. Another one is regarding fragmentation of the hard drive with the passage of time. Mac users are not to be blamed for the profiling of Mac hard drive fragmentation because, Apple itself suggest that there is no need to defrag a Mac hard drive because the OS is smart enough to defrag files of up to 20 MB of size by its own.

How Apple explains not to choose defragmentation for the drive:

  1. In comparison to traditional hard drive, today the drives are of larger capacity offering huge amount of free space even after plenty amount of stored data. 

  2. The later line on OS (10.2 & so-on), incorporates & permits small number of allocations to get combine into a single big allocation. This happens due to delayed allocation in Ex-formatted volumes.

  3. Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering system works to revise the entire file space rather than just adding the new data to a current file. 
However, defragmentation is not entirely denied by Apple:

Defragging thousands of minor files which are rarely or never accessed will have no effect on the performance of the OS X hard drive. Apparently, a user's profession and interest may require to work upon large applications like, video editing (other software), and this might result in fragmentation files in the drive. Thus, a need of removing fragments from the files may be knocking at the door of a Mac OS X.

Will partitioning the drive help in minimizing fragmentation:

Yes, splitting the hard drive into multiple volumes will separate the system files that undergoes number of read/writes from those delicate zones where files are repeatedly added and removed. To some extent, the partitioning strategy will help in defragmentation and optimization of the drive.

To Note: You won't find an in-built defrag option in Mac's disk utility, instead have to rely on a non-Apple tool.

Taking help of a non-Apple utility to defrag:

  1. Eliminating slacks spaces on the drive: With the available feature of the 'Optimization', a specific volume can be selected for removing slacks. Slacks are nothing but the unused free space created when files are stored on irregular memory locations thus creating blank spaces between files. These blank spaces becomes useless and need for optimization arises. To do the needful, select the drive and choose the optimization option to remove these slacks by arranging the files on verging memory locations.

  2. Full defragmentation enables the software to represent the entire hard drive into block-wise formation to the user where each block is analyzed for fragments and free space. The blocks are presented by particular colors indicating the report. 
Precautions before opting for defragmentation:

  1. If the hard drive is out of space then the software might prompt you with an error message which is "No Unused space available". To solve this error, try to free some of the space on the hard drive so that the defrag tool can use that space for repositioning of the files.

  2. If you select a drive with bad sectors then the drive defrag software might freezes up depending upon the presence of bad blocks on the drive.
  3. Arrange proper backup measures before opting for defrag.