Is disk defragmentation recommended with Mac OS X?

Optimizing (defragmenting) the disk is the method that streamlines the files that are located physically on the disk. The files and meta-data are arranged to enhance the time taken to access these while reducing the time that is taken for the moving of the head of the hard disk.

The files fragment when the volume increases and the various components of the same file are located on different sections of the volume. Optimization is the technique that is used to collect these various components and bring them back in a single location.



Should I use defragmentation / optimization on Mac ?

Mac OS X users do not actually require to undertake the optimization process due to the following reasons:

The size of the hard drives are now larger than the older capacities. Therefore, the expanded unused space does not induce the file systems to fill all parts of the disk. The Mac OS extended format feature known as HFS Plus does not reuse freed-up space created after the files are removed. This is to evade filling-up smaller locations on the unused space created after deletion.

The Mac OS X 10.2 and all the versions released after this are inclusive of delaying allocation using the Mac OS X extended formatting feature. Therefore, several mini-allotments are blended to allot these in one part of the drive.

The common cause of fragmentation was the continued addition of information to saved files, which was more so with resource fork. The quicker hard disk with improved cache capabilities combined with the new package format enables most of the programs to overwrite the files every time these are modified. In addition, the Mac OS X10.3 panther is capable of automatic defragmentation of files that are appended slowly. The process is also termed as Hot File Adaptive Clustering.

The forceful reading ahead and writing behind cache capability results in smaller fragments that have lower effects on the performance of the system.

Therefore, users will not perceive any major advantages from the defragmentation process.

The Mac OS X machines use several thousand smaller files, which are not used frequently. Therefore, undertaking the optimization process is a big job with little advantages. Moreover, users may reduce the machine’s performance in case a file located in the hot band region for providing faster speed is relocated during the defrag process.

In case users perceive the requirement of defragmentation

Restarting the machine that is a simple task may be useful in the first instance.

In case the hard drive is almost completely used, users may change or create huge files like edited videos (the following tip is recommended for iMovie and Mac OS X 10.3 users), the possibility of the drive being fragmented may exist. Utilizing third party drive applications, users may reap some benefits from the defragmentation process.

Users may also create a back-up for crucial information and then delete the hard drive. This must be followed by reinstallation of Mac OS X and the restoration of the crucial information.




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