Repairing slooow computer!!

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Repairing slooow computer!!
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Jim Hillier
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July 24, 2009 - 4:43 am
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Okay, here is the scenario. Number one son rings and asks me to go over and check their 4 year old XP machine, it is running like molasses. So I go over and he wasn't exaggerating, it is very slow, particularly I.E. which is taking forever to even display search results.

I do all the usual things; run full scans through installed security programs plus a couple of reputable scanner/removers, clean up all temp files and collected data, uninstall anything suss or unneeded, minimise the number of programs auto-starting, clean up registry, etc. etc. Seemed to improve slightly but I.E. is still sloooow. So, changed DNS server addresses to Open DNS...again a very slight improvement only. I knew they would not have defragged the drive, ever!! But many 'experts' say defragging the drive doesn't do much.... oh well, can't hurt. So I connect my trusty USB drive and run JKDefrag.

Three hours later and the machine is running like new!! Internet Explorer is lightening fast too...well as fast as Internet Explorer ever gets. The point to all that is; all the usual steps certainly helped but it was the defrag which contributed hugely. I shall never be told again by anyone that defragging the hard drive does not improve speed/responsiveness.

Just as a closing note...don't know if this would make any difference but the grandkids have about a zillion games installed on that machine. Perhaps that was why the defrag was so successful?

cheers.....JIM

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Chad Johnson
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July 24, 2009 - 8:53 am
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Jim, awesome post.

My stance on Defragging is simple: Frequent defrags provide little to no benefit, but it is useful to do at least once a quarter. Most computer users can get by with an annual defrag.

Hard Disk fragmentation occurs when the disk can no longer sequentially write data to the disk. When data is written to a disk, it's done in blocks. If the blocks can't go next to each other, then they get put wherever they can get put (many modern hard drives will now attempt to find contiguous space when writing files).

When files are removed, the blocks are marked as available for writing. If a file of a different size then the file removed is put in the same space, you end up with fragmentation - as part of it ends up on one part of the drive, the other ends up somewhere else.

For a typical computer user who rarely deletes files, defragging will not do a whole lot to their computer over the course of a few months up to a year.

For people like me who are frequently installing / uninstalling software, deleting documents, crashing notepad, etc, a weekly defrag is called for. It's probably superfluous but it runs on the weekends when I'm not at work anyway.

~ahem~

Anyway, congrats on restoring the old machine to its 'speedy' glory.

--zig

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Jim Hillier
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July 24, 2009 - 5:49 pm
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Hey Zig - Thanks for the heads up mate, that is the best, easiest to understand explanation of the fragmentation process I had read. It's an interesting point you make about the relationship between the amount of installing/uninstalling/deleting and the need to defrag, it makes a lot of sense to me. The grand kids would have installed and uninstalled many, many programs over the four years....including a gazillion games.

I'm sure the 'optimisation' feature in JKDefrag contributed largely too...particularly in the case of I.E.'s vastly improved speed.

cheers mate....JIM

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David Hartsock
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July 25, 2009 - 5:46 am
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It's an interesting point you make about the relationship between the amount of installing/uninstalling/deleting and the need to defrag, it makes a lot of sense to me.[/quote:dffuo0ar]

Which is exactly why I run Diskeeper!

Boy, that Ziggie guy is one smart fellow!

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Mindblower
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July 25, 2009 - 8:10 am
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My 2 cents on defragementing comes from the old school (DOS), where one saw the difference right away mainly because the disks were small. As previously mentioned, the OS can scatter a large file all over. The thought that a faster drive can correct scattered files is .

I defrag often, very often, depending what I'm going, but I also remove garbage files daily, since this also creates problems. or should I say this backwards.

I find a defrag takes less time than the round trip for a pit stop, or another cup of java. No, I don't mean a full defrag, just to defrag the fragmented files. I've tried many programs, and found the best for me is called Defragger (but from what I've read, we all have our favourites, and they all defrag differently). The point being is that a cluttered fragmented disk is often overlooked, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Chad Johnson
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July 27, 2009 - 8:46 am
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I use Smart Defrag. I get a full Defrag with optimization in about 30-45 minutes. I run it at night before I leave work, and it's done by morning (obviously).

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OldElmerFudd
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July 29, 2009 - 3:16 am
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I move a lot of files around routinely on a couple of my machines. Prefer to defrag once a month with Diskeeper and a combo Power Defrag GUI/contig.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Har ... nter.shtml
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysi ... 97428.aspx

I use two separate defraggers because software authors tend to write these programs with different file placement. My kind of crazy, but it's a routine, along with the monthly TI images.

Ron

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Jim Hillier
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July 29, 2009 - 3:28 am
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Hey Ron - Yes, good gear indeed. Unfortunately, as with many of Mark Russnovich's excellent freeware, it supports up to and including XP only. Not for Vista I'm afraid!!

No derogatory comments about Vista anyone...please!!

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Chad Johnson
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July 30, 2009 - 9:52 am
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No derogatory comments about Vista anyone...please!![/quote:1zu89f6u]

so....now what do i do?

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Jim Hillier
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July 30, 2009 - 1:14 pm
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so....now what do i do?[/quote:3prgaeec]

Zig, how on earth did you guess that reference was primarily aimed at you????

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Chad Johnson
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July 31, 2009 - 9:19 am
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Oh...there was no guessing.

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