There’s a direct relationship between disk fragmentation and performance: As the number of disk fragments increases, performance drops. The reasoning is simple: The more work the disk drive has to do to deliver data, the longer the rest of the system has to wait, and the slower it runs.

Left unchecked, fragmentation keeps growing, and performance keeps dropping.

The solution just as simple: Defragment daily. By keeping the number of fragments low, you eliminate one of the biggest barriers to maximum system performance.

Daily defragmentation keeps system performance at top levels

Don’t know about you …but DAILY?  That’s a bit much I think to be dragging those files all around your server or workstation…

Okay let’s have at it… what are your thoughts on defragging.. I’ve not defragged a server in…. well…I’ve not defragged a server.  And there are times with all the automagical gunk that occurs on my workstation that it will even allow me to defrag..but I’ll admit lately I’ve been wondering if I need to find a peppier Newsgator or a bit of defragging might help as my RSS feeds are starting to drag down a bit.

… So… do you?  Don’t you?  What’s your stand?



12 Responses to To defrag or not defrag that is the question…

  1. Brian Hoyt says:

    The only time I defrag is my images. I figure might as well start out on the right foot. After that what happens, well happens.

  2. We schedule monthly defrags on our servers. It seems to keep them running well. As for workstation, I only do it when clients have slow performance. Maybe I should start scheduling monthly defrags on workstations too……

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  4. Noah Kaufman says:

    Defraging is good – it’s cost of the defragmenter that often makes customers wince. We run a commercial defragmenting tool on all of our servers, and it seems to help their performance from detoriating over time.

    Internally, we use the workstation version of the tool that we use on the servers and it works well. Most customers won’t pony up the money for licenses for the workstations, so on those we run manual defrags every four to six months (and then bill the customer for our time).

  5. Goofy says:

    I’m interested in the number used to define "performance" on the right hand side of the graph…

    I’m guessing it’s not in megahertz, and that the scale isn’t quite the same as the left hand side of the graph.

    It’d be nice to know what application we’re using here.

  6. I defrag my home server probably every couple months and my workstations about the same. I’ve never had an issue with defragging the server. I don’t use anything commercial, just the stock item that comes with Windows.

  7. Dave says:

    we should also discuss HARD DRIVE defrags vs. EXCHANGE (offline and online) defrags.

    I personally use the built-in Windows functionality for both types of server defrags.

    For workstations, I have used both 3rd-party tools and the built-in functionality… I have come full circle and have gone back to using the built-in functionality.

    The built-in tools have a few limitations (a little slower, cannot defrag multiple hard drives simultaneously, etc.). But when it comes down to it, defrags are like engine oil… It doesn’t matter so much what TYPE of oil you use, as long as you use some kind of oil.

  8. David Schrag says:

    Don’t forget that unless you’ve taken special steps to prevent it, defragging a Windows / SBS 2003 server partition with Volume Shadow Services enabled will wipe out your entire stock of shadow copies. See

  9. Bil Simser says:

    I can’t say that I defrag often. These days the technology of the hard drives and OSes seems to make it less important than it used to be. However looking at the stats, if they are real, then why not defrag daily?

    On a workstation I would say schedule a nightly task. After all your computer isn’t doing anything (all of my 6 at home stay on 24/7) so why not just run it to keep things happy. If I can get that kind of performance out of my system each day by setting up a nightly task then why not? Might shorten the lifespan on my disk, but I don’t know the numbers for that.

    On a server I would look at scheduling it off-hours every few weeks or monthly I guess although the churn on a server would be much lower with installing software. Maybe on a SQL server or something where it’s always being written to but the sweet spot would be to find the downtime to do this as you really don’t want to be defragging during a bunch of transactions (at least I wouldn’t, YMMV).

  10. Luis says:

    Yes, I defrag daily using a commercial defrag program. It’s fast and runs in the background while you use your computer. It’s also smart enough to determine if your drive needs to be defragged or not. If it detects that the drive is not fragmented, it will skip that day. Also it doesn’t defrag the whole drive, it only defrag the files that are fragmented.

  11. dhup says:

    WE defrag our servers and worskstations as well with a thrid party tool thats got some advanced scheduling features, does a great job and i do feel they lend to performance stability.

  12. R.N. Folsom says:

    I use PerfectDisk 7 to defrag before every backup, about once a week. That’s because my backups are images (Apricorn’s EzGigII, apparently a less featured and slimmer version of Acronis), and to me it makes sense that a badly fragmented partition might not image accurately.

    Cordially, R.N. (Roger) Folsom28