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How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged?

 
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How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 2:57:58 AM   
ravinhood


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I just looked at mine yesterday and it looked like a DNA strip I'd seen on tv. Blue, Red, White everyother spot just about. I mean I'm patriotic, but, this is rediculous to have such a US flag of colors so arranged on my hard drive. And it's STILL DEFRAGGING at this very minute. It's been defragging for nearly 24 hours now, why so long to defrag as well?
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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 3:07:20 AM   
anvl

 

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I will give it a try,, hehe to explain why for both,,, hehe.. perhapt nearly the blind leading the blind,, or "In the Kingdom of the blind,, the one eyed may is King"  :(

I think they ged fragged because when the computer needs a byte of data,, it takes it and puts it into cache memory  for faster access... then when it puts it back,, it just puts it where it wants... :)  hehe pretty simplistic,,,

So when you defrag,, the computer goes thru every single storage\data space,,and rearranges things where they ought to go. it actually moves these lil squares of data from one place to another..thus all the data for games get put into sequence etc,, And,, if you have one of the relativly new huge hard drives,,especially if you have no partitions,, it takes a very long time to go thru it all and sort it out...

anvil


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 3:12:10 AM   
ravinhood


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So, really one should make a partition for their ram cache? Because this is the drive I have my virtual memory on and it's just horrible looking compared to my other drive. Can I make a partition without having to reformat my drive? I also moved the ram cache to another drive while I defragment. I read somewhere this would defrag the whole drive instead of just portions of it as there would be unmoveable files if you didn't.

< Message edited by ravinhood -- 10/21/2007 3:17:47 AM >

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 4:30:13 AM   
anvl

 

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I'm not sure if the ram catche needs be moved or not,, I don't think that matters.  Ram is emptied when you shut down your computer, so there is nothing in it other than what is being used more or less at the moment.. the computer does try to anticipate,,and have the appropriate data ready for use..Some people do put the ram catche in its own partition, but this is, i believe,, to speed up your operating system when it is searching for data,, I usually do this,, depending on my disk capacity... :)  Otherwise,, i put it in a different directory than the operating system,, usually Win,,, and in a relativly little used directory. 

I am a firm believer in partitioning your hard drive,,especially if you have only one.  the analagy is the hd is like a file cabinet.  if you have everything stufed into one drawer,, and something happens.. all is lost.   If you are partitioned, then you have more than one "drawer" to put stuff in,, and each drawer is relativly protected from all the others.   For organization,, I have a Win directory\partition,games,programs,graphics,and Data... If you are into other things like say video editing, then you could have another partition for this.  I always,, and I stress,, always have a Data partition,,and store all my important "saves" here from all my programs.. You can select a "saves" folder in most programs in Options\preferences. 

the reason for this,, is for one example,, most virus stuff attacks your Win directory,, and can trash it pretty bad.. This means you have to reinstall windows.  If you only have one partition,, then everything is lost in the reinstall... if you are partitioned,, then your data is safe,,but you have to reinstall windows,,and all your programs. 

another scenario:  sometimes a program install goes bad, or a program gets corrupted and you need to reinstall it,,  sometimes this can effect your windows install,, if they are both installed in the same partition... so all my programs(Office for example) go in the programs directory... games in games etc.  and saves for all these go in the data directory.

also,, and perhaps most important,, if you are organized this way... all you really need back up,,at a minimum is your Data directory,,and\or the Windows directory.  So again another example,, you have the disk for your games,, so if something happens,, and you need reinstall,, your saved games are in your data directory,, reinstall the game,,and point it to your say Data\H&M3\Saves.. and you are back up and running. 

The program i have used for years is Partition Magic,, I think it has within the last couple of years been bought out by someone else,, but it is still a good program for this,, very user friendly,,intuitive,,and I have never lost any data,, or had any problems whilst using it...


And last but not least.. the other thing this does,,is allow you to defrag only those parts of your computer storage that need it,, and then it won't take 24 hours + to defrag...

hope this helps

anvil


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 4:36:04 AM   
jchastain


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It is actually a bit more complex that that but we'll keep it overly simple for our purposes.  Assume you start with a completely clean disk and write some data.  For sake of an example, we'll say 10 files of a meg apiece.  It will be in contiguous space.  A year later, you delete one of those 1 meg files and write a new 2 meg file.  Half can be in the "old" space and half has to be somewhere else.  If you have also deleted a bunch of small files elsewhere on the disk, it might even be several different somewhere elses.  Write a new file to that directory and it also has to be somewhere else on the disk as there is no way to "squeeze it in" to the contiguous space with the other files.  Edit one, and it might be partially there and partially somewhere else or it might be spread all over the place (depending on whether the edit program deletes the old before it write the new - most do not so it is likely spread to the winds and there is a new hole where the old version used to be).  Suddenly, your directory is spread all across the disk like swiss cheese with many of the files broken up into a bunch of small chunks.  That's where your defrag program comes in.  It just combines the pieces and tries to move the files around so that directories are all in the same place (which can be important when you consider that a directory is itself just a special kind of file).

To anvl's point, disk caching just complicates the order of the writes and can get things spread out a bit more but none of that changes the basics of the answer above.  But that's different than the "ram caching" I think you are referring to Ravin (by which I *think* you are referring to your swap file, which windows already enforces to be housed in contiguous space).  But the simple answer is no, partitioning isn't the answer.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 5:21:16 AM   
junk2drive


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anvil, I have Norton Partition Magic but never used it when it required me to make a floppy and my drive wouldn't work. My newer computer doesn't even have a floppy drive. Has that changed?

I built the older one with an 80 gig drive partitioned roughly 10 40 30 with the intent of only having windows on C:. My wife has managed to get 9.5 megs on it and having problems. I cleared the last partition and deleted it but windows won't let me expand C:

Any ideas?

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 5:32:50 AM   
Zap


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quote:

ORIGINAL: junk2drive

anvil, I have Norton Partition Magic but never used it when it required me to make a floppy and my drive wouldn't work. My newer computer doesn't even have a floppy drive. Has that changed?

I built the older one with an 80 gig drive partitioned roughly 10 40 30 with the intent of only having windows on C:. My wife has managed to get 9.5 megs on it and having problems. I cleared the last partition and deleted it but windows won't let me expand C:

Any ideas?


If you still have use for a floppy drive>
My new computer does not have a floppy drive. I bought one at the store which plugs into the front of my computer. Your computer should have a port in the front which you connect your new floppy drive to. By the why , the drive is a little thicker than a CD case. The price of one is pretty reasonble. Maybe less than $60.00.
I have mine plugged into the computer; it sits neatly on top of my computer case.

< Message edited by Zap -- 10/21/2007 5:37:47 AM >


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 6:08:32 AM   
ravinhood


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So to reask my question can I still partition a place on this existing drive with the partition magic without having to reformat or use Fdisk?

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 6:46:20 AM   
wworld7


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You will never get away from having to DEFRAG. It is a task everyone should do once a month or so (depending upon your pc and usage).

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 7:44:20 AM   
jchastain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ravinhood

So to reask my question can I still partition a place on this existing drive with the partition magic without having to reformat or use Fdisk?


yes, but it will not help your fragmentation issue at all.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 9:01:57 AM   
anvl

 

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J2D,,My version of Partition Magic is before Norton bought it up.   So I cannot answer your question about what it is like now.. sorry.But I believe i have heard that it is still a very good program.. as for needing a floppy,,, perhaps their newest version uses there install dvd instead of a floppy, but i am not sure here.  Some of the newer utility type programs are doing this.  Or if you go to their website,, or message board,, someone I am sure will tell you how to make a bootable cd\dvd that will take the place of the old floppy boot disks...  I'm trying to remember,,but i do not think you need the floppy unless something goes wrong.. I think you set your changes, then reboot your computer and the partition changes take place.  I have never had any problems using Partition Magic,,  I have never had that kind of problem with Partition Magic,, are you using fdisk and having these problems?  do you mean your 10 gig partition is filled to 9.5 gig? beyond that, i would be over my head trying to help you without having your 'puter in front of me.  

ravenhood,, with my copy of Partition Magic,, you can add new,move,resize any partition without losing any of your present data.including your operating system.. It works with IDE hadrdrives,,and it works with SaTa drives as well,, so the answer to your question  "can I still partition a place on this existing drive with the partition magic without having to reformat or use Fdisk" is Yes,, you can

and you will still have to defrag your drive like was stated above,, but you won't have to do a 24 hour plus defrag if you use smaller partitions.  And your system will be more secure as well...


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 11:27:52 AM   
ravinhood


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Ok thanks I'll look for something like Partition Magic for I still want to partition my system memory to one partition area.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 6:36:13 PM   
junk2drive


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Thanks for the help guys.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 6:49:00 PM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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Storage is really cheap now, so I always partition mine. And apart from partitions for pure storage (rather than for the swap-file or OS and programs), I can't see creating a primary partition larger than 50-60GB. If you leave the remainder for an extended partition, you can create all the logical drives that you want to as described here:

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/d773121a-de0d-4795-b9aa-40a1202fae721033.mspx?mfr=true

You can also resize the logical drives as needed, so long as you've got sufficient room to move your archived stuff to an area that's not affected.

As to why files associated with a program become fragmented, and that's really the issue, the primary culprit is a lack of discipline on the part of the operator. Before a user installs a program, he/she should defragment the drive where the files will reside. Likewise, when a program is uninstalled, the drive needs to be defragmented again. Failure to follow this procedure will result in new program files being written to "gaps" between files associated with other programs. The practical result will be that the drive's "heads" will have to travel farther and work harder to seek and read the files associated with the fragmented application. Not only does this slow things down, it also causes unnecessary wear and tear on the drive itself. Regardless of whether or not I add or remove a program, I defragment my primary partition at least once a month.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/21/2007 7:48:01 PM   
Jevhaddah


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I always defrag my Hard Drive in Safe Mode by hiting F8 on bootup, Its stops all the background apps loading that interrupt the defrag.

Cheers

Jev

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/22/2007 4:38:51 AM   
Veldor


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It helps to buy a bigger hard drive. Otherwise all your programs and file data are fighting over the last scraps of space. Once thats full when you make more they just fight over that space. In addition defrags will take longer with a small amount of free space. If you have at least 30-40% or so free space your drive should defrag much more quickly in comparison to say 5% free.

Partitioning really isnt the answer, One larger pooled space is much more efficient than several smaller spaces. You will always get fragmentation as there are always files being added and deleted (Temporary internet files, whatever) that make for lots of holes.

Vista defrags automatically by default, assuming you leave your computer on.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/22/2007 5:49:20 AM   
cdbeck


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RH,

Don't put your page file on a seperate partition on a drive. This typically does not help, and can sometimes cause instability. I can't remember where I read this, but it was on one of the many Page File sites on the net.

Here is a good general overview of what the Page File is and how to get the most out of virtual memory:

The Eldergeek's Article on The Windows Page File

My advice would be to do this: If you have two drives (or more) simply move your page file to the other drive and completely defrag the drive the page file was originally placed. Once you do this, then you can move it back. The page file is often variable, so you will never completely avoid fragmentation (even with a partition on a drive). Another way to minimize fragmentation and maximize performance is to manually set the page file min and max to the same number (typically about 1.5X the amount of physical RAM on your system is recommended). Thus you just make both min and max at 1500 for a 1GB RAM system. This will mean that windows will not have to calculate the page file size when it needs more, speeding things up and typically never reaching your top limit.

I also like to have a very small page file on my primary drive (I put the page file on my storage drive, the one where files do not get as much accessing). This can help windows out by providing a small reserve. I usually only make this abou 2-50 megs.

Hope this helps. I would not repartition your drive, especially without a reformat. I know of too many people who had issues with this to advise it.

SoM


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/23/2007 3:55:06 PM   
Awac835


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quote:

ORIGINAL: flipperwasirish

You will never get away from having to DEFRAG. It is a task everyone should do once a month or so (depending upon your pc and usage).


I guess sometime soon, you should actualy be able to have it as part of the OS that do a continual defragging while the computer is on.

If the computer dont need the Harddrive IO and have the CPU cycles available it might as well put em to use.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/23/2007 4:34:35 PM   
sprior


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Awac835


quote:

ORIGINAL: flipperwasirish

You will never get away from having to DEFRAG. It is a task everyone should do once a month or so (depending upon your pc and usage).


I guess sometime soon, you should actualy be able to have it as part of the OS that do a continual defragging while the computer is on.

If the computer dont need the Harddrive IO and have the CPU cycles available it might as well put em to use.


There are many commercial products that do this. Have a look at diskeeper, a cut down version of which is in XP and Vista.


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 2:48:16 AM   
ravinhood


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Son_of_Montfort

RH,

Don't put your page file on a seperate partition on a drive. This typically does not help, and can sometimes cause instability. I can't remember where I read this, but it was on one of the many Page File sites on the net.

Here is a good general overview of what the Page File is and how to get the most out of virtual memory:

The Eldergeek's Article on The Windows Page File

My advice would be to do this: If you have two drives (or more) simply move your page file to the other drive and completely defrag the drive the page file was originally placed. Once you do this, then you can move it back. The page file is often variable, so you will never completely avoid fragmentation (even with a partition on a drive). Another way to minimize fragmentation and maximize performance is to manually set the page file min and max to the same number (typically about 1.5X the amount of physical RAM on your system is recommended). Thus you just make both min and max at 1500 for a 1GB RAM system. This will mean that windows will not have to calculate the page file size when it needs more, speeding things up and typically never reaching your top limit.

I also like to have a very small page file on my primary drive (I put the page file on my storage drive, the one where files do not get as much accessing). This can help windows out by providing a small reserve. I usually only make this abou 2-50 megs.

Hope this helps. I would not repartition your drive, especially without a reformat. I know of too many people who had issues with this to advise it.

SoM



That really doesn't make sense SoM because if you make just one partition you are putting your page file on ONE of the two anyways. lol So, it's either on the first partition or the second. So, I leave it on the first partition and put everything else on the 2nd or 3rd or 4th or umpteenth it would still be under the same principle that page file has to be somewhere all the time and a partition is going to separate it from other partitions.

And here's the real kicker of all this defragging. The damn files and game I wanted defragged is the ONLY ONE the defrag wouldn't defrag. Why? It's an online MMO Guild Wars 3.2gb and it's out there in rightfield undefragged all those red lines are together with some white lines inbetween here and there. I tried defragging 3 times after the initial defrag and this game/files/directory won't defrag....WHY WHY DAMMIT WHY? ;)

< Message edited by ravinhood -- 10/24/2007 2:52:08 AM >

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 2:58:59 AM   
cdbeck


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quote:

Do not place more than one paging file on multiple partitions on a single physical hard disk. Performance will decrease because the drive heads perform sequential accesses to different locations on the drive rather than pulling the information from one contiguous location.


From the elder geek. Do what you want with the drive, RH. In my experience, people that partitioned their hard drives run the risk of more system instability, as it adds an extra layer of complexity to your system that can break down. Your choice, just be forewarned.

I always assumed that the file would not defrag because it was installed on top of a fragmented area. Might be wrong, I have a few of those myself though. It is best, and recommended, that you defrag before installing any major piece of software (3.5 gigs is rather large, not in comparison, but large nonetheless). I would uninstall GW and defrag, then reinstall. Can't hurt.

SoM


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 3:10:51 AM   
ravinhood


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Lol this is an ONLINE GAME SoM....if I uninstall it you have no idea how many DAYS It would take to download all the updates again for TWO YEARS PLUS lol.

Also in your big letters I see what he's saying now, Do not put ANOTHER PAGE FILE on another partition of the SAME drive. I never intended to do that anyway. Just partition the drive and only have the PAGE FILE on the initial first portion of the drive the main drive like C: and then put games on drive D: (or partition D:) and put Demos on drive E: and then have drive F: for this and that an all things I rarely use but still use. I think it will work fine. I run a 3000 virtual memory page file at 3000 load all the time anyways for faster performance. I'm just going to make Drive C: only about 5g-7g (enough for page filing and windows only) and then the others according to the sizes of my other folders like 40g or 50g for games 20g for demos and 5g for temp files from internet with an 80gig hard drive that should suffice. Then the only deletions will come mostly in the demos file and maybe the game file from time to time and of course the temp files which get the most use I would expect because I have them delete when I log off of the internet (I hate junk remaining on my computer after I'm done on the internet). When you do a partition it does make another drive letter doesn't it? Or am I wrong in this picture in my head?

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 5:09:59 AM   
cdbeck


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Yes, RH... I do own Guild Wars and know it is an Online Game...

I have uninstalled it and reinstalled it several times. Unless you play on a dial-up connection, it should take about 10-30 min to get all the patching done (at least the last time I reinstalled, that was how long it takes).

Well, the elder geek comes through for us again. Actually, according to them, they say that creating a partition for the page file is an good idea (just don't put it over several different partitions on the same drive, as I said above). Here is the article to let you know the basics on how to do this best:

The Elder Geek - Partitioning Hard Drives in Windows XP

That being said, doing this incorrectly can cause problems. So you might be absolutely sure you know what you are doing.

SoM

< Message edited by Son_of_Montfort -- 10/24/2007 5:10:39 AM >


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 5:58:12 AM   
Jeffrey H.


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They get fragged because they don't care about the men they are supposed to lead and protect.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 8:57:17 AM   
ravinhood


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I play on a dialup connection SoM. ;) And yes I absolutely always know what I'm doing it's others who screw what I'm doing up most of the time. lol haha

< Message edited by ravinhood -- 10/24/2007 8:59:13 AM >

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 4:18:51 PM   
cdbeck


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ravinhood

I play on a dialup connection SoM. ;) And yes I absolutely always know what I'm doing it's others who screw what I'm doing up most of the time. lol haha


Wow... ever thought about entering the 21st century?

SoM

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 4:44:05 PM   
anvl

 

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I'm on dialup too,, some of us,, are not so fortunate as to have dsl avalable,,believe it or not.. and satelite is just too expensive for me  :(

anvil


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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 5:14:21 PM   
ravinhood


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Yeah what anvl said.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 5:15:57 PM   
SemperAugustus

 

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How big is your physical memory compared to the max page file size? I guess 1 GB for physical memory, but if the physical memory is less you might be wasting space on the page file.

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RE: How & Why do Hard Drives get so Fragged? - 10/24/2007 5:18:07 PM   
ravinhood


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Yeah it's 1 gig. I use the 2.5 times method for page file size. So 3000 is my cap on page file sizing. Works fine.

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