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Computer Tip – Defrag Daily

When I first heard of “Defraggler”, I first thought of ‘Fraggle Rock’ the TV program for kids.  But as it was spoken of in the context of a conversation about optimising the performance of my computer, I knew it had to be about ‘defragging’.

Now, if you don’t use your computer for much more than surfing the internet and a few Word documents, then you probably won’t have the same issue as someone like me.  Being a professional, and having owned various digital cameras over the last 11 years, the vast majority of the hard disk in my desk top computer is filled with various picture and photoshop  files.  Actually, I like to do a bit of digital scrapbooking too, so that burns up a bit of space too.  And eventually the computer slows down too, really slow. It’s painful.

What is ‘defraging’?

Now have you ever thought about how your picture files are written to the disk?  Image for a moment that your disk is a filing cabinet.  When you first get the filing cabinet it’s empty.  You put a few of your files from your old filing cabinet into top of your new filing cabinet, and then as you create new files, you put them one next to the other.  Now if you want to add some extra pages to a file, you just squeeze it in, and if you do that enough times you might have to move one of the files.  BUT you can’t do that with a computer!  You can’t just squeeze a bit more info in and bump another file out if there’s not enough room.  What happens instead, is some of the new info is written somewhere else.  Now the computer keeps an index, so it knows where the little fragments of information are.  But trying to access and load that infomation so that the computer can use it takes time.  And this can be one of the causes of computer’s running slowly.

Which is where I now introduce you to a process called ‘defragging’ as it’s most often called.  It shuffles around your computer files so that the fragments can be all brought together and run more efficietly.  I’ve been defragging my computer for years using the program that comes with Windows.  I had it set to run automatically in the background everyday and presumed it was doing the job.

Introducing Defraggler

But some months back I was introduced to “Defraggler” and told it would do a better job.  Well, it did a fabulous job! 

Let me explain how I can tell it did a fabulous job.  I had been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as my main method of sorting and editing my picture files and while it’s a fairly light program to run, it can get pretty slow trying to switch from one folder to another, and sometimes from one file to another while the computer is reading the index and trying to find the information that I want to access.  This is because all the edits made to a photo in Lightrom are ‘virtual edits’ that are recorded in a data base.  And that data base was getting really huge even after just 4 or 5 months of use.  Now remember I was ‘defragging’ every day, so the files should have been all neatly reorganised everyday.  But it wasn’t!  The first time I ran Defraggler I just sat and watched it’s ‘on screen performance’  which listed the files that were fragmented and how many fragments it was in.   There were a lot of files that were still in fragments and the Lightroom database was the biggest and in the most bits.  Lightroom now runs so much better!

It can take quite a long time to run it the first time (I ran mine overnight), so you’ve got options, like just defragging the files you select.  And if you set it to run automatically in the background every day (Settings>Options>Schedule), it’ll take less time to run and you keep your computer in tip top condition!

The best bit is – it’s donation ware.  Meaning it’s free to download and use it.  But if you do donate something in appreciation for all their efforts, they’ll keep working on improving the program.

So I’d recommend giving Defraggler a go.  Let me know how it goes.