Defragmentation, the universal answer
For almost any hardware related problem you can be sure that the suggestion to defragment comes up. It almost seems like something sacred, even though I suppose this is only true for people who have used FAT12/16/32. The problem is just that I don't see how defragmentation would solve problems not related to loading or storing files quickly.
As I see it there could be three main areas of problems originating from data fragmentation:
1) The harddrive fails to handle loading data from different locations on the drive, causing it to return corrupted data. This seems rather unlikely in general.
2) The filesystem driver fails to handle fragmentation properly, meaning that it returns corrupted data or that it causes instability in some other way. This is more likely, even though I think the driver should be rather stable after all these years.
3) The slowness caused by fragmentation results in crashes in applications. I don't really see how this could be the case, even though I suppose it could happen.
Does anyone who suggest defragmentation as an answer know the reason why it would solve problems (other than the problem of files loading slowly)?
My universal answer is always to reinstall Windows - or some other operating system if possible. Maybe it's just defragmentation in disguise ;-).
Hey, a good defrag never hurts. Can you imagine any problem that could possibly be made worse by a defragmentation? And if you've got a big drive, it gives you plenty of time to sit there and think about what else could be causing the problem.
Suggesting defrag is like saying, "I have no idea how to help, but I hope that never happens to my computer."
Defragmentation is the suggestion for software problems you can't figure out. For hardware it's: Buy a better power supply.
Defragmentation is never the answer. But before a defrag runs, an integrity check is run to ensure there aren't any scrmabled sectors. I suspect that this is what really fixes the problem when a defrag is "succesful" at clearing the problem.
Disk fragmentation is purely a speed optimisation issue and should not cause any symptoms other than poor performance.
"Disk fragmentation is purely a speed optimisation issue and should not cause any symptoms other than poor performance."
.. correct... if your system is starting to run slower than usual. a good defrag helps. .then check to see what pov spyware is running in the background.
I think there's a secret tech support code whereby you always suggest a defrag just because people never want to do them otherwise, when it's just good housekeeping. That said i always associate a defrag with a scandisk run as well, which can catch subtle problems caused by bad sectors.