De­frag­ging is un­nec­es­sary

Mac Format - - MAC SOS -

Q I have a Mac Pro that is a few years old now and still mostly go­ing strong but I feel like it’s start­ing to show its age now and I won­der if a de­frag­ging util­ity like Drive Ge­nius 4 might help re­store some of its orig­i­nal speed. I mostly use my Mac for mu­sic pro­duc­tion and I have two 500GB drives. The startup disk is quite full now but there is still plenty of space on the other one for now. Gary Bick­nell

A Disk frag­men­ta­tion hap­pens when files get split into sev­eral chunks to tuck them into the lit­tle pock­ets of free space left be­hind when other, smaller files were deleted. As your drive fills up, the avail­able free space can end up iso­lated in thou­sands of lit­tle bub­bles, so all your files get scat­tered to the four winds and it takes much longer to read and write them.

That’s the the­ory any­way. In prac­tice, you can com­pletely ig­nore disk frag­men­ta­tion. OS X al­ready uses sev­eral strate­gies to min­imise frag­men­ta­tion oc­cur­ring in the first place, and will au­to­mat­i­cally de­frag­ment the most com­monly used files on the startup disk. It’s true that this be­comes much less ef­fec­tive on drives that are al­most full, but the best way to fix that is to up­grade to a larger disk, not de­frag­ment the one you have. A 1TB in­ter­nal hard disk costs less than £45 and will take ten min­utes to in­stall in your Mac Pro. This is cheaper than Drive Ge­nius, and a good deal more ef­fec­tive.

Don’t bother de­frag­ging your hard disk. Just up­grade it.

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