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Disk Defragmenter

When an operating system stores data on a hard disk, it places that information in the first available "hole" it can find that isn't already occupied by another file. If the disk already contains several other files, however, that location might not be large enough for the complete file. When this happens, the operating system places as much of the file as it can in the space available and then searches for another open hole for the balance of the file. This process continues until the entire file has been written to disk. Any files not written to a contiguous disk location are considered "fragmented."

The problem with fragmentation is that it slows down the rate at which your hard disk can retrieve information and supply it to the requesting program. Hard disks remain largely mechanical devices and are governed by the laws of physics. To access files stored on a disk, the drive must physically move a small arm to the correct location on a spinning platter. These movements are measured in milliseconds, but milliseconds add up, especially when a file is spread over a hundred unique locations.


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