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Chapter 3. Preparing Your Computer and Material > Defragmenting Your Hard Drive

Defragmenting Your Hard Drive

Defragmenting is an easy step that you can take that will boost performance on any PC—and it can help eliminate DVD recording errors on older computers!

What is fragmentation, and why is it a problem? To answer those questions, you'll have to return to the days when you first began using your computer's hard drive. At that time, files were written contiguously (all in the same area and unbroken from beginning to end). As your drive stored more data, however, Windows started to save new files in the space freed when you deleted other files: Larger files can no longer be saved contiguously. Instead, a larger file is broken up into smaller pieces that fit into those “holes” left by deleted files, and it is saved in pieces (or segments) on your drive. The segment locations are saved, so your drive knows where all the parts of a particular file are stored. When a program wants to read that file, Windows and your drive's controller work together automatically to combine all the smaller segments of the file back into their original order; then Windows sends the restored file to the program.


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