Defragging External Hard Drives

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by Joe S, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    If an external USB HD is used for just backups is it really necessary to defrag it? I mean backups of pics movies etc where you are basically adding files. I've got one that has got messed us a few times and I suspect it may be the defrag. It's a WD My Book Pro II 1T. It showed a message drive corrupt and files appeared to be missing but the free space didn't look right. Shutting down the drive unplugging it rebooting then plugging back in fixed it. I was Using JK Defrag at the time and wonder if that might have caused the trouble.
    Joe
     
  2. fugno

    fugno New Member

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    I don't think you would need to unless you delete and add a lot of things. I've checked mine with windows defrag and they've always looked good.
     
  3. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    Defraging can't do any harm but in my opinion, it would be useless. The only benefit of defragging is for faster R\W of the HDD. if all you do is backup to it, the gained speed by defragmenting it wouldn't be significant to you.
     
  4. OldTimer

    OldTimer Banned

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    If I'm reading it right.....that's a 1 Terabyte drive! Right?

    That's one HUGE drive! Do you have it partitioned and what type of Format are you using on it?

    I've tried several different brands of Defrag Programs over the years and almost every time I've wound up with a drive that was corrupt. Either DON'T defrag it at all, or use the built-in Windows Defrag. It's by far the safest, even if it's not the fastest.
    Unless you're saving files over 4 gigs in size, FAT-32 is the most versatile format for a data only drive. It can be read on any computer, with any OS, even DOS.

    Another way I've found to defrag a drive, even "C" is to make a backup "Partition to Image" file of the drive and then do a Restore of the image.
    I do that on my own C drive every week after I've done my weekly backup.
    The Restore rewrites the partition with the data from the image file, all in the order in which the files were originally read, (sequentially) with NO spaces between files and NO fragmentation.

    The result is a drive that looks something like this:
    [​IMG]

    Yes, this is my XP drive, formatted FAT-32. The blue area is the re-written data and the green is the new pagefile, written on the first boot after the Restore.

    Your mileage may varry, but my point is that the best way to defrag a data drive is to copy it to another drive or media and then (reformat is optional) copy the data back. It will be written in sequential order without spaces or fragmentation.
    We did that on the big mainframe computers years ago. It works great!

    I hope all this rambling has helped some. We Old Timers tend to do that sometimes.

    Happy Trails........

    Old Timer
     
  5. Nibiru2012

    Nibiru2012 New Member

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    You might consider using Raxco's PerfectDisk defragmentation software. I have been using it for seven years and never had any problems with it all, none.

    PerfectDisk® 11 has achieved Windows® 7 certification from Microsoft®. Microsoft’s certification programs are designed to ensure that third-party software applications operating on Windows 7 meet specific requirements for compatibility and reliability on Windows 7.

    You can download it and use it on a 30 day trial basis.

    Go to: PerfectDisk | Best Disk Defrag Software
     
  6. my2cents

    my2cents New Member

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    I have a collection of movies/pictures and music only, also on a 1 tb external drive of the same type...
    If you are using a program like anydvd/clonedvd, or any other to extract your collection to disk they come out extremely fragmented.
    (these are all purchased music/dvd's on a drive to run through a home network theater system ) My problem now seems to be that I cant get windows 7 to recognize its fragmented..
    I run defrag. under w7 and it takes about 60 seconds to say it is done and has 0 fragments... when I hooked my external to my machine that runs xp ... well it was about 60% freagmented and took 4 hours to properly defrag ...
    can anyone give an explanation for this?
     
    #6 my2cents, Sep 23, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  7. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I quit running any defrag on USB drives and the problem seems to be gone. I recently saw the defrag program I used it used to be JKDefrag and was then changed to MyDefrag could cause problems on external drives. I quit using it all together becaues it got extremely slow on any drive.
    Joe
     
  8. Athlonite

    Athlonite New Member

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    I use OnO defrag you can set it to check a drive for errors before Defraging starts an it does a great job on my external HDD's although one thing i have found is that the HDD can get very warm whilst defraging maybe that's what is happening to your's it's getting over heated
     
  9. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    You are getting quite a variety of answers here... Allow me to add to the confusion.

    I have an external 2tb drive in a sleeve that I use only for backups. So far it's only been actually read from twice as I had to restore one machine after formatting and another after a drive failure.

    Defragmentation is not all that important on a backup drive unless you are using it for routine read access of large files.

    I do defragment mine from time to time. I use a product called "Defraggler" which very nicely recognizes and cleans up the drive.

    Defraggler - File and Disk Defragmentation - Free Download

    You should note that if you are using NTFS on that drive (recommended) but it was formatted on a different machine you may need to "Take Ownership" of the drive... See the tutorials section of these forums for instructions.
     

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