Defragment early and often with large files
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Defragmentation is somewhat controversial with Windows NT Server users. Although rearranging the disk to keep all the sectors of the same files together should speed up access and make more efficient use of space, some people feel that on a multi-user system like NT server defragmentation's benefits are limited because having many users accessing different files at more or less the same time tends to randomize access anyway. With modern controllers and access algorithm, the argument goes, defragmentation's benefits are limited.
However for Northern Oklahoma College's (Tonkawa, OK) (www.mmdclab.com) multi-media lab, the issue is clear-cut. Defrag early and often is the policy there. "Get a solid defragmentation program and implementation strategy," advises Piyush Patel, director of multimedia and digital communications at the school.
Defragmention is particularly important in an environment like NOC's multi-media lab. Although the system is multi-user, the files are very large, often hundreds of megabytes and more. Large files benefit from defragmentation because they represent a lot of data that is read sequentially. In NOC's application, Patel says, "you end up with garbage on the hard disks if you don't constantly defrag."
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
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