The Importance of Defragmenting your Hard Drive


Over the course of time, normal server and application operations can fragment data written on a drive, especially if the hard disk (or partition) is formatted with the FAT file system. Severe fragmentation dramatically slows overall system performance on FAT file systems.

While NTFS is a much more efficient file system and not subject to the same fragmentation as FAT, there is some indication that over time the NTFS Master File Table is also affected by fragmentation. The Master File Table is a control file used to keep track of the file system.


Windows XP and 2003 provide a native defrag utility that may be used to accomplish this task. To help maintain system performance, defragmentation of the file system on the Windows Serverís hard drive should be performed regularly. This provides greater contiguous free space that can be utilized more efficiently by the operating system. Again, this is especially pertinent to systems using FAT.


Unlike Windows 2003 the Windows 2000 operating system did not feature a native defrag utility program. Because of this, many Windows users have not evaluated the condition of their server hard disks and are unaware that fragmentation is slowing performance!


To test the effectiveness of defragmenting, we have utilized a third party defrag utility called Disk Keeper, developed by Executive Software. Products such as this provide analysis of the Windows Server hard drive and perform the defragmentation operation.


After defragmenting the hard drives on several of our test machines that are using the FAT file system, we saw a noticeable improvement in overall server operations. This increased efficiency has had a direct positive effect on the performance of InveStore for Windows.


We recommend that you try this on your system. For more information and a free copy of Disk Keeper Light, visit Executive Software's web site at