Data fragmentation occurs when bits belonging to the same file cannot be saved together on a hard drive. While that is often not that much of a problem, as it does not really matter if an image file gets loaded in 0.1 ms or 0.2 ms, it can become one for real-time applications like computer games.
Maps may load slower than they should, you may experience lag when the game needs to load additional contents while you are playing, and the overall experience may be reduced because of this.
Defragmentation is the process of moving the data that belongs to individual files next to each other so that they can be loaded faster.
Smart Defrag 3 has just been released. It is a popular disk defragmentation software for the Windows operating system that can be used to analyze and defragment hard drives manually or automatically.
One of the new features of version 3 of Smart Defrag is the ability to defragment Windows 8 apps. While most apps and games are rather small in size, some exceed 100 Megabytes and more.
That's however not the only change in this version. Other changes include memory and system resource optimizations, a new deep analyze feature that will detect and remove temporary files and other unneeded files before the defragmentation process to speed it up, and a new disk defrag engine that improves defragmentation speed by up to 50% according to IObit.
First thing you may want to do after installation is to analyze hard drives. The program selects platter-based hard drives by default for that process but not Solid State Drives.
You see all of the drives connected to the PC you run the software on at the top of the screen. The volume, free and total size, and the file system are displayed here.
Next to that are switches to enable or disable automatic defrag and boot time defrag for each drive individually.
The analysis itself does not take long and a report is generated in the end. It informs you about the fragmentation status of the drive (in percent), and gives you a recommendation what you should do next.
The recommendation suggests to run one of the defrag options that Smart Defrag ships with. This ranges from pure defragmentation to various optimization options on top of that.
- Defrag Only - will defragment the hard drive.
- Defrag and Fast Optimize - Will defrag files and optimize file organization on the disk.
- Defrag and Fully Optimize - Will do the same but in-depth.
- Defrag and Prioritize Files - Will take the longest time. Prioritizes data for maximum performance and data contiguity.
The estimated remaining time and the number of fragments are displayed during the operation. Here you also see a visual representation of the data on disk that you can use to follow the process.
Besides manual defragmentation, you can also enable boot defragmentation for drives which can be used to defragment files that cannot be defragmented while Windows is running, and automatic defrag, which will defragment the drive whenever the system is idle and file fragmentation is noticed.
As far as other options go: you can configure the Disk Cleanup part (the deletion of temporary files before defragmentation) in the options. This includes an option to delete those files securely. Smart Defrag 3 supports an exclude list that you can fill with files or folders that you want excluded from the defragmentation process, a preference that defines when to start auto defragmentation (when it exceeds 1%) and options to skip larger files.
If you are a user of Smart Defrag, then it is a no-brainer to update to the newest version of the program right away. It uses less resources and memory while running, and a couple of other new features that may be interesting.