About Windows Disk Defrag

What is formatting the hard disk?

When a hard disk is being formatted, it is separated into smaller sectors and into partitions that are different from each other. This is done using the read head to create an electronic separation between adjacent parts of the substrate, which is what the hard disk consists of.

When data is written onto the storage medium, it is not as a continuous structure but as fragments that exist on the disk in various sectors and tracks. So consequently, when data is to be accessed by the head, the reader is guided to the different sectors of the disk by design.

Each end of a fragment would have the address of the memory space where the next continuous part of the data is stored.

Advantages of formatting the hard drive

Security: It must be said that a formatted hard drive makes it possible to have a more secure operating environment for the system. By cutting the disk to different sectors and sections, any breach of a section would be restricted to the section alone and not to the whole drive as such.

Access: Compared to the whole hard drive, the partitions are much smaller in size. Thus, access becomes much easier to achieve, and hence the reading of data becomes more systematic and organized too.

Speed: The speed of loading of data from the hard drive is improved with the formatted drive. As the present drives come with a high speed of operation, it becomes fast-paced access of data most of the time instead.

Bad sectors: It is inevitable as the use of the hard drive increases, the chances of bad sectors forming on the material are more. With a formatted drive, it becomes possible to remove the bad sectors from active use and utilize just the working parts of the drive.

Life: The formatted hard disk has a higher working life as compared to the non-formatted use of the hard disk. One of the main reasons is that unless formatted, the bad sectors cannot be isolated from use, which renders the whole disk unusable.

Disk Sectors

As explained earlier, the hard disk is split into smaller sectors. When data is written onto the disk, the drive reads the next available sector to write onto it. That does not mean that the writing part is completed in one go. At a subsequent attempt, the data might need to be split into two or more sectors that need to be fitted in at different parts of the drive.

When reading the data at a subsequent time, the head of the drive does a hop and skip routine to read the different sections of the data. When most of the hard disk is written onto, this skip routine tends to take up more time than ordinarily permissible.

De-fragmentation is the organization of the disk space into as continuous as a matter as possible. This is done by rearranging the data to continuous block through the action of disk de-fragmentation.

Advantages of disk de-fragmentation

  • Speed: The single most advantage that disk de-fragmentation has is that the speeds of data acquisition improve tremendously. It has to do with the fact that there is less of a jump around of the sectors to be done.
  • Cleans up the disk: It is advisable to perform the disk de-fragmentation from time to time, as it helps identify the bad sectors to the system. It allows for a longer useful life to the hard disk as far as possible.
  • Smoother functioning of the system: A system that is kept de-fragmented frequently, happens to be able to function much smoother as compared to otherwise.

Disk de-fragmentation in Windows 10

The early versions of the Windows operating system had a disk de-fragmenter that needed to be initialized from time to time to clean up effectively. But with Windos 10, it has become more of a background process that is performed continuously. But it must be kept in mind that as long as magnetic storage devices are used in computers, the need to de-fragment the system does arise at some point or the other.

Paul has more than 10 years of experience within the digital realm. He loves to talk about his ‘HOT’ girlfriend and when it comes to geeky boring topics, and nerdy technical issues he’s a magic man. Paul also enjoys reading and solving complex puzzles. "Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you" -Edward W. Bok 1929