Defragmentation in Mac OS X

By | July 8, 2016

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One of the first reactions to your system acting slow is to defragment your hard disk. If you ask Windows users, they will tell you that they have done it for years (about once a month is recommend) so that’s what comes naturally.

Regarding Mac users wanting to defragment their hard disk but not being able to find it even after searching in the Disk Utility shouldn’t be concerned

 

It is normal to be concerned about your disk fragmentation because performance will suffer as a result, however, Apple not providing a defragmentation tool is not an oversight because any version of OS X later than 10.2 can automatically manage defragmentation by preventing file fragmentation in the first place by doing the following
  • The file system looks for the largest free areas on the hard disk to allow large file to be located without being divided (fragmented)
  • Small files will be collected into a group and will be moved to a larger area on the hard disk, the process of moving these files will defragment them because of the previous point that writing files will be as defragmented as possible
  • When a file is frequently accessed but not modified, they will be moved to a special area on the hard disk which has the fastest access (again the process of moving these files will automatically defragment them)
  • When a file has become exceedingly fragmented, the operating system will defragment it on the spot
With all these factors at play it seem pointless to manually defragment your hard disk (to me it is actually a waste of time), however, there is one exception that weakens the operating system’s ability to manage its own fragmentation and that is when the amount of free space on the hard disk is less than 10 percent. A simple remedy to the problem is copying the data to another hard disk, wiping the fragmented drive, then copy the files back (single writing new data will always be unfragmented)
If you are really desperate for manually defragmenting your hard disk, you can use a third party tool like Mac tool like Stellar defrag drive
You may also refer to http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375 for more information
Do YOU defragment your Mac hard drive? If so, what tools do you use? Where they useful or just a waste of time?
Feel free to leave comments stating your experience with disk fragmentation

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