Defrag for dollars, urge experts

Hard drive defragmentation can help your company keep costs down and defer expensive hardware upgrades in Windows NT and 2000 environments.

Fragmented files require extra head movement in reading, so they take significantly longer to access than normal, according to Disk Defragmentation: Hidden Gold for the Enterprise, a study by Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. But use of defragmentation software can help avoid system delays and unresponsiveness that translate into lost productivity and frustration.

IDC’s study and previous studies by National Software Testing Laboratories, an independent hardware and software testing organization based in Conshohocken, Pa., show that a defragmented disk can increase overall system performance from 20 per cent to 80 per cent under Windows NT, with even greater savings on Windows 2000.

Some popular tools include Diskeeper from Executive Software International Inc. and PerfectDisk 2000 from Raxco Software Inc. Vadim Eijvertine, an assistant vice-president in the security division of New York City-based Citibank, says everyone in his division has begun using Diskeeper with significant system improvements.

“Before we started defragmenting regularly, the computers would hang up often; some would hang indefinitely on certain applications,” he says. “Now my computer responds about 20 per cent faster and lets me keep more windows open at the same time without hanging up.”

Defragmenting costs significantly less than prematurely upgrading hardware. For 1,000 workstations and 10 servers, hardware upgrades would cost US$3.2 million; the cost of defragmentation software plus associated IT labour is just US$27,710, according to the IDC study.