Each year, the computer industry improves the capacity of hard drives. But with each year, as technology becomes more demanding, file size increase and the number of files needed to run a program increase. The industry gets demanding too. The amount of programs needed to work, especially in graphics, also increase.
The result is a clogged drive. Sure you can always upgrade. Or even buy a new one. But people with a limited budget cannot always do that.
What most people with a small budget (this also goes for home computers) do is burn some files into a DVD or CD. Then they erase the copy on the hard drive. This ultimately solves the low disk space problem.
However, doing this too often without maintenance creates another problem – drive fragmentation.
Files in a hard drive are stored in tracks, sectors and cylinders. They are like books in a book shelf. But how the files are arranged is a lot more complicated. They are not arranged the way you see them in your computer. They are placed in a drive more differently.
Using the book shelf analogy, consider a blank drive to be an empty library. When you first place in books the library would be in complete and absolute order. This is when you first install your operating system. Adding more books and finding them is very easy. It takes little time to find what you need.
The problem begins when people starts using your library. Books get misplaced. The order is disturbed. The same goes for files in a hard drive.
When a drive is nearly full (meaning less than 15% of free space), files are placed here and there. The files that are used together are placed away from each other. This makes it harder for your computer to load a program. Hence, there is a longer reading time.
Or the worse can happen, when you place a large file in a drive and there isn’t any chunk of free space it could completely fit into, your computer “cuts” or more accurately termed fragments the file.
Do this a couple of hundred or more times without erasing something then you get a fragmented drive.
Reading a fragmented file is like reading a book in a library where each chapter is scattered throughout the library shelves. It takes a lot more time to get the entire book than if it was not fragmented. This is what your computer experiences when it is fragmented.
To fix this problem, defragment your hard drive. This does not only speed up the access time of your drive, it also frees up some space. The extra space consumed is used by the extra information placed in each fragment that identifies the location of the next fragment.
Defragment occasionally to prevent this from happening. Also scan for errors after each defragmenting session.