: Defragmenting and disk clean up?


Sitting Bull
Apr 25th, 2008, 09:49 PM
I am still trying to get around on my new Mac, and was wandering if my Mac has something similar to what I used to use on my Windows machine called disk clean up and defragmenting.
Thanks
S.B

Adrian.
Apr 25th, 2008, 09:56 PM
Built into Leopard something similar to defragmenting occurs behind the scenes and automatically. Mac doesn't work the same way as windows and is not so dependent and consistent defragmenting. There is a programme called iDefrag. It costs about 35 bucks and does what its name suggests. Although, it is not entirely necessary. A free app such as mainmenu or onyx should do the trick. I have had the same mac for 3 years and have never defragmented it and it still runs perfectly fine.

Sitting Bull
Apr 25th, 2008, 10:02 PM
Unbelievable
Why didn't windows ever figure something like that out?
So I guess I just don't worry and enjoy.
Thanks

fjnmusic
Apr 25th, 2008, 10:24 PM
I know it's hard to accept, but it's true. I installed Virus Barrier one time thinking I was doing a good thing. Led to all kinds of problems down the road, and I had to get some advice on this here forum about how to undo the damage. Apple just seems to figure most of this stuff out so you don't have to.

MacDoc
Apr 25th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Sure - :rolleyes:

THIS is the drive I'm currently cleaning up

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Neilfragment.png

this is what a properly optimized and defragged drives should look like.

And the speed gains are very noticeable.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture1-3.png

While individual files are handles reasonably well in X - it does nothing to keep file structures together and when the heads have to hunt all over for associated files there is a noticeable drop in performance.

This is a 750 gig drive and the red both above and below are fragmented files about 3/4s way through the 4 hours optimization.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture4-6.png

eMacMan
Apr 26th, 2008, 01:25 AM
In Tiger & Leopard power users may benefit from defragging. Normal users will find it much faster and cheaper to Clone to an external, then boot from the external and clone back. Other chores; use Onyx to delete/rebuild the spotlight database from your various HD volumes. You can also use Onyx optimize the system.

Occasionally run the periodic commands from terminal. Repair permissions before and after installing system updates. Again Onyx can clear caches and delete archived logs. Unless you are a total geek you will never need to access those logs anyways.

I am once again running Tiger, every once in a while, from an external drive. Love it with spotlight & dashboard disabled but that is not for most users as the GUI search features are also disabled.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 04:37 AM
Cloning on and back.........That works in Tiger does not work in Leopard due to changes in the file structure - one reason that it took so long for SuperDuper to come out.

Same drive after optimization and defragging..this is a cheap speed bump for anyone.
Once a month seems to do the trick.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture5-3.png

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture6-8.png

chas_m
Apr 26th, 2008, 05:41 AM
While serious users may find some speed benefit to defragging, Mac OS X's default handling is actually ideally tuned for UNIX systems and should generally be left alone. MacDoc overreacts -- there's no harm whatsoever in a small amount of fragmentation. Today's discs are so densely packed that the "extra work" of gathering a fragmented file can't even be measured in milliseconds anymore.

Apple's tech note about this explains it beautifully:
About disk optimization with Mac OS X (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=25668)

Let me make this as clear as I know how to: if you are a typical user, you do not need to defrag your drive. AT ALL.

Because I am a more advanced user AND often work with really large files, I myself DO periodically do the "clone, erase and clone back" method (roughly twice a year). This seems to work exceptionally well and keeps the system running smoothly.

Sitting Bull asked about "disk clean up" as well as defragmenting, and yet only Adrian attempted to actually answer the man's full question directly. I second his mention of OnyX as an excellent FREE tool for the sort of "disk clean up" you're looking for. There are some alternatives to OnyX that are excellent as well, and almost all are either free or very low cost.

Bottom line: it's still important to do some maintenance, even on a Mac, to get the best results -- but it's soooooo much less work than you have to do on a PC!

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:20 AM
You've clearly bought into the myth and are not understanding the nature of the problem.

You acknowledge it yet minimize its importance - and BTW it does NOT work in Leopard.

I myself DO periodically do the "clone, erase and clone back" method (roughly twice a year). This seems to work exceptionally well and keeps the system running smoothly.

"Exceptionally well" ....yet you don't think it's "usefull" :rolleyes:
and you are not optimizing at all - only defragging and consolidating free space ( both are useful, neither optimal ).

This is the real underlying problem.

Not one of my 12 gigs of Mail messages may be fragmented INDIVIDUALLY - yet they may be scattered all over the drive surface.
Every time I load Mail the entire structure has to accessed or be quickly accessible if I click on a previous Mailbox.
The same applies for any programs like iPhoto where thousands of files ( including thumbnails ) may be scattered all over the drive space as the volume of items increases over time ). So you go to access a folder and you wait.

When they are optimized, they are clustered in hotzones so they are adjacent and response is very quick. X does NOT optimize and quite frankly the level of actual fragmentation is far higher than one might think as can be seen by the amount of red.
All you have to do is look at the difference in performance between contiguous access read/write tests and random on any drive test.
Multiply that by thousands of scattered files.

Some of the files that are most often actually fragmented are the likes of the Spotlight Index - in this users case 36 fragments scattered over the drive. That is one reason many of the utility apps recommended a Spotlight index rebuild...and again it shows.

When large files are copied the transfer works smoothly and fast taking advantage of the raw speed of modern drives, when hundreds of thousands of small files are scattered all over the drive surface instead of optimally in the fastest portion of drive and adjacent to the rest of the same structure it slows way down.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture4-6.png

See that read cluster to the right - that's parked in the very slowest part of the drive and is a mash of fragmented bits.

NOW - all the free space is clear and nothing is parked in the slowest portion of the drive ( up to 40% slower )

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture6-8.png

I see and hear dozens of drives everyday and you can tell simply by how hard the drive is working ( head chatter ) how poor the optimal structure is.

If your theory that the gathering of files was instanteous and unmeasureable tell me why it takes hours to optimize??

It's nowhere close to instantaneous and there ARE easily perceived and beneficial aspects not the least of which is wear on the drive head mechanism.

We pay many dollars for "faster computers" when in fact one of the major bottlenecks is in the drive as few users take advantage of the processing speed but all users are affected by drive bottlenecks.

Tell me - why do you think X parked all those files in the slowest part of the drive far over to the right?

•••

RAM is far faster response and smaller space than a hard drive. Yet it too fragments and the results are very easily noted and it can be cured by a reboot - unfortunately a reboot does not address the problem in hard drives.

iFreeMem 2.0: when you just don't feel like rebooting

Posted Feb 21st 2008 10:00AM by Brett Terpstra
Filed under: Software

As good as OS X memory management may be, if you run your system for long periods of time without shutting down you'll likely see an increasing number of spinning beach balls as your uptime counter ticks away. When applications quit – especially big, memory-hungry applications – they often leave your RAM fragmented and unavailable to subsequently launched apps. The solution is generally a reboot, but if you're looking for something a little friendlier and less time-consuming, iFreeMem is a superb solution. The utility was just updated to version 2.0 with full Leopard support.

I'm a long-time user of iFreeMem. On my MacBook Pro with 3 GB of RAM, it can generally clear up about 800 MB (sometimes more) after I quit a long session in apps like Photoshop and Motion. And it's rescued me on numerous occasions where I've found myself with three or four MB free and everything starts slowing to a crawl. I just loaded version 2 and it's faster and more efficient than ever. Good stuff.
Activata (http://www.activata.co.uk/ifreemem/)

rgray
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:54 AM
Sure - :rolleyes:

THIS is the drive I'm currently cleaning up

,,,,,,,,

And the speed gains are very noticeable.]

Perhaps I just missed it, but what program are you illustrating here?

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 07:21 AM
iDefrag and Drive Genius are both shown.

Drive Genius does an okay job but nothing compared to iDefrag which is a one trick pony.....and does that one trick exceptionally well.

Drive Genius ( also excellent ) is a swiss army knife - it's best feature is scanning for bad blocks which everyone should do on any drive more than a year old.

I was recovering a an 18 month old iMac and noticed the recovery was slowing ( slow read ).
Scanned - 23 bad blocks nassssty. Applecare replaced it for him.

I would say anyone with a Powerbook with an original drive is risking much not replacing it.
We see about 50% with bad blocks.

This is DG
http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Neilfragment.png

good to get a sense of how scattered file structure is - I've seen it look like spilled salt and pepper with as low as 40k contiguous freespace. :eek:

This a DG pic of my drive recently cloned - you can see it still has scattering - so cloning in Leopard really does not help anymore. MAYBE it does defrag.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture9-1.png

It was part way through - I was just running DG to see how long it took after a clone.

I'm doing a CCC clone as well to see if there is any difference. ( needed a second clone anyway so it's a useful exercise )

I'll analyse the clone for fragmentation once it's done. I suspect there will be none but the scattering will remain.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 09:13 AM
Interesting I did a Superduper clone and the fragmentation and scattering was carried across.

CCC 3.1 tho actually cleaned it up and show no fragmentation and good free space.

Nice surprise - and cheap thrills again..

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture10-1.png

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture11-5.png

Pretty fine reason to use CCC.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Yes sorry - will change that

eMacMan
Apr 26th, 2008, 10:54 AM
Was using CCC with Tiger as it seemed to be a lot faster than SD. I think Mac Doc has hit on the reason.

SoyMac
Apr 26th, 2008, 11:06 AM
iDefrag - 30 dollars to defrag my HD?! :(

Drive Genius - ONE HUNDRED dollars to defrag my friggin' hard drive?!!!! :eek:

Isn't there a way to defrag using something built in to the Apple OS?

Sitting Bull
Apr 26th, 2008, 11:48 AM
So according to Adrian, My iMac is doing some of it behind the scenes. That's great to hear. So as a very basic home user this is something that I should not really worry about. But, does leopard have a utility that would allow me to do some basic maintenance?
Great responses guy's I sure am learning lots from you guy's, only problem is Either I do not know the terminology or I can't remember what you said:D
Thats OK. I will eventually catch on.
Thanks and have a great day.
S.B.

Vandave
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:06 PM
So according to Adrian, My iMac is doing some of it behind the scenes. That's great to hear. So as a very basic home user this is something that I should not really worry about. But, does leopard have a utility that would allow me to do some basic maintenance?
Great responses guy's I sure am learning lots from you guy's, only problem is Either I do not know the terminology or I can't remember what you said:D
Thats OK. I will eventually catch on.
Thanks and have a great day.
S.B.

Onyx is good for a basic utility and it's free.

Titanium Software (http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs/english.html)

Adrian.
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:13 PM
I think still maintain that defragmenting is for pro users. If you are just surfing, typing a bit and playing around with iLife then repair then rebuilding and repairing permissions is good enough.

MacDoc has a 700 gb HD. I am going to assume that he is doing some heavy use.

I do use iFreemem though and it does improve performance.

chas_m
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:16 PM
What Adrian said.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:21 PM
Then don't complain if you machine feels slow...you know the reason now.

CCC is free. Really hard work to clone off then back on. :rolleyes:

Drive Genius is multipurpose - not just for defrag - that's only one aspect and it's good value for money.
Onyx is brilliant and should be used regularly.

For most users iDefrag will be better than moving up to faster machine.

But of course what you don't know will never hurt you :D

zlinger
Apr 26th, 2008, 12:56 PM
I use iDefrag on a MacBook Air and Mac Mini. It does wonders with ensuring top performance (before and after the initial defragmentation made a huge difference).

In a year or so, I will replace the drive on the laptop at least with a SSD drive. Then no need to defragment since it is a non issue with the new technology. Spinning hard disk drives suck.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 01:09 PM
How sure are you on the SSD not being subject to fragmentation.
That would not be my understanding.

If RAM fragments - any storage will.

kps
Apr 26th, 2008, 01:21 PM
What ever happened to DiskWarrior? At one time it was the most touted disk utility for the Mac for optimization?

I haven't done any disk maintenance since I got my G5, but the 250GB drive is now almost totally full and I'm concerned about corruption and fragmentation.

Recommendations?

EvanPitts
Apr 26th, 2008, 01:39 PM
How sure are you on the SSD not being subject to fragmentation. That would not be my understanding.

SSD uses the same file mount as if it was a hard drive, however SSD access is slower so fragmentation is even more of a problem. Also, SSD drives are not entirely "random access" like hardd rives are, but rather, they circulate the data in each "track" in a similar way to the old bubble memory did. SSDs are more prone to poor performance when fragmented than hard drives.

Modern hard drives are extremely quick, so any "slow down" is more than likely due to some other problem with the system. Unix based file mounts do not have inherent error checking, they rely on the hardware. Various events can lead to inconsistencies within the file mount: actual hard failures, incorrect unmounting, unpurged caches when writing... All of these will be solved with fsck, and potentially a defragmenting utility.

The difference between Unix based mounts and Windoze is the strategy of writing the files into blank areas: Unix uses a "best fit into empty space" method; while Windoze uses a "fit into the first available space" method. Hence, Unix systems will tend to spread files out over the drive, while Windoze will jamb them all at the beginning...

zlinger
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:12 PM
How sure are you on the SSD not being subject to fragmentation.
That would not be my understanding.

If RAM fragments - any storage will.

To clarify, what I meant is that fragmentation is not an issue with SSD since it is solid state with no moving parts. Performance can actually increase during random read/writes.

But yes, fragmentation still does occur. But this is really nullified due to the new technology.

eMacMan
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:34 PM
One file that gets really badly fragmented is the spotlight database as it is constantly being updated. As mentioned earlier you can delete this using OnyX.

For those comfortable with Terminal, the command is:

sudo mdutil -E /mydrivename

After typing the -E just drag your HD icon onto terminal and it will write the correct name. You will be asked for your password. After the database is deleted spotlight will take awhile to rebuild it but you will have a fresh optimized index.

Either way Tiger and Leopard users should rebuild the spotlight data base every so often.

Yes OnyX is free. Note you can also use OnyX to do the periodic commands if you are not comfortable using Terminal. If you leave your computer up and awake 24/7 the periodic commands will run automatically but you will still need Onyx to delete the archived logs, clean caches and delete/rebuild spotlight database(s).

zlinger
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:38 PM
SSD uses the same file mount as if it was a hard drive, however SSD access is slower so fragmentation is even more of a problem. Also, SSD drives are not entirely "random access" like hardd rives are, but rather, they circulate the data in each "track" in a similar way to the old bubble memory did. SSDs are more prone to poor performance when fragmented than hard drives.

Modern hard drives are extremely quick, so any "slow down" is more than likely due to some other problem with the system.

I would have to disagree with you based on the end result (not on technical discussion or points you raised which I have not researched in depth). All I can say from direct experience is that the SSDs smokes HDDs completely. I have also read people stating that it is akin to the performance of a ~10K to 15K RPM drive.

After using a MBA with SSD (used it for two weeks, but returned after an LCD defect), I had to settle with a MBA with HDD (no SSD left in stock... only hard drive model.. and I needed a laptop at that time and could not wait).

Anyway, it is no doubt noticeable right away that the SSD model is super quick on all fronts. I use a parallels PC, scientific software, many files large and small, etc. The HDD model is for sure slower, and worsened with time. But the defragmentation program that I'm using now has made the HDD model much more tolerable..

My next computer will have a SSD drive for reliability and speed, and I hope the prices keep dropping. For now, I defrag, and backup often.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 06:56 PM
Tests do not indicate an enormous speed difference - there is some but it's very questionable for the value.

The overall disk test scores aren't much different—29.37 on the HDD and 34.30 on the Air. But the SSD performs a fair amount worse than the HDD model when it comes to sequential read and write tests. The SSD was able to write sequentially between 14.67 and 13.86MB/sec, and sequentially read between 7.29 and 49.59MB/sec (the first and second numbers are differentiated by the size of the blocks being written). Comparatively, the HDD model sequentially writes between 31.35 and 33.33MB/sec, and reads between 6.32 and 32.74MB/sec for the same-sized blocks.

But the random disk test is where the SSD model outpaces the HDD. The SSD's overall random read/write score was more than 40 percent higher than that of the HDD. While the HDD model was writing 256k blocks at 22.95MB/sec, the SSD Air was writing at 19.04MB/sec. But read speeds are significantly faster, and the HDD model read the 256k blocks at 14.37MB/sec while the SSD read at 47.61MB/sec

No spin: Ars reviews the MacBook Air with solid state drive: Page 1 (http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/macbook-air-ssd-review.ars)

Drives with ssd front ends might be very interesting.

Mississauga
Apr 26th, 2008, 07:03 PM
What ever happened to DiskWarrior? At one time it was the most touted disk utility for the Mac for optimization?... and remains the ONLY 3rd party utility I recommend. None of my clients use anything else other than Disk Utility when booted from their install disk.

Too often, other 3rd party tools can get folks into more trouble than they're worth, in my opinion.

The only other recommendation I have is to ensure the Mac is left on at least one night per week to allow OS X's built-in "maintenance" scripts to run overnight, usually at 3:15 a.m.

kps
Apr 26th, 2008, 09:43 PM
The only other recommendation I have is to ensure the Mac is left on at least one night per week to allow OS X's built-in "maintenance" scripts to run overnight, usually at 3:15 a.m.

Hey Alec, thanks for reminding me! I can't believe we still have to do this in 10.5...or do we? I don't recall doing it since I got my G5, the creation date of 2/23 is due to the Leopard upgrade. (see attached image).

In previous versions I would just change the crontab file entries to a decent hour where I knew the machine would be on and the scripts ran nicely in the background.

With the move to launchd and plists, I suppose I could edit the periodic plists, but I haven't.

MacDoc
Apr 26th, 2008, 09:59 PM
Disc Warrior is very good but also a one trick pony.

I guess Mississauga's clients believe they will never ever have a bad block on their drives :D

Y'know a drive surface scan is pretty straight forward.

Mississauga
Apr 26th, 2008, 10:13 PM
I guess Mississauga's clients believe they will never ever have a bad block on their drives :DWhat they don't know, and doesn't matter, won't hurt them. My clients' biggest concern is their Macs run swimmingly... and they do.

MacDoc
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:20 AM
a bad block doesn't matter ??!! :eek: .oooookay......cue
http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:j7topY_V0yUJ:www.jawsmovie.com/fans/erik/DesktopJaws.jpg

" hey it's slow and crashing""
"oh hell get a new one" .......... ;)

I suppose bad blocks are good for something....:D

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 01:18 AM
May this will put things into perspective for Sitting Bull

This is what idefrag says about my drive - 3 1/2 years old, never defragmented the drive, also never used CCC, only SD. But the Mac is on 24/7

http://img164.imageshack.us/img164/7653/idefraghd2wv3.png

MacDoc
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:19 AM
Maybe you should actually show him the rest - like the bar at the bottom :D

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture4-6.png

and if you ran Drive Genius your drive would look more like this

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Neilfragment.png

than this

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture5-3.png

Those 500 files that ARE fragmented will be files that are constantly used and again X does nothing about file structure optimization.

You only have perspective if you know how to interpret the picture. You've been quite selective ;)

Let's see the visual bar and which files are fragmented....BOTH are readily available.

It only takes a small % of water in the tank to make a car run poorly.

Adrian.
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Id like to defrag mine and see if there are any significant speed improvements. But....its a 35 dollar experiment. I'd rather a couple large pizzas from Mama's.

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:58 AM
I posted the statistics because I thought that was the easiest to understand.

The visual bar doesn't make any sense to me - I tried the help menu but that was useless. There is probably a user guide somewhere but I didn't take the time to look for that.

I also checked the files option and the files at the top with the largest fragmentation were various old Outlook Express mail files that I kept just in case.

The picture looks like this - I have no clue how to interpred the various colours.

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/1696/idefrag2zv2.png

Adrian.
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:01 AM
Tried that key button at the top? Looks some kind of legend.

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:29 AM
Tried that key button at the top? Looks some kind of legend.

The key button gives you the colour code for the little blocks only, nothing how to read the bar at the bottom.
A red block for example indicates a fragmented file - I have fragmented files according to the statistic but not according to the picture of the blocks.

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:43 AM
I "played" a bit more with this application.
Turns out you can grab the two triangles at the left of the bar and drag them across.
So I assume the bottom bar shows the whole hard drive and the part above only a small fraction, where ever the triangles are.
So according to this now, I have a huge number of fragmented files, well maybe sectors not files which is what I assume the blocks are.
iDefrag really needs a basic user manual. I remember now that I tried that application a while back and got frustrated because one constantly had to guess what the picture meant.

screature
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:57 AM
I thought I would chime in on this.

I'm not going to put up any charts, graphs, tech specs etc., just speak from anecdotal experience.

I had heard all the same things about the wonders of OSX working behind the scenes so no defraging of your hard drives was necessary. Cool, I thought. Time went on and I started noticing performance drops bit by bit over time. I ran various "cleanup" apps and no improvement. Hmm, I thought what else could be the culprit? Well if this was a PC I would defrag it, but I am running OSX and don't need to. Time went on and I just couldn't live with the slow down any longer and in my poking around the net for possible culprits I stumbled on iDefrag.

What's this?! A defragger for OSX? Why? OSX doesn't need to be defragged! I read the Info section on their website and I thought, hell $35, if it works it is worth it.

Downloaded it, installed it, ran it. I got my old system back! It was as fast as ever, seemed (impossible?) even faster.

From a real world personal perspective, I can tell you that fragmentation DOES occur with OSX and it CAN matter and slow your system down. It takes so little to do it, why wouldn't you?

For the naysayers, if you want to continue to have your "faith" in OSX, then go right ahead. And it is faith because it is based on belief, not having defragged your systems how would you KNOW that it doesn't make a difference.

zlinger
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:28 PM
I thought I would chime in on this.

I'm not going to put up any charts, graphs, tech specs etc., just speak from anecdotal experience.

I had heard all the same things about the wonders of OSX working behind the scenes so no defraging of your hard drives was necessary. Cool, I thought. Time went on and I started noticing performance drops bit by bit over time. I ran various "cleanup" apps and no improvement. Hmm, I thought what else could be the culprit? Well if this was a PC I would defrag it, but I am running OSX and don't need to. Time went on and I just couldn't live with the slow down any longer and in my poking around the net for possible culprits I stumbled on iDefrag.

What this?! A defragger for OSX? Why? OSX doesn't need to be defragged! I read the Info section on their website and I thought, hell $35, if it works it is worth it.

Downloaded it, installed it, ran it. I got my old system back! It was as fast as ever, seemed (impossible?) even faster.

From a real world personal perspective, I can tell you that fragmentation DOES occur with OSX and it CAN matter and slow your system down. It takes so little to do it, why wouldn't you?

For the naysayers, if you want to continue to have your "faith" in OSX, then go right ahead. And it is faith because it is based on belief, not having defragged your systems how would you KNOW that it doesn't make a difference.

You couldn't have said it better. When I purchased my MBA with HDD, I was concerned with performance; especially months later when the system started to slow. But now it is running as good, if not better then when I bought it!

It is almost as if Apple is not optimizing OSX to ensure peak performance by limiting hard disk maintenance tasks to a limited routines within a set specification. It is kind of similar to limits put on processors for optimizing frequency and voltage.

They need to at least include better system maintenance tools. But I guess then it is no longer an easy to use computer since then users will need to think of these tasks.

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:40 PM
From a real world personal perspective, I can tell you that fragmentation DOES occur with OSX and it CAN matter and slow your system down. It takes so little to do it, why wouldn't you?

Probably because nobody likes to buy a pig in a poke.

Over the years, I spent many hundreds of dollars buying software that turned out to be useless or worse, messed up my system. Norton is a good example that comes to mind.
If iDefrag offered a reasonable demo version for people to try, they would get a lot more customers if people saw that it made a significant difference in their particular situation.
But a demo that does only up to 100 MB (that's MB not GB) is a joke - actually an insult as far as I am concerned. How can I possibly evaluate iDefrag with that restriction.

From this thread I picked up the following:
1. Don't worry about defrag with OS X at all unless you feel hard drive access is slow.
2. If hard drive access does become slow, use CCC which apparently does a nice defrag for you and you have a back up at the same time.

Gabbadude
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:41 PM
I have a follow up question on this.

I'm running a stripped Raid with 2 HD. Does iDefrag will work the same way with this?

MacDoc
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Yes it does - even more so as you have more of a delta between slow and fast.

CCC is surely the treat to clone of then back on for cheap thrills BUT - you need to do a file clone not a bit map.

Download Drive Genius as a demo - you will be able to see after you've cloned off if it looks like this

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/Picture5-3.png

Then when you boot off the clone - have a look at your main drive by comparison.

When you CCC - do take a moment and run Disk First Aid on it - might pick up a few glitchy issues like entangled files.

BTW you can get a real world view of your drive performance by using

AJA Video - Serial Digital Video Interface and Conversion (http://www.aja.com/html/support_kona3_swd.html)

download the Stem Test 2 and set it for 4 MB with the system cache disabled.

Current 3.5" drives can sustain 80-110 megs per second in the top 20% of the drive space just for reference.

We are encouraging any one with 2-3 year old drives to at least get them scanned for bad blocks and at best replace them with faster current units.

A combination of a new drive and an optimization is sweet.

EvanPitts
Apr 27th, 2008, 04:20 PM
All I can say from direct experience is that the SSDs smokes HDDs completely. I have also read people stating that it is akin to the performance of a ~10K to 15K RPM drive.

Solid State Drives have much quicker track to track access times, because there is no head to move, just a pointer. But reading the contents of the track is slower because in an SSD, the "sectors" have to be entirely read out and recirculated back into the drive. So they have the peculiarity that they are faster to read/write long contiguious files, but end up being much slower when reading shorter files (especially multiple short files simultaneously). There are certain types of high performance SSD drives that indeed smoke even the fastest hard drives, but they tend to be exotic and very expensive. In order to cut the cost of the drives, as well as to make them small enough to fit into the 2.5" form factor, regular SSDs make concessions.

That being said, regular SSDs benchmark quite favourably in comparison to hard drives; but in practical use on mixed length files as one would run across in regular computer usage, they can seem slower in real tasks, like web browsing. They are also slightly lighter and more power stingy than hard drives.

However, the cost factor rules them out for all but certain applications. One can purchase a hard drive for a dollar per GB or less, a 60GB hard drive may sell for $55-60; while an equivalent SSD will cost $900-1000.

I think it is odd that you have found continually degraded performace with your hard drive. OSX is not so prone to problems with fragmentation within the file system, and an SSD is more prone to show the problems. It is almost as if you have a drive that is lapsing into sleep too quickly...

EvanPitts
Apr 27th, 2008, 04:26 PM
From a real world personal perspective, I can tell you that fragmentation DOES occur with OSX and it CAN matter and slow your system down. It takes so little to do it, why wouldn't you?

OSX also does a fair number of tasks in the middle of the night, depending on the configuration of the cron daemon. So you may end up with poorer performance if you shut your machine off, without using a utility to start those tasks while you are awake. My system goes to town at 2am on Monday, and lately, since I have been shutting my machine off because of the unreliability of hydro in my area, I notice slower system responses until I use a utility.

I also noticed slower system response until I offloaded my iTunes libraries onto one of my external drives, which freed up 50GB of space...

krs
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:06 PM
We are encouraging any one with 2-3 year old drives to at least get them scanned for bad blocks and at best replace them with faster current units.


Will iDefrag show bad blocks i the statistics or do you have to through the detailed picture and look for a little black square?

zlinger
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:43 PM
I have a follow up question on this.

I'm running a stripped Raid with 2 HD. Does iDefrag will work the same way with this?

Is it a software raid, or a hardware raid? If iDefrag can see it as a volume, then I would see no reason it would not work (for both mirrored and stripped) since the drive volumes would be formatted with the same size and configuration.

Also, although not raid related, I can report that iDefrag also runs fine on an encrypted file vault. Maybe I will try hooking up an old zip 100 to to see if it works.

chas_m
Apr 28th, 2008, 09:28 AM
What ever happened to DiskWarrior? At one time it was the most touted disk utility for the Mac for optimization?

Incorrect. DW only handles DIRECTORY optimisation. That's all it has ever done.

It is still the best third-party tool on the market for Mac owners, but this discussion is about DISK defragging/optimisation, and DW doesn't handle that.

I haven't done any disk maintenance since I got my G5, but the 250GB drive is now almost totally full and I'm concerned about corruption and fragmentation.

You are BEGGING for trouble. Mac OS X needs several gigs of free space just as "elbow room" if you will. Not having that is going to get you a corrupted directory and lost data lickety-split.

I would in the strongest possible terms urge you to do some housecleaning/archiving first and foremost, until you have at least 4-5GB free on your drive.

Then I would suggest a full backup to an external HD. If you're not already doing this, NOW is the time to start.

Finally I would suggest a run of OnyX and Disk Warrior in that order.

NOW.

kps
Apr 28th, 2008, 10:04 AM
Relax Chas. ;)

I have about 15GB left on the 250, TimeMachine backup on a 500GB external, a full bootable backup on a 1TB external.:clap:

What's OnyX going to do for me? See my opinion on it here. (https://www.ehmac.ca/anything-mac/64347-onyx-questions.html)

screature
Apr 28th, 2008, 10:15 AM
Probably because nobody likes to buy a pig in a poke.

Over the years, I spent many hundreds of dollars buying software that turned out to be useless or worse, messed up my system. Norton is a good example that comes to mind.
If iDefrag offered a reasonable demo version for people to try, they would get a lot more customers if people saw that it made a significant difference in their particular situation.
But a demo that does only up to 100 MB (that's MB not GB) is a joke - actually an insult as far as I am concerned. How can I possibly evaluate iDefrag with that restriction.

From this thread I picked up the following:
1. Don't worry about defrag with OS X at all unless you feel hard drive access is slow.
2. If hard drive access does become slow, use CCC which apparently does a nice defrag for you and you have a back up at the same time.

Sorry krs I wasn't suggesting buying iDefrag. That is what I did as my defraging solution (I wasn't aware of the CCC option as a means to defrag) what I meant was it takes so little why not defrag (using what ever means you choose) and see for yourself if your system performance goes up or not.

krs
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:49 PM
It looked like iDefrag was the only application for the Mac that could be used to defrag the drive until MacDoc mentioned the CCC option.

I find it rather annoying that there isn't a single OS X maintenance tool for the hard drive - I need iDefrag, Disk warrior, some other tool to scan the drive surface and Apple Disk Utility as well
Is defragging a drive or rebuilding the directory so complex that a utility like Onyx can't include it?

Mississauga
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:54 PM
Relax Chas. ;)

I have about 15GB left on the 250...Not NEARLY enough free space! You should maintain at least 10% free space; I prefer 20% minimum.

chas_m
Apr 28th, 2008, 02:05 PM
What's OnyX going to do for me?

It's just faster and easier than going to the CLI for that sort of thing. Some people are perfectly comfortable in the CLI and that's fine for them.

I'm still pining for AppleJack ...

rgray
Apr 28th, 2008, 02:49 PM
I was a little surprised at some of the stuff in this thread "to defrag, or not to defrag. that is the question" (sorry, Hamlet). I punched up "unix + defragment" on Google (OSX being Unix based), and Wow!, there is a ton of discussion of this very topic! If I take it correctly, the tipping point is "free space" on the hard drive. Lots of free space means the fragmentation is less of a performance hit - perhaps even negligible. With limited free space, fragmentation is a relatively bigger issue. Lots of people, some at pretty heavy sites, all over the net dismiss defragging altogether. Some point out that you are pretty much just using up significant and unnecessary life cycles on your hard drive, as in: the "mean cycles before failure" stat on your drive's spec sheet...

My rule off thumb, after RAM has been maxed, is: best performance fix is

erase and install OS, Apps, Docs, etc.
a (much) bigger hard drive.

Mississauga
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:40 PM
rgray,

You've hit the nail directly on the head - free space is the key.

I've just returned a 2+ year old Mac Pro to a client who puts their Mac through its paces on a daily basis - a real high intensity user. She has made a habit of monitoring her free space and faithfully "cleaning house" frequently. This machine continues to operate superbly with no extra utility attention other than DiskWarrior directory repairs every 6 months and some cache cleaning. The only reason I had it over the weekend was to clean install Leopard and Adobe CS3 upgrade.

I'm convinced almost all 3rd party utilities are virtually worthless, when one follows a few basic rules.

kps
Apr 28th, 2008, 06:38 PM
Okay, here's my understanding of the issue and it goes back a long way.

As you use your disk, data seeks free space as it's being saved. Data is not saved in one continuous chunk. As the user deletes data, or the OS frees up data, utilities delete and install new data, the new data seeks available space...where ever it may be.

So as the disk gets fuller, new data may be spread across larger areas of the disk and in smaller chunks. Eventually causing slowdowns when reading and corruption when writing.

Newer drives, better OSs, better file systems all may minimise this when compared to years past, but I still think defragging is a valid option.

Mississauga
Apr 28th, 2008, 08:51 PM
If defragging your hard drive makes you happy, then defrag away! Repairing permissions makes me happy, however unnecessary the procedure is reported to be. I suppose we all have our leaps of faith.

;)

Kirtland
Apr 28th, 2008, 11:41 PM
I haven't seen TechTool Pro mentioned in this thread so I was wondering if the optimization aspect of this application is the same as the defragging that is being discussed. TechTool states: "Optimization of the volume has two goals: to defragment the files and to consolodate the free space into one large block. This can improve performance when reading from or writing to this volume."
Is this the defraging that is being discussed? Is this the same as what iDefrag does?
I use TechTool Pro as part of my regular maintenance as well as DiskWarrior and OnyX.

Adrian.
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:43 AM
Techtool pro certainly does look nice... but 100 clams...wow!

gwillikers
Apr 29th, 2008, 06:44 AM
A while back I read some of the user opinions of TechTool Pro on VersionTracker, and it scared me into not trusting it. There have been several other people warning against using it since then.
I'm not saying it's bad, but there certainly are some staunch critics of it.

eMacMan
Apr 29th, 2008, 10:34 AM
Techtool pro certainly does look nice... but 100 clams...wow!

I have not trusted TechTool since 10.3.9 came around. I love DiskWarrior and have a version I use with my Panther set-up. With a good back-up system often it is faster to re-install the system than to run utilities. With Terminal and a SuperDuper created Disk Image I can restore my OS volume in about 10 minutes. Note I keep no critical files on the OS partition.

Kirtland
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:09 AM
I haven't seen TechTool Pro mentioned in this thread so I was wondering if the optimization aspect of this application is the same as the defragging that is being discussed. TechTool states: "Optimization of the volume has two goals: to defragment the files and to consolodate the free space into one large block. This can improve performance when reading from or writing to this volume."
Is this the defraging that is being discussed? Is this the same as what iDefrag does?
I use TechTool Pro as part of my regular maintenance as well as DiskWarrior and OnyX.
Without turning this thread into a TechTool Pro/con discussion, I would like to say that I have used this product for many years without problems. But I would like to refer back to my original question above.

screature
Apr 29th, 2008, 11:53 AM
Without turning this thread into a TechTool Pro/con discussion, I would like to say that I have used this product for many years without problems. But I would like to refer back to my original question above.

Yes you can use it for defraging. My experience is that it is very SSLLOOWW. You are better off with iDefrag or Drive Genius for defraging. But if TechTools is all you've got, it will get the job done. Just do it overnight or when you don't have any looming deadlines.

Also I have had it crash during a defrag rendering the drive useless until I reformatted. So absolutely make sure you are FULLY backed up.

Kirtland
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:04 PM
Thanks screature, yes I am fully backed up (time machine, bootable disc, and off site). I used it a while back and it took almost 2 complete hockey games on TV to complete. I just wasn't sure if it was accomplishing the defrag being discussed.

eMacMan
Apr 29th, 2008, 02:09 PM
Without turning this thread into a TechTool Pro/con discussion, I would like to say that I have used this product for many years without problems. But I would like to refer back to my original question above.

Cloning off then back with CCC is both faster and safer. To benefit noticeably from defragging usually means you have a large HD with less than 30% free disk space. Defragging with limited free disk space greatly increases time and risk as files may have to be copied and deleted several times. As previously mentioned a power failure or crash during the process will mean starting from scratch.

I know you are fully backed up but for others following this thread Defragging a HD that is not backed up is a hi-risk proposition. Even if the failure rate is less than 1% when it does fail the result is catastrophic.

TheChemist
Apr 29th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Just picked up iDefrag 1.6.5, booted up from my SD backup, and am running a full defrag.

It's a little over half way done.

Forgot to turn off time machine, until I realized that TM was making a backup of my SD backup - Backup of a backup would be a little much for me. :)

Kirtland
Apr 29th, 2008, 05:27 PM
Backup of a backup would be a little much for me. :)
Happiness is Time Machine, bootable disc, and off-site backup. :D
I had a house fire years ago and know the consequences.

zlinger
Apr 30th, 2008, 02:23 AM
I ran a defrag last week, but did a huge amount of file reorganizing on my MBA over the last few days. Yes, performance was acceptable, but I decided to run iDefrag earlier this evening (booted from CD to run an optimize defrag).

It is freaking smoking again.. app launching is snappy with very little hesitation. As discussed earlier, this is a cheap $30 solution to get the most from a drive rather then spending $1000 for a SSD.

I highly doubt Apple will ever include better/aggressive defragmentation optimization routines within their systems since it involves risk they are not willing to take for the masses. Namely risk of data loss, wear and tear on drives, performance or downtime while processing.

I'm willing to take the risk losing my data or burning the life out of my drive. CCC sounds like a hassle... I just boot from CD, defrag, restart. That's it. I'm all covered with daily data backups, and AppleCare for 3 yrs. if the drive burns up so all is fine and dandy.:)

jamesB
Apr 30th, 2008, 06:01 AM
(beginning of rant)
Well after following this thread for the past few days, I succumbed and went online and purchased Drive Genius, which seems highly regarded by some on this forum.
This evening I updated my copy of OnyX to the just released new version, and when it fired up, it told me my boot drive needed repairs.
Ah! good chance to try the utilities in my new Drive Genius, plugged in my newly created boot CD and went to "Repair Disk".
It reported nothing to repair, also did a verify with the same results.
Booted Leopard back up and ran OnyX once again, same problem, Claims disk needs repair.
Ran Leopard's Disk Utility and did a verify, this tells me there are errors, errors which my new $100 Utility can not find or fix.
Booted into single user mode (cmd+S) did a "fsck -fy" and sure enough, found errors and repaired them.
Now at least OnyX is happy, even if I'm not.:(
(end of rant)

jb.

gwillikers
Apr 30th, 2008, 06:41 AM
Hey jb, I'll give ya 5 bucks for your copy of Drive Genius.

Sorry, I couldn't help it. :o

SoyMac
Apr 30th, 2008, 10:07 AM
Just picked up iDefrag 1.6.5, booted up from my SD backup, and am running a full defrag...... I decided to run iDefrag earlier this evening (booted from CD to run an optimize defrag).
...
So when you pay for iDefrag, they mail you a CD to use to defrag?

zlinger
Apr 30th, 2008, 11:45 AM
So when you pay for iDefrag, they mail you a CD to use to defrag?

I have the downloaded version, and it comes with a utility to create a boot disk (from a Leopard CD).

Kirtland
Apr 30th, 2008, 12:10 PM
Booted into single user mode (cmd+S) did a "fsck -fy" and sure enough, found errors and repaired them.
Now at least OnyX is happy, even if I'm not.:(
(end of rant)jb.

What is "fsck-fy" :confused:

jamesB
Apr 30th, 2008, 12:25 PM
What is "fsck-fy" :confused:

In a Terminal window type "man fsck" without the quotes,
this will show you the instructions for that terminal command.

jb.

krs
Apr 30th, 2008, 12:25 PM
I decided to try CCC to see how well that defrag work that MacDoc mentioned.

Ended up with this, no defragmented files except those three in the picture below and I assume I can trash at least two of them, the temp files.

For something you only run once every few months, seems to me CCC is a viable alternative and you get a bootable backup in the process.

http://img501.imageshack.us/img501/1959/fragmentsafterccczu9.png

Vexel
Oct 17th, 2008, 12:14 AM
So, Bootcamp wouldn't install today because some "Files" couldn't be moved. I found through a web search about defragging fixing this problem.

Purchased iDefrag.

All I have to say is.... Holy Freakin' Crap!

If I had known that it would boost the performance this much, I would have bought it a LONG time ago. It's like having a fresh Mac install! I knew that it would improve performance a little.. but, I didn't realize how fragmented my drive had gotten and because I used it every day, I didn't notice the difference in speed over time.

Now I know better. :)

Just thought I would share.

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2008, 01:56 AM
All I have to say is.... Holy Freakin' Crap!

If I had known that it would boost the performance this much, I would have bought it a LONG time ago. It's like having a fresh Mac install! I knew that it would improve performance a little.. but, I didn't realize how fragmented my drive had gotten and because I used it every day, I didn't notice the difference in speed over time.

Now I know better.

NOW will somebody believe me and others who KNOW this. :rolleyes:

Thank you for doing this..... :clap:

A perfect summary - you have no idea how much speed you lose as it fades slowly.

AquaAngel
Oct 17th, 2008, 02:05 AM
Drive Genius has been by far the best app i have ever used under os X. Norton was the best under os 9, but that app "drive genius" have and did save my hard drive a few times. tech tool is good, but not as good. I say 10+/10 as the best app ever, but that is me. it has served me well. i recommend it for every one:D

krs
Oct 17th, 2008, 02:06 AM
The fragmentation must have been really bad.

When I ended up with a defragmented drive using CCC (maybe not quite the same as using a dedicated application), there wasn't any noticable speed increase - but then again - I don't use bootcamp like Vexel.

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2008, 11:51 AM
iDefrag optimizes as well as defrags and I'm not 100% certain that CCC actual does a defrag in all cases. Something I should check.

IF it does a bit map then it will not defrag so you will notice no difference at all.

The clone programs used to but since Leopard I'm not sure it's the case anymore.

IDefrag is cheap thrills and does it correctly.

krs
Oct 17th, 2008, 12:13 PM
My results of hard drive fragmentation after using CCC are shown in post 77 of this thread.

This was a clone of Tiger using file-level cloning.

Maybe the amount of fragmentation depends on how full the drive is - my drive that has OS X on it is less than half full.

greensuperman32
Oct 24th, 2008, 12:43 AM
MacDoc what do you think about Drive Genius 2 and it's Defrag function?

i-rui
Oct 20th, 2009, 08:58 PM
Sorry for hashing up this old thread, but will CCC do a defraged clone for a snow leopard volume?

I cloned my start up drive to a back up and then re-cloned it back to the start up. However i didn't erase the original between.... is that a problem (i thought CCC did this automatically when it clones on to a drive).

krs
Oct 21st, 2009, 12:30 PM
The defragmentation CCC does is a side-effect of the cloning process.
The defragmentation isn't perfect but it's a lot better than the source drive. Not that it made any noticable difference in day-to-day operations in my case.
CCC is supposed to erase the information on the target drive if you set it up that way and it used to do that.
But I found when I upgraded to the latest issue of CCC, it doesn't seem to erase the target driver anymore even though it does go through the erase messages on the screen.
I ended up with a clone that wouldn't complete because the old info was not erased.
I since erased the hard drive using disk utility and then cloned using CCC - that went without a hitch.

i-rui
Oct 21st, 2009, 01:36 PM
thanks for the info.

i was thinking of using drive genius, but i read some reports that it shouldn't be used to defrag snow leopard volumes (yet)

eMacMan
Oct 21st, 2009, 02:11 PM
iDefrag optimizes as well as defrags and I'm not 100% certain that CCC actual does a defrag in all cases. Something I should check.

IF it does a bit map then it will not defrag so you will notice no difference at all.

The clone programs used to but since Leopard I'm not sure it's the case anymore.

IDefrag is cheap thrills and does it correctly.

Main reason I prefer to create disk images rather than clones for my OS back-ups. That and being able to have 3-4 sequential disk images as opposed to perhaps 2 cloned images.

pm-r
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:49 PM
Was using CCC with Tiger as it seemed to be a lot faster than SD. I think Mac Doc has hit on the reason.

Have a read on what bombich himself says about CCC and de-fragging:
Bombich Software Forums - View topic - Defragmenting - DON'T... (http://forums.bombich.com/viewtopic.php?t=14204)

pm-r
--------

krs
Oct 21st, 2009, 10:39 PM
Have a read on what bombich himself says about CCC and de-fragging:
Bombich Software Forums - View topic - Defragmenting - DON'T... (http://forums.bombich.com/viewtopic.php?t=14204)

pm-r
--------

This is amazing!
The OP in the other forum asks a simple question:
I have a simple question ... I assume that cloning a drive using something like CCC will automatically defrag the destination disk because (I think) it copies files on a file-by-file basis, not on a sector-by-sector basis. As long as the destination partition is clean, the CCC'd result will be totally defragged. Is this true ?

A few people including bombich himself comment but in the end nobody actually answers the OPs question.

Mind you, the information that the others post is certainly interesting and relevant to any back-up strategy, but see if you can find the answer to the question in that other thread - "Is a clone using CCC totally defragged or not?
I certainly couldn't find it.