Ultra slow defragmenting.  Why?

By jungleexplorer ยท 16 replies
Sep 20, 2007
  1. Hi all, I am new to this forum and appreciate the help. Here is my problem.

    I have a 250GB HD. It is partitioned into two partitions. One 60GB partition for windows and programs, and one 190GB partition for files (mp3's, pictures, video etc).

    This installation of windows XP is only about 4 months old and the HD is about 8 months old. Everything has been running fine, but I have been experiencing a few program crashes on programs that have been working fine all along. When this happens the first thing I always do is run a system clean up utility (Norton System Works) and defragment my HD's. My C:/ (60GB) drive is showing 39% defragmented even after I ran a standard defragmention. I downloaded System Mechanics Pro and am trying to run a low level defragmentation. It has been running for over 72 hours and is only at 19% complete. This seems like an extraordinary long amount of time to defragment a 60GB partition, especially considering that there is over 20GB of free space on that partition.

    I first tried to run the low level defrag with windows in normal mode, but after 6 hours and it had not progressed 1%, I stopped the defrag. I restarted my system in windows Safe Mode so that there would be nothing interfering with the defragmentaion process and tried again. It has now been running for 72 hours and I have not touched the system. The defrag is at 19 %. At this rate it may take weeks to complete the defrag.

    Can anybody tell me a whether or not this is normal for a low level defrag, or if there is a better way to do this?

    Here are my system stats

    win XP home SP2

    athlon 64X2 3800

    1GB DDR 3200

    250 GB HD (primary HD with two partitions)

    160GB (Secondary HD with single partition).

    Nvidia Geforce 6100LE Video card
  2. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    I don't use System Mechanic Pro but anything over an hour with Diskeeper would be almost unheard of.

    I have a feeling your disk drive is going kaput, or something else like a virus is making life hard for system mechanic pro. I'd go ahead and download the disk check utility from the hard drive manufacture and see if the disk is still OK. Fragmented disks don't usually cause programs to crash; they do cause them to slow down but not usually to crash. In a worst case scenario a program would crash because of fragmentation.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    check your system for viri.
    Also run memtest 86+ from a floppy to test ram. If you have less than 512mb ram, your system will run extraordinarily slow. 1gb is recommended.
  4. jungleexplorer

    jungleexplorer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    The motherboard, processor and 1GB of DDR 3200 memory are less the 2 months old. The Western Digital hard drive is only 8 months old. Hardware failure would not be my first guess at this point because this system is not a gaming system. It is used mostly for office apps and web browsing.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    you cannot go by guessing. Always test.
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Newness does not mean that something is not broken. Disk fragmentation does not make things crash, bad hard drives and bad RAM do. As already said, test the hard drive with manufacturer diagnostics, test the RAM.

    If the hardware checks out OK, look over your drivers (make sure it is the latest version) and any relevant settings like DMA mode, HD acoustic level settings, whatever.
  7. jungleexplorer

    jungleexplorer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I appreciate all the good advice on crashing programs, but that is not what my question is about. Programs crash for many different reasons. My question is about defragmentation, not program crashes. I guess I gave to much detail and the question got lost in the detail, so it is my own fault. I will simplify the question so as to not have the same thing happen again.

    I have a 250GB HD that is partitioned into two partitions. The primary partition is for Win XP and program files. It is a 60GB partition with 20GB of free space. I defragmented it but it is still showing to be 39% defragmented. I downloaded System Mechanic 7 because it offered what is called "LOW LEVEL DEFRAGMENTATION". It is taking a long time to perform this defragentation (possibly a week or more). Does this sound right or is something wrong?

    Once again, I am not talking about a standard defragmentaion which only gathers the bits and pieces of a file together in one place, but leaves actual holes in in the linear sequences on the actual platters, which leads to more file fragmentaion down the road. I are talking about a Low Level defragmentaion that not only gathers all files together in a linear sequence but actual compacts all the data at one end of the drive so that all the free space is at one end and the data is at the other.
  8. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    You didn't say if you had a good anti-virus scanner or not, so I'll link a good free one or two for you just in case. Don't use both or more than one if you already have one.

    It would not take your drive 17 or more hours at roughly 25MB-35MB a second to rewrite your entire drive (IE LOW LEVEL DEFRAGMENTATION), so something else is wrong like your drive is breaking or your memory is messed up or you have viri dig? I've only run into one case of busted memory before but it this point it's still possible. You might try running memtest+ for at least eight passes and see if you have any memory errors after you test your hard drive. I realize you probably feel that we are not listening to you but I promise you that we are.
  9. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Forget about Low Level

    Do a chkdsk first.Delete all tmp files and browser Temps.
    Use System Tools/Disk Cleanup.
    Do a normal C: drive Defrag only and be patient.
    You probably have a lot of Fragmented Files.
    Defrag more often.
    Buy V-Vom Fix-It.It's worth it.Great Defragmenter and Repairer.
    Mine takes a while so i find something else away from the computer to pass the time.
    Just for my info,How do you do a LOW LEVEL ?
  10. jungleexplorer

    jungleexplorer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I am answering several questions in this post.

    "You didn't say if you had a good anti-virus scanner or not"

    I use Norton Internet Security 2007 with Add on pack. All elements are activated except for parental controls. I run daily scans for all forms of viruses and crime ware.

    "Do a chkdsk first.Delete all tmp files and browser Temps."

    The first thing I did was run a a complete system scan for system trash and hardrive errors.

    "Just for my info,How do you do a LOW LEVEL ?"

    You have to have a program that offers this option. The only program I have found is System Mechanics, but I would like to try another if someone knows of one. I read PCworld magazine and System Mechanics has always been their number one choice for system maintenance, but you have to be careful, because it can destroy your system if your not. I also use System Works but I find that it does very little, but it is also safer then system mechanics (I guess because it really does not do that much).
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,122   +982

    LOW LEVEL is ususally applied to a formatting utility where the sectors are numbererd and rewritten with all 1111's;

    A defrag program has only one purpose in life; collect all free space into one
    cluster AND to place all portions of a file in consecutive sectors+clusters for a
    linear read.

    Believe me -- that's more that enough to do and get it right without scrambling your data!

    I've seen defrag run for an hour or two, but when it runs more that 24 hours;
    either it is fighting for every free sector on the HD in a badly fragmented system
    OR it could be restarting over/over/over again every time there's a write to the
    disk by some active program --- I've seen Norton struggle like this :(
  12. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Even with the slowest hard drive transfer mode - 3.3MB/s. It would take some 8 hours to move 100GB of data.

    Assuming that defrag programs move a block maximum two times (to a temporary location and then to the proper location).. The defragmentation of 100GB data can not take more than 4x8=32 hours in absolutely the worst case scenario.

    You have either hardware issues or your defrag program(s) are not working properly.

    You could try booting a PE Windows XP CD and run the defrag program from there - this would eliminate any possible issues in your curent Windows install. I stil say you have bad hardware..
  13. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,122   +982

    First, the WHOLE disk would not be relocate as many files would be contiguous already.

    Second, relocation(s) are designed to avoid moving any given block more than once,
    at least on the first pass. Most programs avoid the full algorithm and only
    implement a one pass solution and the user would need to reinvoke to get
    better results.

    I've had suspicions myself on system hardware for sloooooow results, but later
    determined it to be software related -- especially with the Norton Suite.
  14. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,472   +126

    MFT Master File Table could be dragging the HDD down, programs like Disk Keeper Basic Pro, Server Enterprise does a good job allocating more space for MFT.

    If you do start, run, type: cmd, then type: defrag c: /f
    If you run the defrag located in c:\windows\system32\dfrg.msc

    This Disk Keeper but very slow defrag, you'll need to get the full version or use O&O Defrag Pro 8.x I use that and set it to optimze the HDD when it needs it but not when the CPU is being use. The program your using Norton requires alot of resources making the HDD and system slugglish. So when you go to use defrag you should diable the AV program.
  15. jungleexplorer

    jungleexplorer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Problem solved guys. It was the System Mechanics program. I am really disappointed with the defragmentation part of the program. I downloaded O&O Pro 10 and it did the job in just a few hours, and that was a complete defrag by name where all the file are reorganized alplhanumericly. It did to take 4 passes to get my fragmentation down to 0% through. What an incredible defragmentation program. A bit expensive though.

    Thanks for the help guys.
  16. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    How much of your hard drive was used to defrag ?
    Makes a difference time wise,unless it scans unused space.
    I use V-Com.20 GB takes about 30 minutes after their 5 minute disk check.
    $49 CDN.$49 US lol.
  17. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,472   +126

    O&O Pro works the best.. There clevercache is also good..
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