To understand why regular mac defrag or defragmentation, in general is beneficial, let’s take a quick, non-technical look at what fragmentation is, how it happens and how it affects computer performance. Say that you have a word processing program running and you are writing your great American novel. You have finished the first chapter and it is time for lunch, so you save your document and close the program. To begin with, your computer has been working on the document in the random access memory, or RAM. When you save your document for the first time, the edited file is placed on the computer’s hard drive.
Each time that you open the file and continue editing, the files size increases. If the file becomes larger than the free space in which it was saved, the file is divided or fragmented and part of it is saved in another location. The file contains information that references the additional location. Digital photos, audio and video files are notoriously large, especially when saved during the editing process. Defragmentation brings restores each of these files into a contiguous location on the drive.
So how does this benefit Mac recovery and digital image recovery software? When a file is deleted or a drive is reformatted, the information that tells the computer where the file is located is gone, often permanently. File Recovery software then has to search the drive byte by byte for the file by looking for a known pattern. If the file was fragmented, multiple parts of the file are scattered across the drive, which makes identification of these parts very difficult, if not impossible, since they won’t all match the pattern. However, if the file is not fragmented, the chance of recovery is very good since the file is stored in the same area on the drive and its patterns are easily recognizable.