Computer maintenance is an important task that keeps a machine running optimally. However, sometimes it can be difficult, time consuming and downright bothersome to perform. Defragmentation is often misunderstood and dismissed as non-essential. However, it can greatly improve the performance of the computer and possibly extend its useful life. Apple will even defrag your Mac if you’re a ProCare Member at their retail stores.

Fragmentation occurs because of the manner that files are stored when created, saved or deleted. This is not only a problem with documents and data, but with program installation. There are two types of fragmentation, free space and file fragmentation. Free space fragmentation primarily occurs when programs are uninstalled or files deleted. On a new drive, the empty space is usually a large, contiguous chunk of hard drive space. However, over time the empty space fragments into smaller parts. Defragmentation reorganizes empty fragments back into contiguous blocks.

File fragmentation occurs when the file size outgrows the original space when saved. The Mac OS normally does some automatic defragmentation, saving files in a space that is large enough to hold the entire file. However, as the file grows and space requirements change, the file separates into smaller chunks and is stored in various areas of the drive. The Mac operating system will defrag files as long as they are under 20mb in size. Of course, you have many files that are much larger than that and those files are not optimized (defragged) by the operating system). Also, the Mac operating system will NOT optimize how the files are placed on the drive. That means that files are spread out all over the drive, which in turn makes the files harder to access for the hard drive-

Drive Genius, a maintenance program for Macintosh computers, defrags the computer more efficiently. Defragmentation enables quicker boot times, and faster opening files and programs. Additionally, it saves wear on drives, making the need for the services of a data recovery Macintosh specialist less likely. Should the drive fail, however, Mac file recovery will be faster and more likely to be successful. This is in part because the files you are trying to recover are indeed in one contiguous space on the drive, making it easier to recover in many cases.