How to deal with Fragmentation Causing Mac Drive to Choke on Free Spaces
Fragmentation is the major cause behind poor performance of the Mac systems, which usually occurs due to the excessive data read/write operations. Apart from this, the major factor that causes fragmentation on Mac is the HFS+ file system, which implements inefficient memory (storage space) allocation algorithm. Consequently, large files are not able to acquire free blocks due to their smaller sizes. Well, you look pretty confused, don’t you? Let me walk you through fragmentation and its basic causes.
When a hard drive is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), all its space is automatically divided into blocks of different sizes in order to save individual files. However, when it comes to allocate blocks to the files you save, the memory allocation algorithm fails to do intended job efficiently. Consequently, storage blocks are allocated randomly and inefficiently. For instance, a file of 20 KB acquires a block that can store 24 KB file, thereby causing wastage of free space that is termed as fragment. A number of such blocks inside the contiguously acquired regions of the hard drive cause wastage of huge amount of free space.
Thus, a state of the hard drive in which files are stored inefficiently, thereby causing huge wastage of disk space and adversely affecting the response time of the files is termed as fragmentation. Consequently, the overall performance of the computer undergoes a huge downfall.
Well, the randomly allocated blocks not only result in free space found inside the occupied blocks, they also cause unavailability of the large blocks required to store large files. Consequently, the HFS+ file system on Mac OS X breaks large files into segments of smaller sizes so as to store them in the available blocks, which on the other hand causes data fragmentation – a deprived state of data in which individual files are stored in multiple blocks in a non-contiguous manner. All such files take longer time to respond whenever they are read/write accessed. In order to deal with such a poor state of the Mac systems, a commercial defragmentation tool is required.
Mac OS X, though, has inbuilt disk management tool namely, Disk Utility. However, when it comes to drive defrag Mac, Disk Utility fails. In fact, there is no defragmentation utility in Mac OS X. Thus, you have to opt for an external defragmentation tool to improve the performance of your Mac system.
A commercial defragmentation tool analyses the fragmented hard drive, Mac file system, and space allocation algorithm thoroughly, and then it goes on with the defragmentation task that involves reorganising the overall blocks of the hard drive in their original logical orders. In addition, all fragments or free spaces inside the allocated blocks of the hard drive are extracted to create larger block of the free space, which is further split into smaller blocks to store files at later times.
You might have heard of defragmentation being the cause of data compression, corruption, or many like issues. However, defragmentation involves reorganization of physical blocks containing files, not any sort of compression or like programs. In case you are unaware of the fact that even Mac file system performs defragmentation whenever a file is opened, let me tell you that the process is applicable only on the files below 20 MB of size. To defrag large files on Mac, a commercial defragmentation tool is required.
Also read, Would You Defrag OS X Mavericks?
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