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An Overview of Mac Hard Drive Fragmentation

Slow program startups, major machine slowdowns, slow boot ups, and lack of disk space are some of the common problems of Mac users. Basically, these situations are clear indications of the fact that your Mac is having high degree of fragmentation. The literal meaning of fragmentation is the condition of being fragmented, and with respect to Mac, this concept extends to ‘Free Space Fragmentation’ and ‘File Fragmentation’.

The Free space fragmentation is state of hard drive wherein the drive contains small chunks of free space all over, instead of one large chunk of free memory space. On the other hand, File fragmentation is seen when files are not saved at contagious memory location on the hard drive and are scattered all over. However, both the conditions are the result of frequent saving, deleting, and editing of files.

Let us understand it with a practical example. For example, let’s say you have new Mac machine, which has high storage capacity and offers tremendous performance. Using it for some time, you have stored various files on it. Suppose another day, you delete some files from your Mac hard drive. The Operating System (OS) frees their corresponding memory space and thus, creates small portions of free space on the drive.  These small chunks of empty space among the regions occupied by data are called free space fragments.

When you save a file on this fragmented hard drive, the OS will search for single chunk of free space to assign to this file. However, if it does not find contiguous free memory space, then it fragments the file for saving it at distant locations on the hard drive. In this way, file fragmentation occurs. Since the file is scattered  ( due to the availability of free space), the OS usually takes more time to access this file. Moreover, the OS takes more time to save a new file on hard drive having free space fragmentation. In this way, the performance of your system deteriorates due to fragmentation on the OS X drive.

Mac has built-in safeguards to fix the problem at its roots. However, if your hard drive is almost full (more than 90% occupied), these safeguards fail to overcome the impact of fragmentation. In such cases, you should to go for professional Mac Drive Defragmentation tools. These tools efficiently defrag Mac hard drives and volumes. The advantage of these utilities is that they are completely read-only in nature, thus you do not require any assistance of an expert or knowledge of data recovery to understand their working.

Author Bio:- The author is a Mac OS X expert doing research on Mac Data Recovery. She is also experienced in  OS X Troubleshooting including Drive Defragmentation.

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