Safely Defragging A Mac Disk For Optimal Drive Performance

Posted on Aug 22 2014 - 8:34am by Sarah Cooper


The need for defragmentation of a Mac drive occurs when the traditional hard disk slows down and a defragmentation of the mechanical drive is advisable. This is noticed in the form of performance improvements. Before, we proceed any further, the data needs to be backed up and one has to remember that this defrag operation is not possible on a solid state drive. The defragmentation on the SSD drive will lead to wear and tear, to the limited lifespan of such a drive and not any performance improvement.

There is an option for defragmentation of the Mac drive. The movement and the relocation of the files refer to the location on the hard drive platters and not a logical location on the file system for the OS X. With the defragmentation of the hard drive, the file may be located in the same folder, but bits of the file relocated to different physical locations of the file.

OS X always has an active defragmenter. The process in use is the hotfile adaptive clustering. Small and regularly used files are being moved to such locations on the hard drive, which allows a quick access to such files. The relocation of the files are done through defragmentation in the background and being stacked next to each other in the hot zone of the drive. However, this does not require any form of user intervention.

The built-in OS X utility does not solve the problem for the highly defragmented drive. This is applicable for such drives, which are used regularly, for more than 18 months. What is needed in such a situation is a full defragmentation for the entire data on the hard drive and this leads to a performance improvement, which is perceivable. The problem in this case arises due to the fact that OS X does not have any inbuilt utility for full defragmentation of the disk.

There is another option of “nuke and pave” restore of the drive and thus obtaining the benefits of the defragmentation. A full system defragmentation has the same effect like using the cloning of the drive to an external drive, reformatting the original drive and then copying back the cloned copy back to the original drive, that was cloned.

This problem can be solved with software like Stellar Mac Drive Defrag.Before we start with the use of such a software, we should be able to have a full backup of all the important data. As data will be moving around the drive, there are chances of data loss or corruption. This Mac defrag tool actually increases the data access speed with the help of defragging of Mac files on the drive, including the boot volume. It has features like optimization of the free space with the formation of contiguous memory space. An efficient algorithm is used for examination of the free space and then keeping on one location, in order to avoid fragmentation. There is significant performance improvement as a result, with the reduction of the disk head movement.

The other important features can be colours for free space and selected files, a graphical view of the drive temperature with necessary actions on approaching the threshold limit. The software can also collect logically related pieces of scattered data in nearby locations for easier access of data. Faster access to the data is also done by metadata defragmentation of such files like extent overflow, catalog, allocation and attribute files. The defragmentation of the boot volume of the system can be done by the bootable Mac DVD. The bootable image file (.dmg) is downloaded for a Maverick and then turned into a DVD, for a defragmentation of the boot volume.

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