Defragging a mac?

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Defragging a mac?

Postby suffer-cait » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:15 am UTC

So I know Supposedly Macs don't need defragging, but I think mine does. I was wondering if anyone knew how to do this? The internet tells me I need to download programs, but I know I had an ex who did it for me and didn't download anything. Sadly, I can't just call and ask. So can anyone here help me?
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby Laguana » Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:07 pm UTC

Why do you think you need to defragment?

I'm no expert, but if you are using HFS+ as your file system, then according to this experimental analysis, it tends to keep itself reasonably defragmented where possible, and manual defragmentation isn't trivial.

I also found a more recent piece from apple which agrees that you probably don't need to worry about fragmentation.

If you're really definitely sure that fragmentation is an issue and you absolutely must fix it, it seems that one option is to get another hard drive, copy everything across (which will fill it sequentially with non-fragmented files) then copy things back / use that new hard drive.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby suffer-cait » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:26 pm UTC

I am using about 92% of my hard-drive currently. The way macs auto defrag, doesn't apply to files above 20MB, of which i deal in often. That first link of yours qualifies me as those who might benifit from a defragmentation. My computer is not in the best of health right now, so i'm giving it all i can.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby think_of_a_shape » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:33 am UTC

There's some shareware and free disk utilities here some of them mention defragging
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby suffer-cait » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:43 pm UTC

so none of the freeware mentions defragging in terms i recognise, but i am looking at downloading Purge and DesInstaller. do these seem worthwhile and safe? anything else you would recommend? i really have no idea what i'm doing.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby think_of_a_shape » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:12 am UTC

I would have more free space on any mac hard drive if I wanted it perform to its maximum. I don't think defragging will fix any better than having more free space.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby suffer-cait » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:15 am UTC

i'd like more free space. i'm running out. but i will try the RAM one
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby KnowsNothing » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:15 am UTC

There is no defragging on a Mac natively, as you shouldn't have to defrag. If you're at 92%, you should offload some of the large files to an external drive, or purchase a larger drive.

If you really want to try defragging, there are some 3rd party programs like iDefrag, but again, I doubt it will do much due to your disk usage.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby Jplus » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:16 pm UTC

Yes, start by moving files to another disk to free up space. If you want a disk to perform normally you have to leave at least a quarter of the space unoccupied, and preferably more.

If you have another hard disk that is at least as large as the one you're trying to defrag, you can do the following:
1. Clone your fragmented disk to the new disk, using SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner.
2. Erase the old disk.
3. Clone the contents of the new disk back to the old disk. This is optional, since the files on the new disk are already defragmented and optimally placed.

If the old disk is also your startup drive, you can boot from the new disk before you continue to step 2.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby suffer-cait » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

the idea here is to not have to get an external drive. but maybe i can find a loner.
Cheese: cait, we'd build a castle just for you if we had the resources and manpower.
pollywog: cait is probably the only person on the planet that's cooler than me.
Cheese: See, caitie knows what she's doing. Listen to her. She is Pretty Fucking AwesomeTM.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby KnowsNothing » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

suffer-cait wrote:the idea here is to not have to get an external drive. but maybe i can find a loner.


If you need all those files, you can always backup your machine, install the new drive, reinstall OS X, and during the install, pull from your backup (assuming time machine here). I upgraded my hard drive to a solid state drive, picked up a USB3 external enclosure, and have my old hard drive sit in that as a backup drive/large file storage. It sits in my laptop bag, doesn't take much space at all.

If you have a Macbook Air, I'm afraid there isn't much in the way of upgrading those hard drives for a reasonable price, and an external drive is probably your best bet.

If your aim is to not spend money, I'm not sure what else you can do. As far as I'm concerned, there should always be at least one external HD that is the same size or larger than your internal drive, used for backups. It is never a bad investment to have a back up, and generally external drives will last the lifespan of a few computers.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby stevenros » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:09 am UTC

suffer-cait wrote:the idea here is to not have to get an external drive. but maybe i can find a loner.


I think it will be nice to for a third party defragmenting tool instead of a new hard drive. I will save your money and effort as well.

Its true that HFS+ file system can handle the fragmentaion. But when the hard drive is almost full (as in your case ) its suggested to defrag your Mac drive to synchronize your files.
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Re: Defragging a mac?

Postby Ankit1010 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:44 am UTC

You should consider formatting your drive and re-installing OS X before taking any steps towards better hardware. My macbook was being EXTREMELY sluggish recently, and defragmenting (twice, using Drive Genius 3) did not help at all. After I cleared out some files, formatted and reinstalled OS X, its been running like a charm.

This applies especially if you have an SSD - it's probably just the OS.
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