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Old December 19th, 2003, 12:33 PM   #1
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de-fragmenting

I run FCP 3.0 on OSX. Although I've had no problems, should I consider running a de-fragmenting program, such as Norton, as a preventative measure, or does OSX have that feature already built into it?
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Old December 19th, 2003, 03:52 PM   #2
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Norton seems to be the worst of all the programs that are supposed to fix your computer. You should leave Norton virus scan off and stay away from its defragmenting utility. Both are known issues if I remember correctly.

Do you need to defrag?
If you run solely OS X, you do not need to defrag. OS X is good at avoiding fragmentation. Keep video on its own drive and you should be fine. Video files don't cause fragmentation so it's ok to leave the video drive alone.
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Old December 19th, 2003, 06:18 PM   #3
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I agree keeping files on their own dedicated drive. When you are done with a project, just erase everything and that is as good as defragged. Or is it? Only if you zero the drive.

People claim that Mac OS X does not need defragging. Not true. I have yet to hear a logical explanation of HOW fragmentation is, or even could be avoided. OS X does defrag certain portions whenever you install a program or update though (called 'optimizing') so that does help. But it is still a Mac OS Extended drive. Even a UNIX formatted drive cannot completely avoid fragmentation. Not until they come out with fast and affordable mass solid state storage will fragmentation be a thing of the past.

Looking at graphs in DiskWarrior, the Mac OS X drive on my machine does show fragmentation. Nothing that I'd consider severe, at least not yet. The bottom line should basically be: Don't sweat it, but that doesn't mean you'll never ever need to defrag in the future.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 10:42 AM   #4
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Part of the confusion may come from the way OSX works. My understanding is that there is code built into the operatinf system to sort of defragment itself. however this is limited to files under a certain size (2 MB?). Not very useful given the size of files we use for video editing.....

I've used Disk Warrior and it shows fragmentation. I've also had typical fragmentation problems (dropped frames) cured by defragging the hard drive. It is certainly possible that OSX is better than other operating systems but I don't think it is immune to the problem.
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 02:40 PM   #5
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Fragmentation is caused by files that change size. That happens when files either grow, shrink, or are deleted. Usually to really fragment a drive you need lots of small files that grow/shrink or get deleted. On a video drive with only large files that don't grow or shrink you shouldn't really have much of a problem. On your system drive it could be worth defragging every six months or so. If your drive isn't very full then you really don't need to do it.

On a friend's laptop computer, fragmentation REALLY slowed down his computer. His hard drive was partitioned. The slow partition was about 20GB and 86% full. He was running windows XP. So it's possible for fragmentation to really slow down your computer, but I wouldn't worry about it unless you've been:
A- Using your computer for a long time
B- It's your system+applications drive
C- It's getting full
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 11:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Part of the confusion may come from the way OSX works. My understanding is that there is code built into the operatinf system to sort of defragment itself. however this is limited to files under a certain size (2 MB?). Not very useful given the size of files we use for video editing.....
It's called Hot File Adaptive Clustering and it works on files under 20 MB in size. When a file is accessed it is checked for fragmentation and defraged at that time, if needed. Most media drives don't get fragmented as long as you don't delete files during a project. When the project is finished, format the media drive and you're good to go. Most system files are under 20 MB and are rarely deleted.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #7
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So what is a good defrag program to use other than Norton?
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Old January 16th, 2004, 09:31 PM   #8
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Defragmenting of HD's is rarely, rarely needed. Did I mention it is rarely needed? I'm not trying to be a smart *ss, but defragmenting under OS 10.3.x is not needed in almost all cases. I have seen defragmenting drives cause more problems than it ever solved. I use Disk Warrior, it has a utility that rebuilds (defragments) directories. I would not use any other utility with OS X.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 11:36 PM   #9
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Norton is pretty bad on Macs. People seem to get a lot of various problems with it. One conflict is when you are capturing, Norton suspects the new file is a virus and causes dropped frames.

Disk Warrior should be better.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 05:17 AM   #10
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I agree: The only situation where my Mac needed defragging after a LOT of continuous use when the disk grew really full.
Having said that, I haven't had a bad experience with Norton: I think the trick to using Norton is not to install on the HD, and simply run it off the CD. Don't install Norton Antivirus, and select the 'Optimize for Multimedia' option. It cured a frame skip problem I was having in a jiffy.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 09:35 AM   #11
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My experiences:

I used to love Norton, many years ago. Since the inception of OSX, though, it's gotten almost unusable - except for SpeedDisk, which I still use.

I have encountered severe fragmentation of disks more than once. This is usually after a few months of heavy use with raw photo and multimedia files and after big projects with tons of rewrites, etc. Throw in system updates and it can add up to a fragmented drive.

I, too, swear by DiskWarrior and it's now the only directory diagnostic utility I use, even though I own TechToolPro and the Micromat tech who hangs out on the Macfixit.com boards is a very useful resource.

I still use SpeedDisk to degragment, though, and have never had a problem with it. I stopped using Norton Disk Doctor last year after it began to create more problems than it fixed. This made me sad, as Norton saved my butt more than once over the years.

I don't defrag that often now, especially as I've been able to add more drives and dedicate a couple to strictly media
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 01:34 PM   #12
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yeah, diskwarrior is my weapon of choice these days as well but I still use SpeedDisk every once in a while.

I've got 4 media drives going at the same time and as long as I've got lots of room left on them regularly I don't think I need to defrag since I'm deleting or archiving the larger files.

If I have a drive that is pretty full and is also a scratch or render drive I keep an eye on it and will defrag it before others since as sound and video renders get added and deleted they can get fragmented.

Be VERY careful with utilities if you are running Panther. Panther automatically activates Journalling which is good because it will help if you have any massive problems but some older utilities have a habit of changing things they shouldn't.

Another recommended utility is:

onyX - free program to check and fix permissions, run the daily/weekly/monthly scripts, delete caches, optimize the system among other things.
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