Defrag MacBook Pro?

Started Jan 8, 2012 | Discussions
Elbert Zip Johnson
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Defrag MacBook Pro?
Jan 8, 2012

How does one defrag the HD in a Mac Book Pro lab top?
Can you walk me through the steps?
Would that same steps apply to a mac mini?
-- thanks
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noirdesir
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

Elbert Zip Johnson wrote:

How does one defrag the HD in a Mac Book Pro lab top?
Can you walk me through the steps?

OS X does some automatic defragging in the background (last time I checked for file up to 25 MB). Apart from that (for which you don't have to do anything), there is simplistic way of cloning your disk to an external drive, wiping the internal drive and then clone it back. Or the more elegant way of running an application like iDefrag.

Would that same steps apply to a mac mini?

Absolutely, they have the same OS (though maybe not exactly the same version of it in your case) and the same file system (technically the MBP is Intel whereas the mini could theoretically be PPC and thus could have a different partition table).

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Conchita
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

But defragging is largely unnecessary on macs unless you do a lot of video work. Macs just aren't as put out by fragmentation as windows is, for the most part.

Cloning is a great way since you should be backing up anyway, but I've never gone out of my way to defrag any mac I've ever owned and it's never been an issue.

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Howard Moftich
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Conchita, Jan 8, 2012

in 12 years, I've never defrag'd any Mac. They really do not need it.

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pluton
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

the program "Drive Genius" came for free with a purchase, and every once in a while I have used it to defrag my MBP's. It takes about five hours for a partially filled 500GB 5400rpm drive in a MBP.
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Elbert Zip Johnson
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to pluton, Jan 8, 2012

hmm i was just checking since i got this computer 29 mac book pro from my daughter in collage. she had it for three years & i wanted to clean it up for my use...
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MrMojo
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Yes Indeed, If It Needs It...
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, Macs running OS X can become fragmented. The amount of fragmentation over time depends on how much you use it and what you do with the Mac. I've seen Macs with severe fragmentation.

Download iDefrag. You can check the amount of fragmentation without having to pay for the software. iDefrag can do its magic without erasing the entire drive. Great software at a reasonable price.

The cheap option is to copy the internal drive to an external, then use Disk Utility to erase the internal. Then use SuperDuper! to copy the external to the internal. SD! is free if you don't need backup scheduling and incremental backups.

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tonyjr
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

I use Drive genius and tech tool pro .
I do run check / repair system , then defrag about once a month .

I copy my photos to a folder on desk top - then separate Jpeg and CR2 into folders , view / rename some , then copy to 3 different back up drives
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Menneisyys
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Howard Moftich, Jan 8, 2012

Indeed. Basically, it's only the desktop that should be kept clean (mostly of images) to avoid excessive slowdowns.

Howard Moftich wrote:

in 12 years, I've never defrag'd any Mac. They really do not need it.

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vdubreeze
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Menneisyys, Jan 8, 2012

Probably doesn't apply to this case, but I've checked large Aperture libraries that did become fairly fragmented, copied them, wiped (and opened more space for the heck of it) and copied back and did detect a very slight improvement.

But, yeah, the defragging that was wise to do periodically with System 7 on the SE is basically a thing of the past. System changes and files are handled with drive area in mind. Probably a good in concept to start with a clean slate every blue moon, but most things really don't fragment and affect performance with modern computers in the way it used to. If I've been working a bit on an internal where the space headroom has shrunken too much I might archive a bunch of large files to free up a large chunk and then just copy back in progress files and libraries (which would be then not as fragmented), but that's mostly just to pat myself on the back for being organized and gaining .05% back in responsiveness in this old dog of a MBP.

I might consider it for a drive handed down with files, but running a defragger on a modern Mac in regular use isn't really necessary, IMO. OTOH, in this case, if the OP is going through a full drive drive and cherry picking out the files they won't want to the trash, this could leave gaps in random areas that, if the drive fills up, might cause new large files to need to seek out these smaller spaces. In that case it might be wise, and certainly couldn't hurt. But most of us would more likely back it all up and wipe it and then replace just what we wanted. Pretty much the same outcome.

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Elbert Zip Johnson, Jan 8, 2012

As a rule, it makes little difference to the main system drive, although as mentioned heavy fragmentation can occur. OSX does handle some of the work, but not all.

It has been mentioned in the past that defragmenting an Aperture Library can be helpful to performance there. I use iDefrag myself for that.

However, I'd also be wary of overdoing it too. Remember that any such process involves moving data around on the hard drive surface, and any minor blip (bug in the software, power surge, etc.) during these operations could result in data corruption, or even a non-functioning system.

Even with a comprehensive backup system, minor data corruption might not be noticed for some time - perhaps even months or years later (it could be an archived document, or some photos that are rarely looked at, but may have personal value). It's quite possible for these corrupt files to end up being put into the next backup.

My own feeling is to not fix anything unless it's obviously broken. Is the system really going slowly? Are you sure nothing else is causing it? Run less destructive options first perhaps - try clearing old caches and run maintenance scripts (use Onyx or Cocktail for example). Repair permissions, and even simply try rebooting. Even less obvious things can cause system problems, such as a poor/faulty USB hub.

One thing that might work better, faster, and more reliably is Disk Warrior, which rebuilds the disk directory - this in itself can get fragmented, and simply rebuilding the directly can often improve performance without defragmenting the entire drive. It's often used to recover a failed drive, but I use it routinely to prevent issues building up in the first place. Indeed, regular errors reported here might be the early signs of a drive failure.

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Yes Indeed, If It Needs It...
In reply to MrMojo, Jan 8, 2012

The cheap option is to copy the internal drive to an external, then use Disk Utility to erase the internal. Then use SuperDuper! to copy the external to the internal. SD! is free if you don't need backup scheduling and incremental backups.

You can also use the Recover/Restore feature built into Disk Utility.

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Peter Rongsted
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to vdubreeze, Jan 8, 2012

vdubreeze wrote:

Probably doesn't apply to this case, but I've checked large Aperture libraries that did become fairly fragmented, copied them, wiped (and opened more space for the heck of it) and copied back and did detect a very slight improvement.

But, yeah, the defragging that was wise to do periodically with System 7 on the SE is basically a thing of the past. System changes and files are handled with drive area in mind. Probably a good in concept to start with a clean slate every blue moon, but most things really don't fragment and affect performance with modern computers in the way it used to. If I've been working a bit on an internal where the space headroom has shrunken too much I might archive a bunch of large files to free up a large chunk and then just copy back in progress files and libraries (which would be then not as fragmented), but that's mostly just to pat myself on the back for being organized and gaining .05% back in responsiveness in this old dog of a MBP.

If you let the drive get almost full and then clean up to get some free space and repeat the cycle a few times you can end up with some very fragmented files. Last time my drive was filling up I checked and found a 1.5GB file (a video) that was in approx 20000 fragments. I must say though that I didn't really feel any performance hit but that has happened in the past. OS X does not like an almost full boot drive.

Peter

P.S. I have replaced the 500GB drive with a 750GB drive

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Luvthelight
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Peter Rongsted, Jan 9, 2012
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Peter Rongsted
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Luvthelight, Jan 9, 2012

Luvthelight wrote:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375

Whe I try ti follow the link I get a 404 error. It has happened a lot lately. What was in the link page?

Peter

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Jim F
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Question for Messeisyys ....
In reply to Menneisyys, Jan 9, 2012

Menneisyys wrote:

Indeed. Basically, it's only the desktop that should be kept clean (mostly of images) to avoid excessive slowdowns.

(not wanting to hijack this thread) curious about your comment that the desktop should be kept clean (especially images). I'll park a few dozen images there from time to time as I am working on various projects or tests. That said, never have defragged my MBP or the one I owned before my current 2009 unit.
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noirdesir
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Re: Question for Messeisyys ....
In reply to Jim F, Jan 9, 2012

Jim F wrote:

(not wanting to hijack this thread) curious about your comment that the desktop should be kept clean (especially images). I'll park a few dozen images there from time to time as I am working on various projects or tests.

The Desktop is a in a sense just a special Finder window, special in two aspects: (a) it has a background image and (b) constantly 'open' (it might be hidden by other applications but it is constantly 'running' in the background). Rendering a large number of file icons in front of a background image requires more resources than rendering them in front of a white background (and likely there are non-rendering tasks like reading the file size and other metadata that could use measurable resources if applied to a large enough number of items). And since the Desktop is always 'running', these resources are constantly needed (compared to other locations on disk which are only polled when the corresponding window is opened).

At least that is what I have been told (or what I remember having been told). There definitely was in the past a measurable performance hit with hundreds or thousands of items on the Desktop. Not sure how relevant this still is with computers having gotten a lot faster since maybe ten years ago when I first heard about this issue.

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graybalanced
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Re: Question for Messeisyys ....
In reply to noirdesir, Jan 10, 2012

The fastest way to defrag a Mac is clone it, wipe the disk, clone the copy back on.

noirdesir wrote:

Jim F wrote:

(not wanting to hijack this thread) curious about your comment that the desktop should be kept clean (especially images). I'll park a few dozen images there from time to time as I am working on various projects or tests.

...Rendering a large number of file icons in front of a background image requires more resources...At least that is what I have been told (or what I remember having been told). There definitely was in the past a measurable performance hit with hundreds or thousands of items on the Desktop. Not sure how relevant this still is with computers having gotten a lot faster since maybe ten years ago when I first heard about this issue.

It's probably not as much of an issue as it used to be, but it's easy to clean up the Desktop when I work on my friend's Macs. I just tell them to make a new folder called "Desktop stuff" and just throw everything in there. Instant clean desktop!

I believe the performance concerns were valid ten years ago, which is why, in the first versions of OS X, Apple did not allow you to store anything on the Desktop. Users howled in protest, so Apple eventually relented. But even today you can find a preference for it, some utilities let you disable use of the Desktop.

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Zee Char
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Andy Hewitt, Jan 10, 2012

That iDefrag looks interesting. I am using Onyx. Will there be any issues between the both? If I use iDegrag should I stop using Onyx?

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Defrag MacBook Pro?
In reply to Zee Char, Jan 10, 2012

Zee Char wrote:

That iDefrag looks interesting. I am using Onyx. Will there be any issues between the both? If I use iDegrag should I stop using Onyx?

No, they do different jobs, Onyx does't do defragmenting.

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