Files not to be moved

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by zarzenz, Jul 14, 2004.

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  1. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    This is something I've wondered about for a while.

    When doing a defrag, there are always a fair number of files that are marked as not to be moved. They can be at the start of the drive, the middle or towards the end. So... why.
    What is it about these files that dictates they must stay put.

    Surely if all files were moveable, this would make the defrag process more efficient. But by having files that are fixed on the drive in this way must mean that other files then have to be positioned around them so to speak and must give the defragger more work to do.

    Anyone know why files get fixed like this.
     
  2. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    If you are defragging within Windows, some files cannot be moved because Windows is using them.

    A file with all its parts stored in one location on a disk is described as "contiguous." If a file is not contiguous, it’s fragmented; broken into pieces that are scattered throughout the disk. And defrag should move them.

    It’s the file system, not Disk Defragmenter, that takes care of all data movement.

    The APIs do not support defragmentation of the MFT, the Paging File, FAT directories, or files open for exclusive use—for example, Windows registry.
    NTFS directories can be defragmented in Windows 2000

    The following files are permanently excluded from being defragmented. These files may be displayed in the analysis report as still being fragmented no matter how many times you defragment the drive.

    Moving the following file can cause desktop problems, if the Recycle Bin or the Recycler folders are removed:
    %SystemRoot%\ShellIconCache

    Moving the following files (if present) can cause desktop problems:
    Safeboot.fs
    Safeboot.csv
    Safeboot.rsv
    Bootsec.doc

    The following files are unmoveable system files. They are always displayed in green in the defragment analysis display:

    NTFS Master File Table (MFT) and Reserved MFT Zone: Usually contiguous at the very beginning of a NTFS volume but can become fragmented if many files and folders are added to a volume.

    NTFS Master File table Mirror (MFTMirr): Usually located in the middle of a volume and is already contiguous.

    Virtual Memory Paging file: Used for temporarily swapping pages of memory to disk.
     
  3. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply there Ron.

    I see, so there are quite a lot of files that are not meant ever to be moved or problems may result, and yes, I was meaning within Windows itself, and can see now that this would result in some files being in use... obviously the defrag program itself being one.

    I am still using WinME... which has always been absolutely flawless for me, and I currently use a little freeware program called PowerDefrag, but I am tempted to use another program... a free version of Diskeeper I have on a PC mag cover disk here somewhere. Anyway... I will just let the programs do what they got to do and not be too concerned anymore about these important fixed files.

    Ok... cheers for this info. :)
     
  4. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    I use PerfectDisk on Xp. It is for Me also. I just upgraded to 6.0. It makes a difference in the way my computer runs.
    There are several options as to the way you can defrag.

    http://www.raxco.com/products/downloadit/
     
  5. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    Thanks for the link there Ron.

    I'll check it out now. :)
     
  6. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Obviously Defrag (or whatever you use in its place) can't clean itself, since it's in use at the time.

    But if you have more than one defragger, "rotate" which one you use once in a while, that way each one can clean up the other(s).
     
  7. zarzenz

    zarzenz Registered Member

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    That's an interseting idea there Mike... cheers... I could try that.

    In fact now you come to mention it, I'm sure I did run that Diskeeper program a long time ago, and when it threw up that the drive was still fragmented after I just did a defrag using PowerDefrag, I thought there must be something wrong with it, as it was a give-away on a cover disk, and never used it again.

    But now, I see from what you say, this should have been expected, and so I may well try it again, and also the one Ron linked to, and see how they all compare in this respect.

    It would also be interesting to run them all again in different orders to see just how much fragmentation, a particular defrag program causes.

    Kinda feels like we could be trying to chase our tails on this, looking for the perfect defragged drive, if only for a few seconds... maybe even this is impossible... maybe its just the nature of the operating system that means this goal is not possible in the constantly changing world we now live.
     
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