Role of OS X in Fine-Tuning Your Mac and Why You Need to Switch to an External Defragmentation Source

by Guest Author on November 25, 2012

in Guest Posts, Mac OS X

PC users tend to delve into a number of things while performing routine maintenance, including software updation, cache cleaning, and more. One of the important maintenance tasks that needs to be repeated periodically is drive defragmentation. A Mac user doesn’t need to wary of such things, as Mac has the ability to optimize itself without requiring any effort on your part. The idea of defragmenting an OS X hard drive is surrounded by various myths and uncertainties. Following the Apple’s guidance, you don’t need defragmentation on Mac at all. However, the built-in routines are not always foolproof, which means you may benefit from defragmentation in a few rare cases.

How Apple Addresses Fragmentation on Mac Hard Drive

Apple has several built-in measures to help you keep your Mac running at peak performance. It can counter the problem at its root to help you avoid fragmentation from occurring in the first place.

  • The OS X file system (HFS+) has a knack of utilizing free space that is available as a large chunk of memory. It does not allocate recently freed file space to store data on the hard drive. As a result, files are not divided into fragments, instead all the data in the file is stored contiguously.
  • OS X regularly attempts to combine a group of small-sized files and then store them on a larger free portion of the drive. This process involves defragmenting the files prior to actual storage.
  • Mac OS X has a dedicated area on the hard drive known as ‘Hot Zone’ that offers fastest access. In order to get performance gains, OS X transfers all the frequently-accessed and read-only files to this zone. It defragments these files during the transfer operation.
  • OS X also performs defragmentation during typical operations, such as when you open a file. If determines the number of fragments of the file. If the file has more than eight fragments, it will automatically defragment it.

Why Defragmentation is Required on Mac Hard Drives

OS X safeguards are a treat for the Mac users. However, these come in handy when your drive is not more than 90% occupied. If the drive is almost full and has no free space available, these inbuilt defragmentation routines might fail to work. As a consequence, you may experience slowdowns, sluggishness, and poor performance. This is when you need to perform external defragmentation through a commercial utility.

There are a plethora of professional utilities on the market that safely defrag Mac drive to give you optimal Mac performance. With the help of these tools, you can comb through the selected drive to locate fragments of large data files and store them in contiguous locations on the drive. You have the flexibility to choose from a range of defragmentation algorithms to meet your requirements. You can perform full defragmentation of your drive at once or choose to defrag files, metadata, and unused space separately. Further, these software support the latest Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and all the lower versions.

Note: SSD drives should not be defragmented!

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Guest article written by: Vishal, is a technical advisor cum Mac OS expert currently working on its upgraded Mac Mini OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2. He is breaking the ice on the not so favored term known as ‘OS X Mac drive defragmentation need‘.

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Guest article written by: Vishal, is a technical advisor cum Mac OS expert currently working on its upgraded Mac Mini OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2. He is breaking the ice on the not so favored term known as ‘OS X Mac drive defragmentation need‘.

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