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Last Updated December 10, 2003

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Disk Defragmentation 

When Microsoft first introduced the NTFS file system, a disk defragmentation program was not included with Windows NT, because (in theory) NTFS was not prone to fragmentation the way FAT was. Years later, we've discovered that fragmentation can be a big problem with NTFS. In response, Microsoft has included a "light" version of a popular defragmentation program free with Windows 2000. However, you're needs may exceed what this free version can provide. Find out what the limitations are, how fragmentation affects performance, and what your options are.

Where to Start
HOW TO: Analyze and Defragment a Disk Volume
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 300978 - This step-by-step guide is intended for users who want to perform maintenance on disk volumes on Windows 2000-based servers or desktops. Analyzing and defragmenting disk volumes can help to preserve the performance and general operation of the system. 

HOW TO: Effectively Use the Disk Defragmenter Tool in Windows 2000 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 318759 - This step-by-step article describes how to effectively use the Disk Defragmenter tool in Windows 2000. The Disk Defragmenter tool that is included with Windows 2000 is based on Executive Software's full retail version of Diskeeper. This version provides limited functionality to maintain disk performance by defragmenting volumes that use the FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file system 

Maintaining Windows 2000 Peak Performance through Defragmentation
In order to maintain peak levels of reliability and performance, Windows 2000 has been equipped with a manual defragmenter developed by Executive Software in cooperation with Microsoft. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an outline of the basics of fragmentation/defragmentation, and to explain the functionality of the manual defragmenter, known as 'Disk Defragmenter,' that is built into Windows 2000 Source: Microsoft TechNet

NSTL White Paper System Performance and File Fragmentation In Windows NT
Comprehensive whitepaper that explains defragmentation, how it degrades performance, how NTFS gets defragmented, cluster sizes, Master boot tables, and more. Source: (October, 1999)

Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter Limitations
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227463 - The Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter tool is based on Executive Software's full retail version of Diskeeper. The version included with Windows 2000 provides limited functionality in maintaining disk performance by defragmenting volumes that.. 

You Need Disk Defragmentation For Win 2K
Article by Robert E. Nolan, President and CEO, Raxco Software that discusses characteristics, fragmentation Costs, managing free space, optimizing your disks, and more.  Source: Planet IT (March 10, 2000)


Files Excluded by the Disk Defragmenter Tool
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227350 - Microsoft Windows 2000 includes a built-in Disk Defragmenter tool. This tool excludes certain files because of known issues with moving these files. Also, files that are locked for exclusive use by another process are skipped. 

Inside Windows NT Disk Defragmenting
Great article by Mark Russovich which discusses defragmentation on NTFS.

Intelligent File Placement Technology: The Key to Disk Defragmentation
Whitepaper by Raxco, that claims 58 percent of any I/O operation is disk seek time, and that reducing seek time by defragmenting files can play an important part in increasing application performance. Source: ENT Magazine

Raxco, Symantec Challenge Executive Software for Defragging Bragging Rights
A look at Windows NT/2000 defragmentation products from Executive Software, Raxco Inc. and Symantec Corp. (, including new advances. Source: ENT Magazine (Jan 12, 2000)

Running Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter Requires Administrator Privileges
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 231176 - Windows 2000 includes a Disk Defragmenter tool. Although any user can gain access to the Disk Defragmenter console, the ability to analyze or defragment a volume requires administrator privileges. 

Scheduling Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter
Discusses disk defragmentation in Windows 2000 and presents a script that lets you schedule the defragmentation process (the new OS doesn't let you do so). Source: Windows & .NET Magazine (March 6, 2000)

Troubleshooting: Known Bugs and Issues

Analyze Operation Suggests Defragmenting Disk Multiple Times
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 229850 - If you use the Disk Defragmenter tool to defragment a disk that is highly fragmented, there may be insufficient free space to effectively defragment the files. If this condition exists and you perform a defragment operation and then immediately

Disk Defragmenter Analysis Shows More File Fragments Than File Size Suggests 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 228198 - A Disk Defragmenter analysis on a volume that uses the NTFS file system may report some files with a large number of fragments even though the file sizes are small.

Disk Defragmenter on FAT32 Volume Hangs with Long Path Names
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 260919 - When you are defragmenting a FAT32 volume, Disk Defragmenter may seem to stop responding (hang) at the "Analyzing Volume" stage. This behavior occurs only on FAT32 volumes with a large number of files and folders with long path names.

Disk Defragmentation Causes Excessive FRS Replication Traffic
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article  Q282791 - When you use disk defragmentation utilities to optimize logical drives that host File Replication service (FRS) replicated content, the following symptoms may occur: 

Error Message "Disk Defragmenter Could Not Initialize"
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 274106 - When you attempt to analyze or defragment an NTFS volume using the Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter utility, you may receive the following error message: Disk Defragmenter could not initialize.  This error message does not occur when you analyze or defragment other FAT, FAT32, or NTFS volumes. This issue only occurs on highly fragmented NTFS volumes whose Master File Table (MFT) is also highly fragmented.

The Free Space in the GUI Display Map of the Defragmenter Utility May Not Match the Free Space in the Defragmentation Report
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 294950 - After you run the Windows 2000 built-in Disk Defragmenter utility, the defragmentation report may indicate that there is a high percentage of free space on the disk, but the graphical user interface (GUI - display map may indicate very few or no areas of free space (represented by white-colored areas on the map). The GUI display map does not seem to accurately represent the free space that is recorded in the defragmentation report.

Windows 2000 Professional Upgrade Can Cause Disk Fragmentation
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 262627 - After you upgrade from Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 98 to Windows 2000 Professional, the Disk Defragmenter tool may report that the hard disk is fragmented and should be defragmented. This behavior can occur even if you defragmented the drive before you upgraded to Window 2000 Professional.

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