SOURCE: Boyers Marketing

September 26, 2007 12:38 ET

Despite Expert Recommendations Few Businesses Regularly Defrag

Defragging Computers Speeds Operations, Improves Efficiency, Saves Money -- So Why Aren't Businesses Defragging?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - September 26, 2007) - According to a survey conducted by online polling and market research survey provider Vizu Corporation, over 42% of PC users fail to defragment their computers, even though IT experts agree that defragging is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to enhance computer speed and functionality. Even though businesses stand to save both time money by using defragmentation as part of their regular computer maintenance protocol, a surprising number of businesses are not even aware of the damage file fragmentation does to the efficiency of their operations.

Despite the importance of defragging computer files, an astonishing 28% of survey respondents admitted that they didn't even know what disk fragmentation is!

During normal computer usage, a single program or file will be broken up, or fragmented, into little pieces and stored in many different areas of the hard disk. Such fragmentation slows down the speed at which data is accessed because the disk drive must search through countless locations to put together a single file. The more broken up the information is, the longer it takes to access the data and the slower the computer becomes.

The increasing size of applications, operating systems, and multimedia files such as songs, photos and movies, as well as the greater storage capacity of larger hard drives, has increased problems caused by fragmentation, making defragging even more essential. Defragmentation can enable such common activities such as word processing, web-surfing, and anti-virus scans to proceed as much as 15 times faster by reorganizing the fragments on a hard disk into contiguous files.

Enterprise computers are especially vulnerable to the effects of fragmentation, because the greater the number of files, the greater a problem fragmentation becomes. In addition to ordinary business files, in the enterprise environment, additional factors come into play. Recent government regulations, including Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Patriot Act, all have mandates requiring secure storage of critical information that can run to millions of files. In many cases, deleting such files is actually a federal offence.

In the enterprise, all servers and workstations across the network need to be defragged. Files in an enterprise environment are typically stored in Storage Area Networks (SANs) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems, and the fragmentation of these files needs to be regularly attended to. But many temporary files are also stored locally, and fragmentation of local files undermines the performance of Web browsers and email programs.

Obviously, then, defragging is essential, but too many enterprise IT departments fail to incorporate defragging as part of their routine computer maintenance. This neglect can lead to costly problems ranging from slow file processing speed, to downtime because of application errors, to an outright crash -- not to mention the man hours spent on troubleshooting slow servers, increased calls to the help desk, and possibly even the purchase of new hardware.

Experts recommend that end users defrag their computers regularly to optimize performance. In fact, in enterprise environments, some analysts advise daily defragmentation for critical systems.

Businesses that ignore fragmentation can suffer from both reduced productivity and increased costs. A simple, cost-effective solution to the problem of file fragmentation is to regularly run an effective disk defragmenter utility, designed to reorganize noncontiguous files into contiguous files and optimize their placement on the hard drive for increased reliability and performance.

As the Vizu survey shows, far too many enterprise end users fail to recognize how important defragging is -- and how simple it can be.

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