SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

August 10, 2009 18:29 ET

Defrag: Don't Be "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish"

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - August 10, 2009) - "Penny wise and pound foolish" is an idiomatic phrase meaning "being very careful of small insignificant expenditures, but being careless when it comes to large ones." It comes from British currency, the main unit of which is the pound; the pound is in turn made up of 100 pennies (previously 240).

Examples of this are legion. The man who carefully washes his car himself every week to save money on car washes, yet is driving a gas hog that gets 3 miles to the gallon. The mom who feeds her kids cheap sugary cereal for breakfast to save money on food, and then ends up spending countless hours having to corral them from bouncing off the walls all day. The librarian that spends money relentlessly pursuing people who have had books out a few days too long, yet curtails spending on obtaining new titles or upgrading shelves.

This type of behavior can be found in business environments as well. The factory foreman trying to make himself look good by not replacing an old piece of machinery, yet incurring thousands in maintenance because it continually needs to be fixed. The boss who tries to save money by not hiring quite enough personnel to run an office, but pays for it in lost clients who don't get serviced and seriously overloaded employees who end up quitting. Or -- more pertinently -- the company executive who decides that the built-in defragmenter will do for defragmentation because the company is saving the cost of purchasing a third-party solution.

This last is "penny wise" in that the up-front cost of purchase is being saved. But it is entirely "pound foolish" in that thousands -- maybe tens or hundreds of thousands -- are being thrown away in lost performance, shortened hardware life and IT overtime. Scheduling defragmentation is an outdated technology; in between defrag runs fragmentation continues to cause trouble. Because many computers must constantly remain up and running, finding time to schedule defrag is a horrendous chore, incurring expensive overtime. And because hard drives handling fragmented files must work doubly-hard, their life spans are shortened by 50 percent or more, causing hardware purchases that must be made far earlier than predicted.

The "pound wise" action would be to go ahead and purchase the right 3rd-party solution, one that operated completely automatically, in the background. Defragmentation issues are continually addressed, no scheduling is ever required, and there is never a negative performance impact on users.

So don't be "penny wise and pound foolish" with computer maintenance. The right defrag solution means maximized system performance and reliability -- and long term substantial savings in both pennies and pounds.

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