Defragmentation software vendor Diskeeper says it has developed a significant technological breakthrough, which will prevent up to 85% of all fragmentation from ever occurring in Windows files system. The new software should allow for dramatic system performance improvements, the company says.
"Not only does this eliminate any performance slowdown caused by writing fragmented files, but it means little to no system resources or power is later required to remove fragmentation," the company says in a statement.
A Diskeeper spokeswoman would not offer any details on exactly how the product will prevent disk fragmentation or on how it will be packaged. She said the software will be released by the end of 2009.
Disk fragmentation occurs natively in Windows file systems as data is written over time to various sectors of a hard disk drive's platter. A computer's operating system generally does not set aside enough contiguous space to store a complete file, so it places the pieces of a file in whatever available space there is between other files.
Such fragmentation generally slows the performance of a computer because it forces the read/write head to seek out the disparate pieces of data that make up a file in order to deliver it to users. Defragmentation utilities, such as Diskeeper's, reorganise the data on a disk in order to consolidate it and store the data pieces closer together and contiguously.
For solid state disk drives, defragmentation can be a particular problem because flash memory has a limited number of writes. Thus the defragmenting process can shorten the lifespan of flash drives.
"Even with new storage technologies, the disk still remains the weakest link in system performance. Among a host of other effects, disk fragmentation causes system crashes, slowdowns, freeze-ups and even system failures," Diskeeper says in the statement.
Defragmentation evolved from a time consuming manual operation to a scheduled task. That lasted for years until it evolved again into automatic and then invisible real time defragmentation in products like Diskeeper.
Of its new invention, "it is time to evolve once again by ending fragmentation as we know it", the company says.