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Question My hdd is giving me troubles. Heavily fragmented and very slow in general.

Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
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Hi!

One of my external hard drives is heavily fragmented (about 65%) and is just super slow in general. I presume it may be very fragmented because I used it for torrenting. But... I thought Windows automatically does the defragmenting. And I checked too and it is set to do it automatically. But for some reason it doesn't do anything to this particular hard drive. I have tried defragmenting at least some individual files (since I don't have much space for a proper full defragmentation), but it won't let me do it. What can I do about this situation?

Thanks!
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,698
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You can tell it to do a defrag yourself (the same way as you checked whether it's set to do it automatically, then select the drive and click on defragment/optimize). Does it do it then?
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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My sense is that you have too much on the drive and not enough freeboard for proper optimization and maintenance. Get rid of non-essential stuff, then try it. Personally, I never let HDDs fill beyond 75%.
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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My sense is that you have too much on the drive and not enough freeboard for proper optimization and maintenance. Get rid of non-essential stuff, then try it. Personally, I never let HDDs fill beyond 75%.
That's my guess, too. I have about 5 Seagate 2TB USB portable HDDs that I use regularly... I don't let them get over 1.5TB full. For that matter, same same with my internal HDD's... performance really takes a hit beyond that.
 

Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
1
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You can tell it to do a defrag yourself (the same way as you checked whether it's set to do it automatically, then select the drive and click on defragment/optimize). Does it do it then?
No. I tried that already. Thanks for the help anyway!

My sense is that you have too much on the drive and not enough freeboard for proper optimization and maintenance. Get rid of non-essential stuff, then try it. Personally, I never let HDDs fill beyond 75%.
That could be it. But the question is why didn't Windows do the automatic defragmentation at least before the hard drive was full. It's not like I filled it fully the first day I got it. I have other hard drives that are equally as full as the one that is making problems, but they are not even remotely that fragmented.
That's my guess, too. I have about 5 Seagate 2TB USB portable HDDs that I use regularly... I don't let them get over 1.5TB full. For that matter, same same with my internal HDD's... performance really takes a hit beyond that.
There's two of you:) So I guess you may be right. But as I wrote above, it is still weird how it got so badly fragmented and why is it that slow when copying to it or from it. Another example... I have a Plex server and everytime I play a movie from that hard drive, it always freezes at a certain point and starts buffering. And it is not an internet problem, since that never happens when I play a movie from another hard drive.

Anyway... Just wanted to thank you all for your help so far.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,403
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There's two of you:) So I guess you may be right. But as I wrote above, it is still weird how it got so badly fragmented and why is it that slow when copying to it or from it. Another example... I have a Plex server and everytime I play a movie from that hard drive, it always freezes at a certain point and starts buffering. And it is not an internet problem, since that never happens when I play a movie from another hard drive.

Anyway... Just wanted to thank you all for your help so far.
That honestly sounds like the drive itself may be going bad.

Consider a NAS for a "Torrent Slave"?
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Another example... I have a Plex server and everytime I play a movie from that hard drive, it always freezes at a certain point and starts buffering.
That is odd... and Larry might be right, I'd probably be hunting for another drive.

I've had about 7 different drives in my HTPC (granted, internal drives...) and none of them have ever had problems like that... in fact, when I analyze them, they are maybe 1% fragmented, this with thousands of files. My 5TB drive is at about 90% capacity and it still works well enough... it's not being written to constantly, though.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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Another example... I have a Plex server and everytime I play a movie from that hard drive, it always freezes at a certain point and starts buffering.
You may have a bad sector in there. Have you checked SMART for reallocated sectors? Normally this should be done transparently by the drives firmware, but it may have run out of spare sectors. At which point I'd replace the drive ASAP.
 
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Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,516
971
126
Hey buddy, HDD management really does feel like a complete afterthought these days with Windows.

Do yourself and that drive a big favor and go grab the Defraggler download from Piriform website. The free version is fine. Use this to properly defrag the drive, and you can also use it to sort fragmented files by size, and manually select and move some of the larger files to the end of the drive. This dramatically reduces the tendency towards re-fragmentation going forward.

Win!
 

Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
1
11
That honestly sounds like the drive itself may be going bad.

Consider a NAS for a "Torrent Slave"?
I would love to get a NAS, but unfortunately can't afford a decent one right now.

That is odd... and Larry might be right, I'd probably be hunting for another drive.

I've had about 7 different drives in my HTPC (granted, internal drives...) and none of them have ever had problems like that... in fact, when I analyze them, they are maybe 1% fragmented, this with thousands of files. My 5TB drive is at about 90% capacity and it still works well enough... it's not being written to constantly, though.
Damn... I was hoping I could save the drive. It is the newest one I have. I think I bought it about a year ago.

I have other hard drives, same manufacturer, same model actually and they are too pretty much full (even less than the troublesome one) and they all work correctly.

You may have a bad sector in there. Have you checked SMART for reallocated sectors? Normally this should be done transparently by the drives firmware, but it may have run out of spare sectors. At which point I'd replace the drive ASAP.
I checked with Hard Disk Sentinel, CrystalDiskInfo and other software and the results come out clean.

Hey buddy, HDD management really does feel like a complete afterthought these days with Windows.

Do yourself and that drive a big favor and go grab the Defraggler download from Piriform website. The free version is fine. Use this to properly defrag the drive, and you can also use it to sort fragmented files by size, and manually select and move some of the larger files to the end of the drive. This dramatically reduces the tendency towards re-fragmentation going forward.

Win!
I tried using Defraggler, but can't do a proper defrag because I don't have enough free space on my hard drive. I was hoping to at least be able to do individual files defragmentation, but it doesn't work. Says it is defragmenting and then after some time an error always pops-up saying "Defrag aborted".
 
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Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,516
971
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Ah dang. I've seen USB flash drives of 64 and 128GB for under $15 at Walmart, even less if you have a Micro Center around. If you can move a bit of data off you should have much better luck getting going.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
13,074
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I tried using Defraggler, but can't do a proper defrag because I don't have enough free space on my hard drive. I was hoping to at least be able to do individual files defragmentation, but it doesn't work. Says it is defragmenting and then after some time an error always pops-up saying "Defrag aborted".
Ah dang. I've seen USB flash drives of 64 and 128GB for under $15 at Walmart, even less if you have a Micro Center around. If you can move a bit of data off you should have much better luck getting going.
++++

OP, you're going to have to find a way to create some free space. Either delete something, or buy some kind of inexpensive storage (USB drive, HDD, or even something like DVD-RW) to move some of the data to.
 
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Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
1
11
Ah dang. I've seen USB flash drives of 64 and 128GB for under $15 at Walmart, even less if you have a Micro Center around. If you can move a bit of data off you should have much better luck getting going.
Unforutnately, there's no Walmart in my country:) But yes, I guess I'll have to move some stuff from the hard drive. Hope that'll help. Thanks!

++++

OP, you're going to have to find a way to create some free space. Either delete something, or buy some kind of inexpensive storage (USB drive, HDD, or even something like DVD-RW) to move some of the data to.
Thanks to you too! Will have to try that.
 

Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
1
11
Hi again!

I need to defrag my hard drive, but I have only 5% free space available and no ways to somehow free another 10% of space. I defragmented some files individually, but I noticed that now I have no contiguous free space available, so I can't even do that properly anymore. What can I do about this? Should I defrag free space or would that not make a change really?

Thanks!
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,516
971
126
Hi! Register with a free online cloud storage service, and temporarily upload enough files to locally delete and clear enough space.

Google I believe comes with something like 15GB these days, Microsoft OneDrive is another option. Others may chime in with other decent alternatives as well.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,368
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What I would do in that situation is get a much larger drive, the clone the "nearly full" drive to it, go from there. My advice is never fill up a drive more than 75%.

And, even though you say you can't delete anything, my bet is that if you have storage of stuff that is duplicated elsewhere, it can most likely be winnowed.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
13,074
3,724
146
Hi! Register with a free online cloud storage service, and temporarily upload enough files to locally delete and clear enough space.

Google I believe comes with something like 15GB these days, Microsoft OneDrive is another option. Others may chime in with other decent alternatives as well.
What I would do in that situation is get a much larger drive, the clone the "nearly full" drive to it, go from there. My advice is never fill up a drive more than 75%.

And, even though you say you can't delete anything, my bet is that if you have storage of stuff that is duplicated elsewhere, it can most likely be winnowed.
Yup.

OP, if you really can't free up any space, which with thumb drives being so inexpensive, or even using free cloud storage, you will just have to deal with the performance.

There's no way around that fact.
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,698
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My only other suggestion is to use a disk usage analysis program to see if there's anything on the drive that you didn't expect to be there or something that's using a lot more space than you expected.

I normally use WinDirStat, run it as admin and point it at the drive in question. There's always the chance that something silly is using up space such as System Restore or a buttload of ancient Windows update files.
 

Free Billy

Junior Member
Mar 2, 2020
7
1
11
Hi! Register with a free online cloud storage service, and temporarily upload enough files to locally delete and clear enough space.

Google I believe comes with something like 15GB these days, Microsoft OneDrive is another option. Others may chime in with other decent alternatives as well.
I could do that, but 15GB is nothing. I need at least 300GB.

What I would do in that situation is get a much larger drive, the clone the "nearly full" drive to it, go from there. My advice is never fill up a drive more than 75%.

And, even though you say you can't delete anything, my bet is that if you have storage of stuff that is duplicated elsewhere, it can most likely be winnowed.
I actually had some duplicates on it, but I later deleted that. That's how I got to 200GB of free space. Before that, I had about 30GB. There's nothing else I can delete. I know I should buy a new hard drive and do what you said, but I just can't afford it right now. Thanks anyway!

My only other suggestion is to use a disk usage analysis program to see if there's anything on the drive that you didn't expect to be there or something that's using a lot more space than you expected.

I normally use WinDirStat, run it as admin and point it at the drive in question. There's always the chance that something silly is using up space such as System Restore or a buttload of ancient Windows update files.
Great tip! I will try that. Thanks!
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,516
971
126
You don't need 300gb of free space to defrag with Defraggler, unless you have a single 300gb fragmented file. Whatever the largest fragmented file on your drive is in size, free space a fair bit larger than that (typically 5% or so in drive space, but varies slightly) will let you defrag.

That said, 256GB USB flash drives are insanely cheap, at roughly $25USD shipped. Slightly higher than they were due to flash price increases, but cheap enough to net a decent block of space that allows for transfer and moving things around a bit.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
13,074
3,724
146
That said, 256GB USB flash drives are insanely cheap, at roughly $25USD shipped. Slightly higher than they were due to flash price increases, but cheap enough to net a decent block of space that allows for transfer and moving things around a bit.
++++

Plus, new 1TB hard drives are around $45 (2TB $55), with sales taking them lower. A person could probably pick up a small used hard drive for practically nothing. If for whatever reason you can't afford $25 - $55 to gain additional space, you need to cut back on your torrenting.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,250
11,099
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++++

Plus, new 1TB hard drives are around $45 (2TB $55), with sales taking them lower. A person could probably pick up a small used hard drive for practically nothing. If for whatever reason you can't afford $25 - $55 to gain additional space, you need to cut back on your torrenting.

I can't believe the amount I've spent on HDDs throughout the years. It's an expensive hobby. Once I lost 250GB of data on a failed drive. That was the last time I didn't have my data backed up. But this hobby costs money.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,827
496
126
That said, 256GB USB flash drives are insanely cheap, at roughly $25USD shipped. Slightly higher than they were due to flash price increases, but cheap enough to net a decent block of space that allows for transfer and moving things around a bit.
Make sure to get a drive with decent write speeds. Filling ~250GB @ 10-20MB/s does take a while.

I can't believe the amount I've spent on HDDs throughout the years. It's an expensive hobby. Once I lost 250GB of data on a failed drive. That was the last time I didn't have my data backed up. But this hobby costs money.
20-odd years ago I got a 20GB drive. "You'll never fill that up", was the thought back then. Right. Today, my photo storage alone sits at a 188GB or thereabouts.

At least bulk storage is cheaper per GB then ever before, and we've actually got the ability to store that much data reasonably easy. Bit-rot and disk failure notwithstanding.
 
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TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
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Make sure to get a drive with decent write speeds. Filling ~250GB @ 10-20MB/s does take a while.
Yeah,his drive is already super slow,that's the whole problem,no matter how slow the USB will be it will be faster than the problematic drive.

Leaving free space on a mechanical drive is completely useless,even at 100% full the performance will be alright,even if you do loose performance it will not be noticeable unless you do very specific things.

I checked with Hard Disk Sentinel, CrystalDiskInfo and other software and the results come out clean.
Define clean,even better give us a screenshot of sentinel.
It will show you 100% if the drive is ok but it might also show you other info,for example if there are a lot of communication errors towards the drive (due to bad cables or the connectors getting loose) it will still show up as 100% healthy but the speed of the drive will be terrible.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,207
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91
20-odd years ago I got a 20GB drive. "You'll never fill that up", was the thought back then. Right. Today, my photo storage alone sits at a 188GB or thereabouts.
When I built my first computer in 2011, I bought a 500GB drive... I thought the same thing. Then I had to buy another. Then I replaced them with 1TB's... 2TB's... 3TB's... all money down the drain, eventually.
 

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