Is it safe to Defrag?

Is it safe to use the MS defrag tool running under Windows XP SP3 on my audio and sample drives?
I’ve noticed a constant lenthening in the amount of time it takes to load projects.
Did an analysis on both and results state that I should defrag, File Fragmentation 18% on Audio and 24% on Sample drive. I’m running Cubase 5.5.2.

I have defrag’d my audio drive in earlier version of Cubase.
I don’t see that it would cause a problem.
Cubase wants to read and write the files.
Your computer’s OS ultimately determines how ‘scattered about’
the fragments of files are placed onto the disk.

As Cubase demands many files quite randomly while you’re working,
your computer is the thing that has the task of finding them in time.
Defrag’ing will make life easier for your computer, and should improve


I use a programme called:

Works well and not too much $$$.


Defrag YES. I try to defrag almost every time before i get into Cubase. If you do it quite often it doesn’t take very long ( a minute or 2) before each session and you’re good to go. I’ve been using a little program called smart defrag (freebee) for quite a while now and it sems to work just fine.
There are some options on it like "“deep optimize” that goes a step furher than just defragging. Never had a problem with it. A great little feature is you can defrag all the drives on your system and it will shut your system down when finished if you want it to. Start defrag up, click the option,turn your monitor off and walk away-how easy is that?
If you’ve never defragged or haven’t for a long time-prepare a pot of coffee-you’ll be waiting awhie. If your really bored-the little blocks are fun to watch :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes indeed you SHOULD defrag regularly… those bloody fraggles! now they’ve all emigrated from fraggle rock they’re over running the place!!!

i use perfect disk 10 which is superb! if you do not defrag then your data ends up all over the hard drive in different places so potentially it can make the heads work harder which potentially increases the chances of a head crash, if you use a lot of sample library you can notice sounds cutting out early if your data is fragmented too.

Since it’s free, does it have any pop-ups or does it link to the Internet at all?
I try to keep my DAW hidden as much as possible from the Web.

Thx. I’ll have to look into that one.

Nothing personal guys, but are there any senior members around that defrag their audio and sample drives?

LOL take no notice of the ‘member’ tags… this forum only opened a few weeks back so no one is a ‘senior member’ which in itself is pretty meaningless as it’s just a ‘rank’ of how many posts you have made and has nothing to do with one’s experience, knowledge etc… i have been building my own PC’s now for over ten years… NEVER bought one off the shelf… worked in TV as an engineer for a few years working on kit down to component level… have a bunch of mates who are network/coders etc and we ALL defrag regularly… you only need to understand how a hard drive works and what fragmentation actually is to understand it is ESSENTIAL!!! let your drive become too fragmented and like i said things will get a bit iffy…

think of your hard drive as a big filing cabinet… windows is not clever enough by itself to put the correct sheet of paper in the correct folder in the correct suspension file in the correct drawer of the filing cabinet… defragging is essentially the same as going through a filing cabinet and putting everything where it should go… bit of an over simplification but it’s a good enough analogy.

Hey Matt,
I knew I was going to be in trouble for that remark. My apologies.
I used to user Diskeeper Defrag on my non DAW PCs for quite a while and never
had any problems. But I have to be honest, not once did I notice an improvement
in performance after using the product.

So I’m looking at some of the features of Perfect Disk 11 Home Premium on Raxco’s website.

  • Automatic background defragmentation
    You don’t want it to run while your using Cubase. Is there a way to only run it manually?
  • Smart Placement (as well as features)
    Do you use any of these features?
    Bottom Line - do you notice a difference after using the product?

How does a drive where one only keeps samples get defratmented?

lol hey!

yes i did notice a bit of a difference after i ran it a few times to get everything bang on! thing is with modern machines they go like stink anyway!
It’s supposed to be particularly good on laptops… some of the network guys i know where i used to work sware by it!
a few years back a guitarist i used to work with NEVER defragged and after a while started having problems with audio just cutting out, coming in late, disk overloads in cubase etc and i suggested he defrag… he laughed at the idea but when i suggested he had nothing to loose by trying after 2 or 3 defrags the difference was night and day!
you can choose to ignore certain files during defrag with PD and by definition you can choose to defrag only certain files, it can also get at the bits that windows defrag tool can’t like the page file and bootsectors IIRC… it does work! it’s well worth the money mate… think i paid about 30 quid a couple of years back.
yeah you’re correct not to let anything automatically run whilst cubase is running. i often defrag after a heavy editing or tracking session and about once a month i do an overnight auto defrag… it will also turn your machine off when it’s finished… cool eh!

Hi Mat,
I was going to ask why nobody spoke of Windows defrag but I see now you say that other paid products may do a more thorough job. Is that to say that Windows doesn’t do an adequate job? Is there that big of a difference?

I can’t really comment on the win7 defrag tool as i’ve never used it and not really looked at it to be honest.
It still has to be better than no defrag tool though.

i defraged earlier with the program bob recommended and all is good , comp is running fast than ever , cheers bob !


DannyDep-As to my earlier post and a question about Smart Defrag. Although it is free, you don’t have to have it automatically check for updates, there are no pop ups or other junk. They do pretty regular updates, so I would check once a month or so if you don’t want it on auto.
Filterfreak-glad I could help, I think you’ll find the deep optimize option a plus ,too, if you haven’t already done that. :slight_smile:

Nicely put

I use Diskeeper 2010 Pro and it works really well, it’s not so much about noticing an improvement as not having to notice a degradation over time.
Diskeeper runs in the background and stops when other programs run.
In the long run it should help the life expectancy of your hard drives as they do not have to search over such a large area to find what they are looking for as well.
It costs, but I have never had a problem with it, If I use cubase lots over a few days I occasionally run it manually, but most of the time it just does it’s stuff and is invisible which is what I want.

Thanks for all the feedback guys.
I will definitely be defragging.
Just a matter of whose defragger I choose.
I’ve downloaded several you’ve mentioned that I’ll be testing
on my non-DAW PCs and will see how each works.

Hi DannyDep - How’d it turn out? :slight_smile:

Wondering if in the end you might have tried the Windows XP defrag … that’s the only one I currently have.

Thanks for an update!

Hi Alexis,
Pretty good. I tried several of the free Defragers mentioned and choose one called Auslogic Disk Defrag.
I’ve owned Defragers like Diskeeper since their ver 4 and never noticed any difference in performance after running them. I can say that after using Auslogic’s (which is the same API as the windows degrager, but they also have an additional options (from their support page)

Unlike simple defragmentation, ‘Defrag & Optimize’ mode applies several optimization techniques:
Free space consolidation
System files smart placement*
Moving regular files from the MFT Reserved Zone to the rest of the disk space
*This feature is disabled by default. You can enable it under the ‘Algorithms’ tab in the program settings.

I did notice a performance plus.
And thanks as i see they have a new update which I will have to download as I am using Auslogic on all of my PCs.