Although it is virtually handicapped in terms of the options it actually provides to the user in comparison to Windows XP, the hard disk defragmentation utility in Windows Vista is an evolution of the equivalent from the predecessor operating system.
But the enhancements come essentially under the hood of the tool. In this context, the actual defragmentation engine was tuned up, as well as the management of the fragmentation process.
"By default, the defrag tool only defragments files smaller than 64 megabytes (MB). Therefore, files larger than 64 MB are not moved unnecessarily. In earlier versions of Windows operating systems, if the defrag engine was in the middle of a large move request, it could take lots of time to cancel defragmentation. In Windows Vista, the defrag engine processes input and output requests in smaller portions. Therefore, you can avoid situations where the defrag engine is busy with processing large move requests when you cancel a defragmentation session", Microsoft explained.
Microsoft's vision with Disk Defragmenter in Vista was to introduce a tool that would perform its tasks automatically at intervals scheduled by default. In the end, the Redmond company aimed at delivering a tool that virtually takes the user out of the equation, automating the process entirely. On top of this, the new system memory management in Vista confines the defragmentation as a process with low priority designed not to impact the performance of the operating system.
"The defrag engine in Windows Vista does not affect the performance of other processes that are running on the computer. Other processes are not affected because defragmentation runs as a low priority process. And, defragmentation uses only minimal CPU resources and memory resources. If the system is using lots of CPU resources and memory resources, the defragmentation process may take a longer time to finish," Microsoft added.
Additional improvements are related to the minimum amount of free space required for the defragmentation, as well as the speed and overall performance of the process. Microsoft applauded the fact that defragmentation in Vista takes up to two or even three times less than in older versions of the Windows platform. Vista will even combine the Master File Table into a single unit if it is fragmented.
"You can now use Task Scheduler to schedule defragmentation. Therefore, you do not have to manually start defragmentation. By default, a task is created and is set to run at 1 A.M. on every Wednesday.
In shadow-copy-aware defragmentation, defragmentation uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in-box software to optimize defragmentation. The VSS software minimizes copy-on-write change blocks. Shadow-copy-aware optimization slows down filling the difference area. This kind of optimization also slows down the reclaiming of old snapshots during defragmentation," the company said.Microsoft, Windows Vista, Defrag, Defragment, Features, Vista Features