Windows 10 and $MFT

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by John Sutherland, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2014
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    Why does $MFT get fragmented so often in Windows 10? I use Raxco Perfect Disk to defrag it, and a few days to a week later it's fragmented once again. Never had that problem with previous versions of Windows.
     
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  2. jayblok

    jayblok MDL Guru

    Dec 26, 2010
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    Because $MFT knows best :D
     
  3. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

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    $MFT: I do not think that word means what you think it means. ;)
     
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  4. BigW

    BigW MDL Member

    Apr 25, 2010
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    I hope you are talking about a MFT on a mechanical spinning HDD. Defragging a SSD would be fools errant which unnesicerly reduces write cycle of the SSD. If you don't have a SSD, installing a SSD would bring more performance than defragging it every few weeks.
     
  5. Katzenfreund

    Katzenfreund MDL Expert

    Jul 15, 2016
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    I suppose the logical answer to your question is because the file content of your drive changes a lot.

    But doesn't Win 10's automatic weekly defragger also include the MFT? Why do you defrag it separately?
     
  6. dobbelina

    dobbelina MDL Senior Member

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    $ = Expensive M = Mother F = F***ing T = Thing :D
     
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  7. Mr.X

    Mr.X MDL Guru

    Jul 14, 2013
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    :cool::eek::D
     
  8. Katzenfreund

    Katzenfreund MDL Expert

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    Actually, $MFT means Microsoft Financing Tricks.
    As some may construe the above as spamming, I mundanely add that it refers to Master File Table, the most important file in a NTFS file system that keeps track of all files on the volume.

    But what I actually wanted to say is that too much defragmenting can shorten the life of even mechanical drives. There is a reasonable optimum for everything and if you overdo it, you fall into MFT = Manufacturers Financing Trap.
    (And before it is pointed out again, we all know that defragmenting should never be performed on SSDs.)
     
  9. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

    Dec 14, 2012
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    Never is a bit exaggerated word
     
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  10. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

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    Hello @ BigW - Not to worry. The drive in question is a conventional HDD. I might be old, but I'm not feeble, at least not yet, and still have enough of the old grey matter left to understand that you don't defrag SSD's. At least not on a regular basis. See my reply to T-S below.

    Hello @ Katzenfreund - "I suppose the logical answer to your question is because the file content of your drive changes a lot." You are on the right track. I did a couple of Google searches on the topic and came across two theories that agree with your statement, and they're closely related. The first is that if you let a too many system restore points (a.k.a. volume shadow copies) accumulate on your drive, the restore points themselves eventually become fragmented. When that happens, $MFT becomes fragmented as well. The second theory is somewhat similar; if you let too many system restore points accumulate, and then you delete them, this change can also cause $MFT to become fragmented.

    What I might try is to severely limit the amount of disk space allocated to saving system restore points, keep an eye on things over time, and see if that makes a difference. If it doesn't, I might go as far as to turn off system protection completely and see if that makes a difference. Don't be alarmed - I create backup images on a regular schedule, so not having system protection enabled isn't a big deal for me. As a matter of fact, I've found that restoring from a backup image usually takes less time than using a system restore point.

    "But doesn't Win 10's automatic weekly defragger also include the MFT? Why do you defrag it separately?" Unfortunately, it does not. System files such as $MFT, pagefile.sys, hiberfil.sys, and several others can only be defragmented when the volume they're on is not mounted or in use by the OS. Perfect Disk and several other disk defrag utilites offer the option of doing a boot time defrag before the system is booted, and this is how these system files are defragmented.

    "But what I actually wanted to say is that too much defragmenting can shorten the life of even mechanical drives." True, which is why I do a disk analysis on a regular basis, but wait until the level of fragmentation is at least 10% or higher before I defragment C:\. Sometimes this can take quite a while, and sometimes it seems to happen very quickly. I guess that's just the nature of Windows and the NTFS filesystem.

    Hello @ T-S: "Never is a bit exaggerated word." Hmmm. I'm not exactly sure if you're talking about the use of the word "never" in a general sense or you're referring to "never" in the context of defragmenting a SSD. Anyway, I came across a couple of articles where the authors claim that in certain situations, defragmenting a SSD is completely acceptable. In particular, if file fragmentation (not disk fragmentation, since it doesn't apply) exceeds 40-50% on a SSD, it can cause a huge slow down in read/write times. The problem is that not only are the files themselves badly fragmented, but so is the underlying metadata. I don't have the bookmarks available right now since I'm on the wrong machine, but I'll add them below when I get a chance.
     
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  11. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

    Dec 14, 2012
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    The latter



    Aside if it's helpful or not, a defrag once a while, say 4/6 months, surely doesn't hurt. All the fear about the SSD wearing where initially understandable, given the lack of real world tests, but became clear that the wearing problem was hugely over estimated.

    There isn't an universal answer here, given everything depends on the internal SSD logic, which is hidden to the OS.

    Given that is pointless to say defrag helps, but there is also little point in the sentence "sdfrag an SSD never helps".

    Basically most of the suggestions about the SSDs are based on initial thoughts based only on theory, which started to be parroted from a forum to another.

    It's a sort of urban legend based on real facts, but never verified following the scientific method.
     
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  12. Katzenfreund

    Katzenfreund MDL Expert

    Jul 15, 2016
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  13. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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    AFAIK M$ never wrote a defragmenter, they just bought the old one for dos/w9x from Norton and they bought diskkeper from Executive SW to integrate it in win 2k, both were crippled down versions of the commercial brothers.

    Both of them v.s. a good third party sw have to be taken in the same way as notepad v.s. notepad++, or as IE and edge v.s. Opera and Vivaldi.

    They do the dirty basic work and nothing more.
     
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  14. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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    They all do basic things, if you need basic to accomplish basic tasks they are ok.

    Notepad is good until you have to open a file with unix or mac newline or you have to look to something more complicated than a w3.11 stile .ini file

    The disk manager is good until you have to resize a partition with locked files, or you want to move a partition, or you want to copy or convert it...

    Edge is good if you have to open a couple of websites, and you never heard of the integrated email client, spatial navigation, stacked/tiled tabs, mouse gestures and so on.

    The defrag is less important nowadays given most of the work is done on SSD, and HDDs are just used for relatively static large files, movies, photos, ISOs and so on.
     
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  15. Katzenfreund

    Katzenfreund MDL Expert

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    ˄˄
    I agree that it’s a matter of what one needs and actually uses. I further appreciate that there are people with ambitious expectations, especially in this forum, and I am probably an exception here. But as my system is Windows, I personally have no need for e.g. opening a file with unix or mac. And I only reasonably expect tools supplied with my system to be meant for it and not care about others. More generally, I use my system to perform my other activities, and do not treat it as an end in itself by continuously working on it.

    I further found stacked tabs and mouse gestures in Opera of negative value, and their cutting-in unintentionally irritating.

    No offense is meant at anyone, I’m probably in the wrong forum myself.
     
  16. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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    Just FYI to have to deal with Unix formatted files you don't need to have to deal with Unix itself.

    They are widespread today more than 15 years ago, because the multiplatform programs like Chromium, FF and derivatives, because internet and the Web are basically unix things and follows unix conventions, and because Android and Ios are dominating the Mobile market.


    In short, today, Windows is the only widely used OS which is not directly related to unix.
     
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