Digging Deep into Windows 7 Defrag

digging deep into windows 7 defrag

The common wisdom has always been that one should always defrag. In fact, the more you use your computer, and the older your computer becomes, the more frequently one should defragment their hard drive. One of the very few improvements in Windows Vista is the sheduled defrag. Straight out of the box, normally on a Wednesday night, Vista would automatically defragment your hard drive.

Next comes Windows 7, and it has the same scheduled defrag as Vista, but with a twist. The twist has to do with SSD or Solid State Drives. Microsoft recognized the fact that SSD’s were the future. Solid state drives are a quantum leap in computer storage. Unlike common hard drives, SSD’s do not have rapidly spinning platters, and tiny little heads that read the data from these rotating platters. Instead, SSD’s behave much more like the chip that stores photos in your camera. For all of this, SSD’s are more reliable, faster, and use less energy than their mechanical brothers. SSD’s are awesome, and their only drawback is price. Even today, they are significantly more expensive than regular hard drives, but just like everything else, the gap between SSD’s and HDD’s is decreasing.

Microsoft must have foreseen this outcome. There is one golden rule about SSD’s. Never, ever defragment an SSD. Although files on an SSD do indeed get fragmented, there is no little head running around trying to assemble all the pieces. An SSD drive can access a fragmented file just as fast as a contiguous (defragmented) file. Another documented issue with SSD’s is their life span. The more you read and write to the drive, the shorter the life span. Hence, a very read/write intensive process like a defrag is never recommended for an SSD.

So Windows 7 only defrags what it believes to be a normal rotating drive. In other words, Windows 7 is designed to never defrag an SSD. So that’s the good news. Here at PC Pitstop, since all of our products including OverDrive and PC Matic are cloud products, this gives us an unprecedented view on issues such as these. It took us many months and close to a 1/4 million computers, but here is the scoop on Windows 7 and defragmentation.

If you have an SSD and Windows 7, you will quickly discover than Windows 7 really has no idea that you have an SSD. If you click on properties or look at the drive, you will quickly find that Windows 7 is treating your SSD just like a regular hard drive. We worked very closely with Microsoft on this project and what we learned is that Microsoft has developed a method to ask the disk whether it is an SSD or not. I won’t go into the technical details, but the bottom line is that a LOT of the SSD makers are not following this protocol.

During this time, PC Pitstop developed its own SSD detection algorithm. On all of 1/4 million test machines, it worked all the time. When we showed Microsoft our results, they revealed that they had a secondary way of detecting SSD’s in Windows 7. Windows 7 runs a simple benchmark on the drive and if it is faster than 8 MB/sec, Window 7 deems it an SSD. Here’s some good news, we ran this test on over 5,000 SSD’s and only one SSD ran slower than 8 MB/sec. You can replicate the exact test by running this on the command line in administrator mode.

winsat disk /ran /read /drive c

There are two problems with this implementation in Windows 7 and also we assume in Windows 8.

1. The flaw in Windows 7′s logic is that there are a lot of normal hard drives that return greater than 8 MB/sec on this benchmark. We looked at well over 200,000 hard drives and roughly 15% of these drives had a positive benchmark score and hence Windows 7 thinks they are an SSD. This means that Windows 7 is NOT defragging a lot of hard drives that need to be defragmented. Some of the drives were severely fragmented, which is no surprise since they never had been defragmented. So if you have a Windows 7 computer, there is a 15% chance that your computer has become severely slow due to excessive fragmentation. You can run a manual defrag and fix the problem, but the scheduled scan will never work since the drive passed the SSD test. If you want a scheduler, we of course recommend PC Matic, which has better SSD detection and a better scheduler than Windows.

2. Which brings us to the problem with Windows 7. If you are like me, you want to make sure that Windows is not defragmenting your brand new SSD drive. If you look at the Windows 7 interface, it actually says that scheduled defragmntation has been enabled!

This does NOT mean that your SSD will be defragmented by the Windows Scheduler.

We worked with Microsoft on this and they informed us that just because scheduled defragmentation is enabled does NOT mean it will defrag your SSD. Apparently, right before the scheduled defragmentation is run, Windows 7 does one last check to make sure it is not an SSD. We ran some tests and confirmed this result, but did they have to make it so counterintuitive?

The BOTTOM Line

HDD SSD
XP Apply SSD Tweaks such as TRIM
Vista Disable Scheduled defrag and apply tweaks such as TRIM
Win 7 Make sure to defrag regularly. Win 7 scheduler may not work.


37 Responses to Digging Deep into Windows 7 Defrag

  1. Romeo says:

    SO why we have to purchase Deep Defragmment software then ?


  2. Duane Dean says:

    Dont get me started how MS has there fingers in all of these different hardware companies and they still cant install drivers correctly.Get off your high horse. I have installed a lot of Windows on computers and Windows does not and will not install drivers. OH, only enugh to get it going, just like Linux. WOW Sorry, but I have a Toshiba laptop right now and sevveral others I have to go out on the internet and download the drivers because Windows did not install them. I need to go get AMD video drivers, Sound, LAN, Ether and WIFI, Webcam etc etc. along with a slew of other drivers.


  3. Duane Dean says:

    Alasdair Macleod Hey dufus, right from Skypes page; You can’t start a group video call in Skype for mobile, Linux and Windows 8, however you can participate in it. So, this means not only is Linux crap, but MS and Mac are as well. And it is sad that Win 8 cant run it considering MS has there fingers in Skype. Learn what your talking about before talking about it. Here is the page from Skype Support; https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA10613/what-do-i-need-to-make-a-group-video-call


  4. Duane Dean says:

    It is not a simple defrag problem. It lays in the file system they use. Fat, NFTS. Horrible for fragmentation. To fix it, they have to use a different file extension which means there OS would not be Windows any more. If you look up why they use those file extensions, you would know why they choose them. Yes, there is downsides, but there is also upsides. Not many though. LOL


  5. Windows 95 to Windows 7…and above…nothing changes except few colors splashed about. They can't fix a simple defrag problem. WHy do we need defragmentation? Why cant they just keep files properly like Linux does… Maybe coz M$ programmers are recruited from Mental Institutions.


  6. Jack Mowbray says:

    Just wanted to add that Wind 7 scheduler does not work in my experience. If I am using my laptop during the scheduled time for a defrag I don't think that it tries to alert me even, which would be nice I guess. I download, delete, write, and move files constantly so I have become much more aware of this as it relates to HDD wear and tear recently so I now make sure to run a defrag twice a week on average and after heavy write periods as well. Just a heads up for those relying on the scheduler, IT DOES NOT WORK!


  7. but can SSD’s be defragged? would there be damage if this was done? if they can be defragged, even if the need is not like a conventional HDD, wouldn’t it improve performance, no matter how good it was without?
    TIA.
    John


  8. Brian Blad says:

    You need diskeeper 12 it supports defragmentation on SSDs. Zero resource overhead, truly set it and forget it. http://www.condusiv.com


  9. I thought reading an SSD should not effect their lifespan, however writing will. The upside of this is that once the last working write which occurs on an SSD will be permanent, but you will be able to read it until the whole unit(supporting hardware) fails. You should use TRIM however, since SSD's cannot erase chunks of data as small as they can read, however I have never seen what implications this has for writing to an SSD. If I am mistaken in any of this info, I am happy to be corrected.


    • Pegasus says:

      try Mandriva Linux, it never crashes, Defrags itself on the boot, I hate Windows, been using Linux for 10 years and never had a problem with it and as far as ssd drives, I won’t even buy one, my drives always work good and I have extra ones if I need them, my Q, just stick with HDD, when there not broken, don’t fix them hahaha


    • Jack Mowbray says:

      I hope reading does not affect its life otherwise what is it good for?


  10. I’m a big fan of Lenovo ThinkPad’s and even what is probably my last desktop computer is a ThinkStation with a SSD for my boot drive. Programs like Photoshop run like rockets when installed on a SSD.

    The good and bad of ThinkPad is that Lenovo includes a large number of system utilities.

    Some are good, some are a waste of CPU time & disk space. I was really surprised that one of the utilities they included on my ThinkPad was something that parked the head on my hard drive. While this is an ideal applet for anyone traveling with a mechanical hard drive it came enabled on my ThinkPad even though it came with a SSD.

    Just looked at my Device Manager & you’re right, Windows doesn’t seem to know it’s a SSD.

    BTW, if you ever wondered if the expense of having an SSD on your laptop here’s what convinced me. The next time you fly look up at the overhead compartments and watch how much vibration there is.

    BillP


  11. R.Cheng says:

    There is no place that shows in Windows 7 whether a drive is SSD or not. As we have shown, the benchmark test is not entirely accurate. The best way is to find the name of the driver for your hard drive, and then Google it. It will normally show whether it is SSD. Many SSD’s have the letters SSD in the driver name.


    • Perry says:

      @R.Cheng: I went to Start Button, then clicked on “Computer” and it clearly says “120 GB SSD” which I have because I bought it from Newegg for $180 last year. I have Windows 7… I bought the disk and loaded it myself.


  12. Michael Ateek says:

    I have three Windows 7 computers running with SSDs, but I wasn’t the first to have them. I’d seen the articles to make sure not to defrag your SSD drive way before I could afford them. I was ready to find the defrag service and disable it whenever I got one but 7 came out and the information about a self disabler came out with that OS, probably here at this website. I’ve disabled my defrag service in at least one of my computers anyway.

    However, my first SSD never seemed to run at the right speed. At the end of all options I decided to do one defrag manually, and I’ve seen a big improvement in performance. Also on the second clone to an SSD I saw minor benefits, and with both I’ve never felt the need to do another defrag. I don’t know if I’ve hurt the lifespan or am saying something that should be swept under the rug because it’s bad advice.

    I’ve told my story out of honesty, and I’d love to get bombarded with reasons I shouldn’t have done one defrag on those two by the experts out there. The third drive seemed to perform to expectations right out of the box, so maybe the newer drives are just getting better.


  13. Edgar H Link says:

    Amen to This.


  14. Dirk Noplate says:

    As if Linux is going to do so much better out of the box.
    There's a ton more tweaking and fiddling to do in Lin (whatever distro one has) to make do with common tasks that Windows Vista or 7 have embedded. And don' get me started on all the driver issues/problems and the, in this case really world WIDE web, where you have to stroll through one forum after the other to finally get your sound or even graphics card to work…
    Linux was never designed (yes) to be a desktop operating system in the first place but as a Novel Networking replacement OS.


    • Kurt Dugmore says:

      You havent tried Ubuntu have you? most people are happy with that out of the box, not that much to tweak. just saying :P dont want any flame war to start here but if you use something other than Ubuntu…then ok there may be a lot of tweaking depending on the Distro but ubuntu is one of the "ready out of the box" distros, same for Linux Mint.


    • Dirk Noplate says:

      No didn't want to start a flame ware either, but the remark 'christ guys, just use Linux' was indeed too tempting not to respond to lol.

      I did try Kubuntu on my netbook (Packard Bell DOT S) and Ubuntu on my laptop (Acer Aspire 7520G).
      The latter proved to be a no go right from the start, as my Mobile ATI 3650 HD dedicated vidcard could not be convinced to show image (couldn't get passed the initial bootscreen) and forums searches became too tedious after a weeks searching for a solution.
      Kubuntu on the netbook installed fine, but there was no way to get the built in bluetooth to work (and I need it). Also had some strange problems with the network stability that I didn't experience with my original Win 7 Starter installation (both at home and on WiFi spots when out doors).
      A friend of mine is a real Linux fan but he has re-installed his distros of Linex more times then I can count. He says it installs really fast (and that's true, as it is for Win 7 or Vista nowadays) but I'm like working for 3 years now on my first installation (had to do a re-install last week due to a hard drive failiure) and was still happy with the stability of the whole OS.
      When I compare this with how Win installs and how it supports out of the box way more different configurations than Linux does, the conclusion if fairly obvious.

      Linux is a wonderful Server OS. But so is Windows 2000 Advanced Server and beyond. And when you make the financial picture: most of the support that MS offers online is free (including for companies). SP's and patches are offered at no cost online to system admins and at higher speeds/intervals than for Linux or competing server OS's.
      Also often forgotten is the financial picture for Linux support on a professional level. My school switched from W2000AS to a Linux build for the server because they thought it'd be cheaper (or so the admin thought). It was at first, until the technical issues begain that the admin could not handle by herself. The costs for external Linux help turned out to be seriously more expensive than the initial cost for W2000AS and the problems wheren't solved right away either. They've reverted back to W2000AS after that.
      For some Server environments Linux (like Red Hat variants) will be better, for others (still the large majority) Win is better.

      Not saying that Linux is not good (every OS has + and -) but there are far too much different distro's, there's not enough life span per distro (after about 3 years a distro is dumped and it's kernel changes to radical to be compatible enough with older ones and software that runs on it), there's too much difference between the US American and European distro's (and not just in the kernels lol). If Linux really wants to compete with MS's Windows and offer a serious alternative, they'll have to be able to do all the things that Win does. Driver support out of the box for almost all configs out there, free centralized support that's available asap and presented in a single format (not the 1000's of open source forums as that's way too confusing for the average pc user), full compatibility with DX for games (this is the big breaking point for Linux btw). Most average users already have enough difficulties installing a simple Windows, let alone installing Linux distro's and solving installation problems afterwards. That's not necessarily Linux's fault (people often lack basic computer skills, let alone they have pc intallation/problem solving skills) but it does pose a serious problem to get it more widely accepted.

      It's simply to geeky (although I love that) and too technical to serve a wide public :-)


    • Kurt Dugmore says:

      Hmm you will find a lot of people who reinstall Linux as often as your friend has are people who like to fiddle with their system being "nerdy" as it were and end up messing it up them self so they need to reinstall Like my boss where I work re installs his linux every other month but that is down to himself not the operating system, always fiddling with settings he shouldnt and breaks it. Me on the other hand I have had the same Install of Debian 6 since its release date and still running as fast as it was freshly installed no defragment needed no registry issues because linux doesnt use a registry. I have heard of Linux Servers running for a good year or 2 without needing one reboot and thats including after installing important updates.

      but I will admit ATI drivers for Linux suck, but that’s mainly ATI's fault, although I am using a HD Radeon 3400 Series with Crossfire and it works fine Although admitingly I had to touch the command line but I typed in one command and done. but I don’t think its fair to say Windows has more hard ware compatibility if you ask me I would say its atleast equal or the other way round as I have had computers from the days of Windows Vista, came pre installed with Vista, I install Windows 7… and Windows 7 does not like that computer at all.. on board sound would not work one bit where as the sound worked perfect in vista and there were a few things in Device Manager that windows 7 would not install properly. I threw Ubuntu on the same computer and everything worked perfect. I have an old webcam that was around when Windows Vista was the latest OS and it will not work with Windows 7..windows 7 just doesnt understand this webcam.. plug the webcam into a Linux system it works like a charm just plug and play. but I understand it can be the other way round with certain hardware to which is why I think its not fair to say one has more compatibility than the other.

      Although I can not comment on the cost of Linux in terms of Tech Support when you run it as a server but I can say Admins really shouldnt switch their servers from Windows to Linux unless they are competent enough in Linux. But I do know you can get Free Linux Support you dont have to use the third party paid methods. Ubuntu has an IRC chat filled with peopel always willing to help same as Debian. But I think the real bonus with Linux is you dont really have to purchase one license per machine like you do with Windows it saves a lot of headache if a computer needs to be reformatted for any reason such as hard drive failure. But also Linux updates/patches are free and so are upgrades to the next release when its finally out. But when you say the life span is not enough I think you’ll find its the opposite for the server distros :P if your going to use Linux for a server you should really use Red hat or some other Server Recognized distro Red hat offer 10 years support with an extra 3 years extended support which should include updates and security fixes etc thats 13 yrs support. Once that is over just like Microsoft when they discontinue an OS you should be able to pay for support and security fixes as needed but after 13 yrs im pretty sure you should have everything ironed out and working as you need. Although I'm going to stick my neck out here last time I checked Linux is competing with Microsoft in the Server world at least, last I checked Linux is dominating the server world most of the big servers are on red hat apparently, but I will admit Microsoft is ahead in the desktop world. Most of the worlds super computers also run on Linux also because of its stability.

      Linux does do what windows does if you use the right distribution such as Driver support out of the box (although this is depending on your chosen hardware as its the same with windows as I stated earlier with my old Vista/7 compatibility propblem on old hardware) no single OS will ever support every single piece of hardware perfectly. and depending on what distro you use there is a centralized support pretty much on Demand, I can gurantee that if I have a problem with Ubuntu I just log onto the IRC and there will be somoene willing to help, if worst comes to worse I search teh "ubuntu" forums or start a new thread, Linux community is full of helpful people, just dont go to the "generic" linux forums for support got to the dedicated IRC support chats for your chosen distribution.

      I will admit with you though.. Games are a breaking Point for Linux which is likely to remain for a while becuase Direct X is proprietary to Microsoft and there is no way they will give Linux permission to make this native unless someone is willing to pay the big bucks for permissions lol, we will have to continue using Wine for now lol. But in all Fairness Direct X isn’t Needed for games as OpenGL does just as good a job. Problem is most games are only programmed with Direct X compatibility specifically for microsoft. there have been some good releases in the past that have been released on Linux as well as Windows and they were native to linux using OpenGL. id software who published games like Doom and Quake made all their games in OpenGL for compatibility with Linux Natively. the only game they have released so far that is not on Linux Native is Rage, but they stated the first release will be on Windows and later they may use some of their profits to make a native Linux version.

      But yeah sorry for such a long reply back lol xD hope you dont take this as a "shot" at you or anything, I will admit neither operating system is perfect both have their pros and cons and linux does require slightly more skill and know how which the average user doesnt have, which for now is what will hold it back in the desktop world although with Ubuntu and Mint it is starting to get better for beginners. hopefully if you or anyone else reply again it can stay civilized still without anyone flaming eachother :P

      (lol its like my fear I hate getting involved in flame wars) haha :P


    • Dirk Noplate says:

      No worries about long answers or flame wars lol. I really appreciate it that someone takes the time to explain their point of view with a bit more depth :-D

      You are correct about the longer term support (10+ years) for server distro's. I was talking about the desktop distro's when saying about 3 years of life span.
      My point was that you have to start looking around in IRC channels and have to look at existing threads, or start your own, to find solutions for your problems. To me that's no problem, but to the average user that has 'a pc' (or a mac lol) it is. A big problem as most of them don't even know what an IRC channel or a thread is…

      It's true that these os's have their pros and cons and that it'll depend on what hardware you run them whether they'll offer you a joyfull or joyridden ride.
      To take your example with the Vista and the webcam. I've had exactly the same (yes really lol) situation with a Labtec webcam. It worked like shit on XP. Bad image quality, choppy framerates, and that's after I got it to work in the first place after a lot of fiddling (yes HW incompatibility issues caused by the driver, and no driver support to be found by Labtec for this issue).
      I never bought Vista as it was pre-inst. on my laptop and that has it's own webcam. So I never tried it on Vista 32bit.
      Along comes Win 7 64bit on my desktop and when sniffling through my old hardware I find the dreaded Labtec cam. I hooked it up on a usb port. And it worked. In fact (due to optimized code in Win itself I guess) it gives a quite nice picture and fluent framerates now. And I didn't have to install anything for it.
      About the defragging of the registry. Win uses a registry but it's not necessary to defrag that. After 3 years of Win 7 use I did a check on registery fragmentation and it gave me less than 3%. So there's no need to do anything about that.
      You do have to defrag your harddrive, but that's something that's native to platter based drives and not really something caused by the OS itself, if anything it is caused by user actions). With the newer SSD drivers you never have to defrag them (in fact if you do you'll lower the lifespan of the drive considerably, so defragmentation on SSD's is a big no no).

      To sew and end to my own long reply lol (have to get ready to go to my lessons) I'd like to meet you halfway and say that I'd really love to see a serious alternative for Windows (and the MS monopoly) that allows me to play the games that are in the stores. As it stands now that's still a distant dream. But I'll give a Linux distro another try on my netbook (in dual boot with my Win 7 SE). You have any suggestions on a distro that works fine on small netbooks and that supports bluetooth and offers a stable WiFi connection?

      Cheers and have a nice day.


      • siabost9deas says:

        @Dirk Noplate: In addition to Kurt’s excellent reply I could just point you in the direction of Bodhi Linux http://bodhilinux.com/ The current version (1.4) is based on Ubuntu 10.04LTS and there will be a new version based on the latest Ubuntu 12.04LTS soon. Bodhi uses the light and pretty Enlightenment Desktop and it works well on my netbook. Software installation is via their website (for ease of use) or via Package Manager like other distros. I recommend reading all about it on their website as they have a straight-forward point-and-click method if you just want to install all the goodies in one shot.
        Worth checking out, anyhow.
        Good luck :)


    • Kurt Dugmore says:

      Dirk Noplate Hello again :) yeah its good to exhchange different points of view on the 2 OS's like this, ive seen too many turn into flame wars where people just try to make personal insults lol :P

      but yeah I think I will have to agree with you on the IRC thing most average users if they have a problem may be impatient to impatient to even learn what the irc is.

      Ahh ok you meant the desktop Distro's yeah they might be a little short Ubuntu release a new one every 6 months :s I dont like that :/ and fedora I think is one every year. For desktop the best bet is to use the LTS (Long Term Support) Ubuntu which gives 3 years of updates and security fixes etc then the final 2 yrs are only Important Security fix updates, but for me thats fine because in 5 yrs I would hope to have a more up to date laptop and need to install again anyway :P but I can see how it might not be ideal for some people. But a way around this is to use a Rolling Release, I think OpenSuse offer a rolling release which means you will never reach an "End of Life" you will constantly get updates until the day you decide to stop using that distro. OpenSuse is one of the nicer Distros also it looks pretty (they really did put in a good effort to make it look pretty like a mac :P ) but also OpenSuse I believe is one of the business desktop distro's they pride them self on stability and security also they have good hardware compatibility, In the Linux Desktop Environment World I am a Gnome person :) but OpenSuse with its Sexy KDE lol … I was nearly a convert xD

      yeah its pretty cool that SSD's dont need to be defraged :) I like that the only thing that keeps me from upgrading to one right now is the life expectancy I hate the idea of each time I write to the drive it lowers its life span xD When I hear of SSD's that last 5yrs+ I may get one :P Although I will say about defragmenting on the normal HDD between Linux and Windows, Windows and Linux file systems store data completely differently Linux does it in a way that Fragmentation does not cause a problem unless you make the hard drive hit 75% or 85% capacity I believe then you notice a speed reduction and need to do something about it. there are some good sites online that explain it pretty well about why Linux doesn’t need defragmenting it explains the different between the NTFS file System and EXT File system. Although I wouldn’t worry too much about this anymore since computers seem to be moving to SSD pretty quickly now once everyone is using SSD's we wont have a need to worry about fragmentation and the differences between file systems wouldn’t matter too much lol.

      I am going to admit here lol, I used to be a die hard Windows Fan boy lol :P but now I am floating betweeen Windows and Linux I use either one depending on my needs :) I use my main Gaming PC with Windows obviously for gaming xD lol and my laptop with Linux for everything else and for when I travel, I'd hate to accidentally get a virus when traveling and have a useless laptop with me until I can get home and reinstall lol xD happened once in College accidentally got a virus from the college network…lol and couldn’t really do as much work as I would have liked until I got home and backed up all my work and then re installed laptop xD was a productive day :P lol

      Yeah it would be nice to see a serious alternative to Windows that developers will make their games for :) If only games were made native for Linux to I would be 100% Linux at home xD lol but there has been some recent news this year I believe that shows Steam are still working on a Linux client! :D so there is hope at least if you like to use Linux like me :) They have made Steam for Mac so half the work is done lol :P since Mac is Unix and Linux is Unix like.

      Hmm for small net books I cant really say as I have never really used many to put Linux on, I have only put Linux on one my ex girlfriends lol she had a Packard Bell we threw "Ubuntu 10.4 Notebook Remix" on there and it worked like a charm, everything worked fine. I think I remember you said you tried Ubuntu on yours before but blue tooth would not work? If that is the case You could try the newer Ubuntu 12.4 LTS if you have not tried that one yet, I believe it will have better hardware compatibility plus you will have 5 yrs support, also it has improved its installer, its pretty easy and straight forward now :) the only problem with Ubuntu 12.4 for me is you would have the new Ubuntu Unity Desktop Environment by default but you can easily Install the "Gnome" environment if you do not like Unity just by going into the synaptic packet manager and search for "gnome" and install then restart Although don’t quote me on that it might be a good idea to double check that first :P If You have tried this Ubuntu Version already and it didn’t work you can try Linux Mint which is like an improved Ubuntu from what I hear, A lot of people have Switched from Ubuntu to Mint and Mint comes with the Gnome Environment by default ;) lol. Finally I would look into OpenSuse KDE or Gnome your choice :) but yeah Since I know nothing about the net book and don’t usually use them myself I wouldn’t like to recommend just one sole Distro, so I have just labeled the 3 that I know to be easy to install, stable, and decent to good life span. Linuc Mint I believe has the same life span as Ubuntu, OpenSuse I believe only has a life span of 2 yrs before you stop receiving updates, but I also Believe you can get the "Rolling release" with OpenSuse meaning you will never have to format or "upgrade" to the next release :P

      sorry for such a long reply haha :P will keep you occupied for a while :P cya have fun in lesson :P


    • Dirk Noplate says:

      Hi there and sorry for the late answer :-)

      I can totally relate to the flame war remark lol. Have seen many time that when looking for an answer to a technical problem, I ended up reading insult after insult in what's supposed to be a technical discussion:-) Makes for some interesting reading on occasion though haha.

      I hope that they'll start to develop more game versions that'll simultaniously support DX and Opengl so alternative OS users are not left out in the cold as is the case now. Although I doubt that it'll be any time soon. Too many investments from the game companies in DX I'm affraid. They don't even fully develop for multi-core systems now (and that's hardware we're talking about).
      Dual core support in games is beginning to drip through more steadily now, but how long have these processors been around?
      Specialized support for the functions of quad, hexa, let alone octa, core is still something we as gamers can only dream off (even for programs/applications you better don't hold your breath). So if they're so slow or reluctant to invest in the easiest obtainable part of the adaptation, the hardware, then how fare are we off when it comes to different OS support…

      About security. I think It's a bit dangerous to think that Linux is safe from virusses. There are far less atm but not so long ago I 've read something about a specialized virus writen for Mac OS's. Seems that so many Macs where infected at the same time that one could have spoken of a record. In comparison, not ever that many pc's where ever infected at the same time by a single virus. A second risk is that there's a very slow response, and lack of expertise too for that matter, to swiftly deal with this sort of disasters. Windows and the likes that have been favorite targets over the years, have developped a very keen en fast response system to deal with this sort of calamities.
      These days I wouldn't surf on any net with any OS without some layer of security, especially not on campus nets (too many geeks with Linux there that want to become a famous black hat;-)

      I'll have a more thorough read about your info on the different distros for my netbook. Might give it a go to see if one them (perhaps the Mint distro) will work nicely in dual boot.

      A question: is there an easy and safe way to remove a distro when it's not working well? I mean, last time I had to fully factory restore the netbook via the recovery partition (via ALT F10 at bootup) to get everyting to work again. The partition structure was changed considerable and I couldn't make out wich was wich anymore.
      Are there any programs for/from Linux that you can use on a USB stick (I don't have a CD/DVD in the netbook) to uninstall the Linux distro and to fully restore the original partition structures on the disk?

      Thx again and cheers!

      PS: the lessons where 'fun' as always :-)


    • Kurt Dugmore says:

      Yeah we don’t have a very big chance of many games being cross platform with the 3 main OS's just yet unfortunately :( Yeah I agree no Operating system is 100% secure and invincible to virus's Look at mac useres they thought they were invincible and like you said, they got hit hard recently with a big virus lol was something to do with a security flaw with a java update I think lol. But in All fairness from a lot of what I have read over the years mac has always had terrible security, its enjoyed the security it has through obscurity so far, form not being so popular and not owning much market share. Now the Ipads and Iphones etc are making the Mac OS more popular they are a worth while target, so they have a lot of work to do on their security now since they have been slacking over the years :P as for Linux though, we have a firewall built into our Kernel by default which makes it a whole lot safer than having the firewall on a software layer or whatever you call it (will have to excuse anything where I don't quite use the right word lol I was out drinking tonight watching the england game lol) but I'm pretty confident in Linux security tbh they seem pretty quick with security fixes when or if any security issues arise, especially since a lot of the big servers run linux, Linux is already a target for hackers on some websites since the server is using red hat or some other server distro. But still I agree no operating system is 100% secure especially if the user themself are not so clued up, you could have the most secure operating system in the world but if the user is going to click on anything and allow this and that randomly… they will be hacked lol.

      Hmm your problem about removing a linux distro, are you dual booting with windows? if you are dual booting with windows You should be able to boot into a live USB or CD of Ubuntu or some other Live distro that has Gparted or Disk Utility and then delete the Linux partitions then resize the windows partition to use up the rest of the free space, your next problem then is you will need a cd drive I think to use the windows disc to press F8 is it? to start the recovery tools /repair mode for windows and then you open command prompt and use something like fixmbr.exe then it will rewrite the master boot record and set windows to boot up by defailt again and remove linux's grub loader :)

      I think you will be best to do it the other way though since you have no cd drive. boot up into windows first without the windows Install disc and then press F8 or whatever it is to start trhe recovery mode then open command prompt a and type fixmbr.exe. then boot into a live USB of Ubuntu and use gparted to delete the linux partitions then resize windows to use all the free space. Should work if you do it in that order.

      here are some links about installing a live ubuntu onto USB with Windows or Ubuntu, take your pick :P

      http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/create-a-usb-stick-on-ubuntu

      http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows

      after doing this though you may want to run a defragment to clean up the disk it might get a little messy and really fragmented moving partitions about like this, some tool liek Raxco Perfectdisk might be good choice since it can restart the computer and run itself before windows so it can defragment the actual operating system files since they arent in use will help a lot :)

      hope this was useful!


    • Jack Mowbray says:

      Why is this necessary? I came here looking for help regarding defrag issues and I hoped to find some comments to help me as well, not a stupid flame war on whos OS has a bigger digital schlong


    • Dirk Noplate says:

      @ Jack Mowbray
      Dude… honestly… look at the date of this post… and READ the content (you can read and understand yes??). This was NOT a flame post and in fact we exchanged information later on…

      And if you need help concerning disk fragmentation then ask your question instead of posting a useless comment on a post from half a year ago.


  15. Ace® says:

    How do you know if the laptop that you purchase contains an SSD hard drive? How can you tell and where do you look up that info? Thanks


    • Perry says:

      @Ace®: I have a desktop computer. I’ll assume you can check what disk you have by doing what I do. Go to your start button, open it and click on “Computer”. It should list your drives and what they are and the size, etc.


    • ralph says:

      @Ace®: try the spec sheet for the laptop if you don’t get 1 with it then a little digging on the manufactures website is in order, or perhaps finding out what your Hd’s model number is and looking it’s specs.


    • Chuck says:

      @Ace®: Belarc advisor is a free download for personal home users. It generates a report of all components, licenses, software updates etc. and can be printed. It would include Hd or ssd Manufacturers with their part numbers and s/n etc. Enough info to google with.


  16. Christ guys, just use Linux ;-).


    • Alasdair Macleod says:

      can you do group Skype with linuix!
      Nop because linuix is crap!!!! ;) ;)


    • Kurt Dugmore says:

      Alasdair Macleod No because Microsoft bought skype and microsoft hates everyone ;) you really think Microsoft will put time and effort into programming software for a competing operating system? Blaming the OS for the softwares programming bad and lazy programming (in this case microsoft) is just arrogant. Microsoft are hte bad coders here ;)


    • Garion King says:

      Kurt Dugmore They've made almost everything of theirs work on Mac (badly, but that's a compatability issue), so why would they restrict a weaker competitor?
      And don't forget, Skype, while it belongs to MS, is not totally enslaved to them. They still ultimately run their own business, just under minor restrictions and guidance from Microsoft.


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