Should I Wait Until WWDC 2011 to Buy a MacBook Pro?

In a recent email, a reader asks, “Do you think I should wait until WWDC and the release of Mac OS X Lion to purchase a MacBook Pro, or simply buy one now and upgrade later?”

That’s a great question. On one hand, right now is the best time to buy a MacBook Pro since the new line just came out and you don’t run the risk of an upgrade being right around the corner. On the other hand, you may need to deal with the hassle of purchasing Lion and upgrading within a couple months of receiving your Mac.

To date, the only official estimate for Lion’s release is sometime in the summer of 2011, which may or may not coincide with WWDC. Your wait could very well be shorter, or longer than expected.

This all boils down to personal needs and preferences. If you plan on purchasing a MacBook Pro with the solid-state drive option, you’ll probably find TRIM feature included with Lion to be quite useful. That’s not to say this won’t be available to you if you decide to upgrade later.

Currently, OS X Lion is expected to release at a retail price of $129, which follows suit with previous major releases excluding the more recent Snow Leopard which acted more like a minor update than a stand-alone OS version. That’s not to say that Apple won’t change their usual pricing in this case, as they have been reducing their software prices in general lately.

Overall, the decision is yours to make. You can save a little money and hold off until Lion sees the light of day, or have an extra couple of months with an amazing system that works just fine in the meantime.

Will My MacBook Pro Run Maya and ZBrush?

In a recent email, a reader asked, “What specifications should I outfit the new MacBook Pro with to allow it to easily run CPU intensive programs such as Maya and ZBrush?”

Well, this depends on your general speed preferences. If you want it to zip through complex 3D models with very little to no trouble then you’re going to find that in general, the better you specs the faster your experience. There are, however, ways to ensure that your MacBook Pro will run with general ease during typical usage.

Here are the recommended system specs for a 64-bit Maya installation on Mac OS X:

  • Apple® Mac OS® X 10.6.5
  • Macintosh® computer: Macintosh computer with Intel-based 64-bit processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 10 GB free hard drive space
  • Qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card
  • Three-button mouse with mouse driver software
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • HDD: IDE, SATA, SATA 2, SAS, SCSI
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, Apple Safari, or Mozilla Firefox web browsers

According to these recommendations, the base model MacBook Pro 13-inch has you covered as far as the OS, processor, hard drive, memory (RAM), graphics card, and DVD-ROM drive are concerned. You’ll need to purchase an after-market mouse for comfortable controls and the included hard drive (5400 RPM) is a bit on the slow side compared to the SSD options available on the MacBook Pro. You’re also just meeting the requirements with the RAM included on the MacBook Pro. An upgrade to this will help your overall system operation during your more intensive tasks. As far as Maya is concerned, the cheapest model MacBook Pro can run it just fine under normal conditions.

Here are the recommended system specs for ZBrush 4 on Mac OS X:

  • OS: Mac OSX 10.5 or newer
  • CPU: Intel Macintosh (Must have SSE2 : Streaming SIMD Extensions 2)
  • RAM: 1024MB (2048MB recommended for working with multi-million-polys)
  • Monitor: 1024×768 monitor resolution set to Millions of Colors
  • (recommended: 1280 x 1024 or higher)

As far as these specs go, you’re good to go with the cheapest MacBook base model in almost all areas. The resolution on a 13-inch MacBook Pro is only 1280×800 which falls short of their recommendations though an external monitor or a move up to a 15-inch model should resolve this shortcoming. The bit about needing SSE2 simply means you need the Intel processors as it was introduced between 2001 and 2004 when the Pentium 4 lead the Intel lineup.

Once you’ve met the basic system requirements set by the software developers, any additional boost to your MacBook’s specs will only serve to make the experience smoother and snappier as your models become more complex. A good rule of thumb when it comes to matching hardware to software is that if your processor is a couple generations newer, the RAM doubled, and the operating system current, you should be fine.

Best Choice for a First Time Mac User

In an email, the question was raised what is the best Mac for a first-time buyer that just wants to do some basic web browsing, photo editing, and light video editing? While the biggest and most expensive models can accomplish these tasks very easily, let’s take a look at which options would best suit these needs.

The current line of Mac minis is capable of doing everything listed, even basic movie editing through iMovie, however, if you want a smooth experience with smooth multitasking, you’re probably best going with an iMac. The i3 processor is quick and responsive, even when dealing with 1080p video on iMovie. Having a capable monitor built-in is a big plus and in terms of value makes up a lot of the difference price-wise between the Mac mini and the iMac.

If you want to go with something more portable, the MacBook is a good budget choice for web browsing and photo editing but not recommended for video editing due to it’s underpowered processor and lower resolution display. A MacBook pro at a couple hundred dollars more will give you a powerful platform with a capable of handling quite a bit.

Here are some builds I think bring the best price for performance without being overkill for what you’re asking for:

iMac 21.5-inch: 3.06GHz ($1,199)
This is the base model iMac though the differences between it and the step up are minimal considering what you’re wanting to do with it.

Mac Mini 2.4 GHz: 320GB ($699)
One of the wonderful advantages to the Apple warranty is that you don’t have to have to buy or install additional RAM through them. A $100 upgrade to 4GB of memory can cost a fraction of that if you use quality after market RAM. See apple.com for spec requirements and installation instructions.

This particular model is the least powerful out of the suggested options, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re planning on doing a lot of full HD video editing, but it will handle basic tasks fairly easily. Make sure you have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the ready since they don’t come included with the Mac Mini.

13-inch MacBook Pro: 2.3GHz ($1,199)
The MacBook Pro combines a decent amount of performance with portability. The Core i5 processor is significantly faster than the one found on the MacBook and the Mac Mini. Even large external monitors will connect to the MacBook Pro without overwhelming the video processor.

As far as software goes, iMovie is a capable movie editing platform included with new Macs without any added cost. It works very well to do most basic tasks and encoding your final product can be done through QuickTime, also included, with decent quality.

Photo editing can be done on a very basic level through iPhoto, though if you would like a powerful alternative without adding to the price, try Gimp. Gimp is the open source answer to PhotoShop and includes a lot of great features.

How to Save Hundreds on Your Mac RAM Upgrades

I recently ventured in to the local Apple store to look at pricing for a new machine. Some time was spent with an Apple representative who walked me through the pricing and options for a Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro. One thing these machines all had in common were literally hundreds of dollars for RAM upgrades. In one case in particular, a RAM upgrade from 4GB to 8GB on a MacBook Pro would net me a $400 dollar increase on the price. Considering that this is an addition to what was charged on the initial price for 4GB, that’s a steep $100 per GB.

This is where many frugal computer users begin to head back to the door proclaiming that Apple products are only for the rich. While this can certainly seem like a serious drawback to the brand, there is a silver lining in this cloud.

While each manufacturer has their own warranty agreement with their users, Apple has a remarkably easy one to work with. Apple support explains its warranty policy regarding customer upgrades a bit further: “Adding memory (DRAM, VRAM) or other user-installable upgrade or expansion products to an Apple computer is not considered a modification to that Apple product. Therefore, it is not necessary to obtain Apple’s written permission to upgrade or expand an Apple computer.”

In short, the act of upgrading the RAM yourself with a cheaper aftermarket product won’t void your warranty. There is a stipulation that should you or the RAM you install damage the product, you would not be able to take it in to an Apple certified service center for warranty repair. Thankfully, Apple provides detailed instructions on how to exchange RAM for each one of its machines. It also explains exactly what kind of RAM needs to be purchased for a successful match.

Here is where the financial benefit of doing your own upgrades comes in. A search on Newegg.com prices 8GB of RAM suited for the 13 inch MacBook Pro at between $80 and $120. That is a savings of $85 to $90 per GB and you’ll still have the original 4GB as spare.

There is a clear benefit to upgrading your own RAM after purchase, though it is important that each computer user be aware of the slight risks involved and weigh whether or not this method works for them.

Don’t Apple MacBook Pro Owners Deserve Better?

It seems that those MacBook Pro owners who have systems with 500GB hard disks, have been complaining for months about sluggish performance. It seems that at random intervals the drive starts to click and fails to respond.

But what is surprising is that Apple is going to offer a software fix only. One would think that for the price that these computers from Apple cost, Apple would replace the drives. Or is this to much to ask?

I guess this is also a stab at those Apple fanboys who are always telling us that Apple computers are perfect! LOL

Comments welcome.

Source.

10 Things I Am Doing To Prepare For Vista

Starting next week I will be using Vista full time once my new laptop arrives. I have made the decision to give Vista a 30 day trial period, and if I don’t like it, I’ll wipe the drive and install Windows XP Pro. But in the interim, I have been searching for some ways to improve how Vista performs so that I can give the operating system a fair evaluation. Here are some of the things I am addressing while waiting for my new laptop.

1. Memory. This is so obvious I am almost embarrassed to mention it. The laptop I purchased comes with 3G of RAM. Since I’ll be using 32 bit Vista this is the max I will need.

2. CPU. The system has a dual core which should be ample to run Vista and my applications.

3. OS Upgrade. I have a brand new copy of Vista Ultimate still in its sealed box. Once I make backups of the drivers and applications that come with the unit, I’ll be wiping the drive of Vista Home Premium and installing Vista Ultimate. This will allow me to downgrade [legally] to Windows XP Pro if I choose to do so.

4. Vista SP1. I have downloaded and copied to a CD the full version of Vista SP1 which will be installed prior to installing any additional software.

5. Driver updates. I have downloaded driver updates for the hardware that comes with the unit and burned them to CD as well.

6. Office 2003. I will still be using a copy of Microsoft Office 2003. I found several articles on the Internet which stated that SP1 should be installed prior to the install of Office 2003. Another article recommended installing Office 2003 and not opening any applications. It was recommended that Office 2003 SP3 should be installed prior to using the program with Vista.

7. I have made back up copies of all of my important documents, address books, .pst files for Office to be manually transferred over to the new system. These files  have also been burnt to DVD as well. Though I have a Belkin transfer cable and software I could use, I prefer to do it the old fashion way. I have read to many stories in which Vista has messed up during the file transfer process.

8. I have a copy of Unblue’s SpeedUpMyPC 2009 that has been sent to me for testing with Vista.

9. I also have downloaded other programs that I will be using such as AVG 8, which I still trust.

10. Wait 30 days, decide what I am going to do, and do a follow up report on my experience.:-)

If you have any additional suggestions, please pass then on.

Comments welcome.

$800 Apple Laptop – Is It For Real ?

One of the best things about Apple is the way the company can garner rumors in anticipation of the release of any new product. Apple has been the leader in innovative features which has been demonstrated by the iPhone and Macbook Air. [That is the laptop that fits into a standard office manila envelope and is the thinnest laptop on the planet.]

But as I have written before, pricing has always been the main reason why the PC is the most popular computer. Most experts will agree, to a certain point, that the quality of Apple products and their operating system is superior to the PC and Windows. I’m not looking for another one of those Apple vs PC debates. My feelings are buy what you want and like, no matter what the cost.

But for Apple to give the PC and Windows a real run for the money, they need a reasonably priced laptop for the masses who don’t want to spend a fortune to get onto the Internet, write a letter or two and play a few games. So if this rumor of a $800 Apple laptop is true, This could be the biggest announcement in the companies history. According to this article:

An $800 laptop would be the first sub-$1000 laptop offered by Apple, and would signal a shift from Cupertino to target a broader range of price sensitive customers for the first time. Whether this laptop is a sub-laptop or ultra-portable we simply don’t know, it could be Apple more aggressively pricing their new Macbook range, or it could be a completely new laptop altogether, presumably utilizing the much discussed “Apple Brick” manufacturing process (pic above). What we do know is that there will be four additional price points, so unless the updated versions of existing lines are offered with more options, we would presume that Apple may actually launch an entirely new laptop.

The other rumor is that these new toys could be shown on October 14, 2008 at a special event to introduce their new product.

Comments welcome.

Source

Apple Macs Give Off Benzene?

Over at ZD-Net they are citing a French source that is making a big deal out of the fact that one, yes one, single Mac Pro owner says his computer made him sick. In the article it states that testing has shown that the Mac is giving off benzene. The French article uses a translator and the language translation is somewhat difficult to understand, but the story states this:

Some models of Apple computers emit toxic fumes and the giant apple does pipe word. Un chercheur du CNRS l’a découvert à ses dépens. CNRS researcher has discovered to its cost. En février 2007, le labo du chercheur – qui souhaite rester anonyme – acquiert un Mac Pro pour l’étude de structures de molécules en 3D. In February 2007, the lab researcher – who wishes to remain anonymous – acquires a Mac Pro for the study of structures of molecules in 3D. Après l’avoir déballé, il repère une forte odeur. After unpacking, he thinks a strong odor. Dix jours plus tard, ses yeux, son nez, son larynx sont irrités. «Dès sa mise en route, l’ordinateur a distillé des substances qui, au bout d’une semaine d’utilisation, m’ont provoqué une irritation prononcée de la cornée et des voies respiratoires», raconte-t-il. Ten days later, his eyes, his nose, his larynx are frustrated. “Since its launch, the computer has distilled substances that, after a week of use, have caused irritation pronounced cornea and respiratory tract, “he says. Même à l’arrêt, l’ordinateur sent. Even stationary, the computer sent.

So what makes this story even worth reporting? The fact is that Apple has not responded to any of the inquiries made by ZD-Net who stated:

Apple doesn’t want to confirm which Mac Pro have a problem because they know users could sue them for this reason. I invite all Mac Pro owners around the world to send a letter to Apple and ask them which Mac Pro have the toxicity problem, in written form. If Apple doesn’t change its methods very fast, a class-action lawsuit may unfortunately be the next step…

Which makes one wonder. Since many of our computers are being constructed in China, and since Chine seems to struggle with quality control, whether it be milk or dog food, how do any of us know that our computers are hazardous to our health?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

French article

ZD-Net article

Craigslist On Your Desktop

Need to have instant access to Craigslist? Consider CraigsPal on your desktop which comes in either a free version or a Pro version for $29.99. So what can these versions do for you? According to this blurb it states that:

The free version lets you search across cities, states, and countries, filter content, use negative searches (-keyword), preview listings/photos, sort by price or date, flag spam, and has several keyboard shortcuts.

The paid version, however, is for the true Craigslist fanatic. With CraigsPal Pro ($29.99), you can receive mobile SMS and email alerts, save favorite searches, backup your user data, automate searches, and you have access to free updates for the life of the program.

Also check out the LifeHacker site with tips on becoming a Craigslist power user.

Source.

LifeHacker

Microsoft Updates WGA For Windows XP

Oh goodie. Microsoft is going to update WGA [Windows Genuine Advantage] in order to make it simpler. So if I read the explanation that Microsoft is providing, it seems that customers have asked for this. Customers want the simplest way possible to know if their copy of Windows is real or a fake. Microsoft also states that they are concentrating their efforts on Windows XP Pro, because this is where the pirates hang out.

So what happens if your copy of Windows XP comes up as a fake? This:

With this update to WGA Notifications in Windows XP, we’ve implemented a couple of related features that draw on the notifications experience we designed for Windows Vista SP1. After installing this version of WGA Notifications on a copy of Windows XP that fails the validation, most users will discover on their next logon that their desktop has changed to a plain black background from whatever was there previously (see below).

Plain Black Background

And you will also get this warning:

 Persistent Desktop Notification

I’m excited about how this release balances our goals of providing a great experience to those who have genuine Windows and at the same time creating a compelling experience for those who have non-genuine copies to get genuine Windows. As usual I welcome your feedback about this latest release and the program overall. Thanks for reading!

I’m glad someone is excited about this. My only gripe is when WGA doesn’t work correctly, which has happened in the past, a few million or so users suffered. Trying to get your system back up and running as the genuine article can be trying to say the least.

Just one question? Did anyone here call Microsoft and ask for a new WGA ? :-)

Comments welcome.

Microsoft blog release.

Dell Says Last Chance For Windows XP Is June 18, 2008

Dell is advising customers that the last day to get a Windows XP systems is going to be June 18th, 2008. After this date Dell will be operating under Microsoft’s downgrade rights policy.

Per the Microsoft®  Windows Life-Cycle policy, Direct OEM and Retail License Availability for Windows XP will End-Of-Life (EOL) on June 30, 2008. To meet Microsoft’s June 30 last-day-to-ship OEM Windows XP deadline, June 18 is the last time to purchase a Dell laptop, desktop, or workstation with an OEM Windows XP license.

After June 18th you have the option to purchase Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate with a downgrade service to Windows XP Professional. If you transition to Windows Vista, don’t transition because you have to, transition because you want to!

So this may be your last chance to get a Dell with Windows XP installed unless you either go with the downgrade rights or install Windows XP yourself.

Source.

Windows Vista SP1 Guides

If you need more information on what SP1 for Vista is going to offer or on how to deploy the fix on multiple machines, these white papers for IT Pro’s may help. Microsoft has released an assortment of documents to help you better understand what SP1 can do and also can’t do. On their web site Microsoft states:

Overview

These guides will assist IT Professionals in evaluating and deploying Windows Vista SP1 and are downloadable versions of the SP1 guides found in the Windows Vista Technical Library. (http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/90a564b9-34af-4a6b-937f-324e1862244b1033.mspx)

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Vista

Microsoft Word or Word Viewer

 

Instructions

  1. Click the file you want to download from the list below.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To start the installation immediately, click Run.
    • To save the download to your computer for installation at a later time, click Save.
    • To cancel the installation, click Cancel.

According to some information being posted on the Net, SP1 should correct some 300 known issues with Vista.

 

Comments welcome.

 

[tags]vista, microsoft, documents, download, it, pro, word, word viewer,  [/tags]

 

Local Computer User Group – Vista War

During my career in both teaching computers and also owning my own computer repair business, I have steered cleared from most computer user groups for several reasons. In my opinion, most people join computer user groups not only to sharpen their computer skills, but to try and lure someone to fix their system for free. Which is OK, unless you fix computers for a living and you like to eat. :-)

But I was curious when I saw an announcement for a local computer users group meeting, which according to their web site has some 300 or so members. So I thought I would go just for a look-see. The folks in attendance numbered about 40 souls and most were friendly enough welcoming me to the meeting. I passed myself off as a novice computer user who had recently moved into the area.

The meeting started and after some preliminary discussions about about dues, a treasurers report and so forth, two guest speakers were presented to the group. The speakers were going to present their views on Vista, each taking either a pro or con stance on the new operating system. I thought to myself that this should be interesting not only to see how this would be presented to the group, but also why each speaker chose their position. For simplicity sake I’ll address each speaker as Mr. PRO who favored Vista and Mr. COM who did not.
Mr. PRO spoke first and used a visual aid which was the Vista desktop itself shown on a screen by a overhead projector. This was Mr. PRO’s own computer system which he was using for illustration purposes. The Vista program was Home Premium on a newer laptop system which I later determine was a dual-core with 1G of RAM. Mr. Pro had forgotten one thing. The system was not connected to the Internet so the sidebar with the gadgets wasn’t present and the system was struggling looking for a connection,which forced Mr. PRO to constantly be closing pop up alerts while he was speaking. Which prompted several questions on why it was doing what it was doing to which Mr. PRO wasn’t providing the correct answer. Poor Mr. PRO than suffered a lockup, which required a hard boot. Boot up took forever, again because the system was struggling to find a Internet connection, and with the hour glass spinning away, Mr. PRO was having trouble opening up anything from the Start menu.

To the casual observer this looked like Vista was a slow performer and to the delight of Mr. CON, was already proving his point. I over heard several people in front of me mention that they already didn’t like Vista and that this was the reason why.

Mr. CON spoke of the high hardware requirements, how slow Vista was, and basically the cons that most of us are familiar with. His last remark is that he suggested staying with XP. At the conclusion of his speech they had a Q&A session and I asked Mr. CON if he had used Vista before and what he was basing his expert experience on. He stated he based it on what he had read, had not used Vista, and didn’t need to use something to know how bad it was. OK. That seems like a intelligent way to address something.

What was interesting about the discussion concerning Vista was how adamant some people were in their opinion. I thought one lady was going to bust a blood vessel when she stated she wouldn’t use Vista no matter what. Calm down people. What would you rather have. Being forced to use Vista or being diagnosised with a terminal illness?

As I was driving home I thought about how the CON folks were spreading the anti-Vista word without even having tried the OS. It made me wonder how many others are doing the same thing.

Comments welcome.

[tags]vista, computer, users, group, pro,con, [/tags]

Lockergnome Problem With Google AdSense And QuickTime?

Back on Sept. 6th I received a comment from Steve Hobberstad in which he described a problem he was having when he clicked on the links in the Lockergnome newsletter that Chris does. He stated:

Thanks for the heads-up, Ron, but do you know why I’m getting the browser message (paraphrasing) “This Web site wants to run… ‘QuickTimeCheck Scriptable Object’ add-on” when I come to this page? What’s different about this link from the other links I clicked on in today’s newsletter?

Thanks again,

Steve

After doing some research I responded to Steve’s problem with the following:

Hi Steve,

First of all it is not the links nor the site that is causing this. The error message you are getting appears to have something to do with Quicktime itself. If you have this on your system, I would uninstall and try a reinstall.

From what I have read this AM, it appears that the Google AdSense ads may be triggering this message.

I hope this helps. Get back to me and let us know what you find. It should be interesting to see if we can solve this, since I am sure you are not the only one who is experiencing this problem.

Curious. Are you using IE 7 by any chance?

Regards, Ron

It seems that Steve is still having a problem which now prohibits him from leaving any comment on the Lockergnome site. In his email he sent me he stated:

Yes, I do have QuickTime on my system — and the Pro version, at that! I’m a little pissed with Apple, though: after taking Windows Secrets’ advice in their recent newsletter article “Media players more dangerous than Windows” and using Software Inspector to look for updates for everything from Flash Player to Adobe Reader to QuickTime, QT’s the only one you can’t update for free…or even (as a registered user) for a discount. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of user reviews for the latest version are highly negative so I intend NOT to bite on that Apple.

Oddly enough…

1. The Windows Fanatics/Lockergnome newsletters are the only ones containing links which yield this result; and,

2. I’d swear it only began happening for those links after I’d already clicked on some of them WITHOUT that result earlier the same day (which is why I thought the link to your page was the only one doing it); i.e., it seems I’d clicked on several of the other links that morning WITHOUT receiving the pop-up/add-on message — then later that day when I clicked on your link I received it for the first time. After posting my first reply (above) I thought it was “just you”… but then, after RETURNING to some of the links I’d visited earlier that day, suddenly I was receiving the message for them, too.

Is there QT content on these Windows Fanatics webpages? — or are you saying that Google AdSense ads alone are the culprits? If the latter is the case that’d really suck: to have to install an add-on in order to view advertising content OR continue to be annoyed by this pop-up message…complete with beep.

Yes, BTW: I am running IE7. A vast improvement over 6, imho — for the fact that it defaults to saving pages in the .mht format instead of .htm …if not for the advanced security features as well.

I have my doubts that reinstallating QT would fix the problem since otherwise the application seems to be working okay. If Apple’s done something surreptitiously to require users to add on an add-on in order not to be annoyed by a recurring pop-up I suspect it’s buried in a registry entry that either wouldn’t get flushed by uninstalling the program or else would get added right back in the first time I visited one of these pages.

Thanks, Ron. Say hi to Jackie for me.

My first thought is this. We need to isolate the problem, which is easier said than done. I would recommend that Steve try another browser such as Firefox or Opera do see if he still has the same problem. If the problem doesn’t happen in one of these browsers, than a uninstall of QT Pro would be the next step. If there is a concern about registry entries being left behind I would use CCleaner just to clean the registry — nothing else. Make sure the Backup option in CCleaner is used and I would also make a Restore Point as well. Reinstall QT Pro and see what happens.

I could only find reference to QT having a problem with Google AdSense I personally have not experienced this problem myself.

Has anyone else encountered the same problem that Steve is having? If so, how did you correct it?

As always, comments are welcome. Lets see if we can help Steve with this.

[tags]google, adsense, quicktime, apple, pro[/tags]

Defragmentation – Should You Defrag Or Not?

Defragmentation was once confined to the geekiest of geeks. And then Microsoft started to include a tool called Defragmentor so that the average user could perform this chore. But over the years, “defrag” short for Defragmentor has come under attack between to very distinct groups of pro’s and con’s.

So how does your hard disk become fragmented?

“Fragmentation occurs when the operating system cannot or will not allocate enough contigous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files (usually those gaps exist because they formerly held a file that the operating system has subsequently deleted or because the operating system allocated excess space for the file in the first place).” Source – Wikipedia.

Ron’s definition – Saved or frequently used files are dropped all over the place on the hard disk making it harder to find them, which may impede system performance. By using the “defrag”. tool built into Windows or by third party software, it will line up your stuff like good little boys and girls.

Pro’s – Using ‘defrag” will speed up your system.

Con’s – “defrag” is no longer needed with drives formatted using NTFS.

Both the pro and con groups of thinking have some very valid points of views. My thinking is this. Why not ‘defrag” ? The amount of time to “defrag” a system is minimal and can normally be done when the system sits idle. And you are not going to make the system run worse by a ‘defrag’, but sometimes the system may appear to run better.

I ‘defrag’ my system once a week or so, using the home version of Diskeeper. It’s is just my personal preference and it does a great job. However, under [All] Programs, Accessories, System Tools is the Disk Defragmentor tool from Microsoft. A freebie for your use.

So should you ‘defrag’ your hard disk? Like I said, it doesn’t hurt anything. So give it a try and see if you notice any performance increase on your system.

Comments welcome.

[tags]Windows, defragmentation, performance, pro, con, diskeeper [/tags]