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Thread: Does linux Need Defrag?

  1. #1
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    Question Does linux Need Defrag?

    I realise there is somewhat of a debate about this. However, I seem to have noticed a small but steady decline of speed in my computer. So I was wondering if maybe I need to defrag.

    Even if it wouldn't help, would it hurt to try? What program should I use?

    I do admit I have downloaded a lot of large files lately but I still have plenty of HD space left.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    Linux/Ubuntu has a different file system from Windows. I don't think there's no need for you to defrag.

    If you don't mind me asking, what system are you running? What are the specs, I mean?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    Quote Originally Posted by zeroseven0183 View Post
    Linux/Ubuntu has a different file system from Windows. I don't think there's no need for you to defrag.

    If you don't mind me asking, what system are you running? What are the specs, I mean?
    It's a little older. custom built- 3Gh P4, 4g mem, integrated graphics and sound, x1 500gb SATA HD, x1 160gb SATA HD

  4. #4
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    The structure of the ext3/ext4 filesystem is vastly different from the ntfs filesystem Windows uses. The nature of ntfs creates a need for periodic defragmentation, which is why it is not uncommon for users to do that on occasion with their Windows installation.

    The ext* filesystem does not have the same inherent fragmentation and therefore does not require defragmentation in the same way Windows does.

    There are several possible reasons for a sluggish system. Try checking out what services are running by default by taking at look at the contents of /etc/rc5.d/. Also, running Firefox with many tabs open is a good way to slow down your system.

    Hope that helped a bit.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbennett View Post
    Try checking out what services are running by default by taking at look at the contents of /etc/rc5.d/.
    thanks! how do I know what is running when looking in that folder. Sorry I just don't really know what I am looking for

  6. #6
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    nakama,

    I had a similar experience in the past (I think it was with hardy). Over time it became very sluggish and it started when it became very very low on hard drive space. Even when I freed up space it remained sluggish.

    In the end I wiped the hard drive clean and reinstalled ubuntu, never had that problem ever again even though many times I've run out of HD space. No idea why, just some wierd one off occurence.


    Another possibility could be some program or process using up alot of resources.

    I find it easier to use 'gnome-system-monitor' to check processes.

    One that comes to mind is some kind of tracker/indexing process (this is used by search programs like deskbar,tracker,beagle etc), it scans through your computer to update information on your files to make searching faster. On a single core processor I'd imagine this would be quite a burden to have in the background.


    Also consider hardware issues. I wonder if heating could be the culprit. Is is faster when you first turn it on after leaving it off overnight?
    Last edited by Psyphre; October 23rd, 2009 at 03:18 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyphre View Post
    Also consider hardware issues. I wonder if heating could be the culprit. Is is faster when you first turn it on after leaving it off overnight?
    My computer is basically always on (except for reboots required by updates - which I just had tonight) I could be wrong but I don't think heat is n issue, I keep my home very cold (around 67deg F).

    Perhaps this screenshot will help someone determine if processes are a problem

  8. #8
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    What kind of speed declination are you experiencing? Programs running slower or starting slower? What is your typical output of "free"? EXT does get fragmented, but not noticably unless you're running with an almost full drive all the time.

  9. #9
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    Linux filesystems do indeed need to be defragged -- about once every ten years.

    the price we pay is that we can't fill our filesystems up past 95% full without things starting to break.

    to see what is eating your CPU cycles, install htop.

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install htop
    then run it, and sort by CPU%:

    Code:
    htop

    also: are you positive this decline in speed you are noticing isn't all in your head? i'm not calling you a liar, but i am sure i am not the only one here that has dreamed up a monster when in reality facing only thin air from time to time...
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  10. #10
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    Re: Does linux Need Defrag?

    I've found that Firefox (and Thunderbird) can lose speed over time as their databases become fragmented or whatever.

    It's easy to fix. I forget where I found this, but it sped up my Firefox considerably.

    First, install sqlite3 if not already installed (you can just click that link, or use System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager).

    Then, on a regular basis (say, once a month):

    1. Close all instances of Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey. Possibly Camino, but I don't know about that.
    2. Just in case, double-check:
      Code:
      sudo killall firefox thunderbird thunderbird-bin seamonkey
    3. Reorganise the Mozilla databases:
      Code:
      sudo find /home -xdev \( -name '*.sqlite' \) -exec sqlite3 {} 'vacuum' \;
      This command finds every file *.sqlite in all /home subfolders and runs sqlite3 vacuum on each. It takes a few minutes to run, so be patient.

    HTH
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