A clean hard drive is a happy hard drive with WinContig

screenshot of WinContig

On a pristine, new hard drive, data is written in a nice, orderly fashion. Over time, as new data is added and old data removed, that nice order deteriorates into a semi-controlled chaos. Rather than the data for a given file all being written together in contiguous sectors on the hard drive, there are bits and pieces of it scattered across the whole drive. While this scheme allows for efficient packing of that data onto the drive, it isn't always the most efficient way to retrieve that data to do anything useful with it. As a file–particularly a large one–is accessed by a program, you can hear the read/write heads jumping back and forth inside your system, grabbing all the chunks of data. along with the disconcerting banging around you hear, it actually slows your system down, because each of those "let's find the next chunk" actions takes real time, because it's a mechanical rather than an electronic task that's being performed.

This spreading of files across the surface of the disk is called "fragmentation." There are defragmentation utilities, called "defrag" tools, that are used to sort through all the "stuff" on the drive, moving it around so that data in a file are stored contiguously on the disk. There are many defrag tools that will do the whole drive; WinContig defragments individual files, bringing them the benefits of defragmentation without the investment of time necessary to defrag the entire drive.

With an easy-to-use interface, you can use WinContig to identify files that would benefit from a bit of spiffing up, and then go ahead and do the deed. WinContig has a small footprint, and doesn't require an installer, Registry entries, or extra DLLs to run, so it's impact on your system is minimal.

WinContig is designed for machines running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista.

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