For those wondering what it was and why defragmentation is still useful in Windows 8.1, let’s remember some basic concept.
The hard disk is a disk where data are recorded, the way (the order) according to which these are recorded is a function of a set of rules defined by the file system of the operating system in use.
Of file systems there are several, from those ultra reliable in the Linux world – Android such as the EXT file system, to those used by Windows, in the past the FAT32 to today the NTFS, the difference between the latter two is clear, the first directs only 2 ^ 32 bytes (so with a management limit of 4 gigabytes) while the second maneuver well 2 ^ 64, an enormity more. Moreover, the difference between the main file systems is how to sort the data.
One of the main problems of Windows, up to Windows XP, was the FAT32 sorting system that physically allocated data in a way that was not really ordered on the disk, forcing the reader to move several times to find the data and wasting time reading. Disk defragmentation was a way to better sort the data, so by doing so all the data from the same file was sorted as consecutively as possible, greatly improving the speed of reading and then executing files.
But in Windows 8.1?
Here, the file system used by Windows 8.1 is NTFS, literally New Technology File System, but as this is “new” in name, its development has largely exceeded the decade, and technology is well surpassed by file systems such as EXT2 – EXT3. But it is also true that Microsoft has worked very hard to improve it, in particular it has developed technologies (deriving from an alternative file system and never put on the market by Microsoft, WinFS ) that allow the management of data at a higher level of the file system, a sort of database that pre-orders files before writing to disk. The system also allows Windows to continuously sort data by working on track.
So is defragmentation useful?
It depends, there is no better way than to ask Windows itself.
Just start the defragmentation of a disk starting with the analysis of the same, if Windows will deem a defragmentation opportune then it will advise you. Otherwise no.
In principle it is advisable to do it for those who maneuver large and high-frequency files, used to copying and pasting large amounts of files and working on heavy applications in terms of disk usage. In other cases it will almost always be a defragmentation to change your life.