Will Defragging Hard Drive Benefit or Harm Data Recovery?

As we all know, defragging hard drive regularly can improve the drive performance in a great degree. However, does it make impacts on data recovery? Is it beneficial or harmful to data recovery? This article will tell you the answer.

Despite faster speed of solid state drive (SSD), the hard disk drive (HDD) is still widely used for data storage. It is because that in comparison with SSD, hard disk is more cost-effective in terms of storage capacity. If you are also using hard drive, maybe you have heard a lot of suggestions about defragging hard drive at regular intervals.

With regular use, the files in the hard drive will be fragmented. In this situation, the drive will slow down dramatically in that it needs to check multiple places for the file pieces when reading/write a file. This procedure will surely take a pretty long time. In response to this issue, the best effective means is to defrag the hard drive. Though defragging greatly benefits disk performance, does it also facilitate data recovery on hard disk? Actually, the answer depends on when you defrag the hard drive.

Will Defragging Hard Drive Benefit or Harm Data Recovery?

Defrag Before Data Loss

Regardless of the kinds of data recovery you perform on hard drive, there is an undoubted fact that it’s far easier to recover a sequential file than a fragmented file. More specifically, if you accidentally delete a file, in file recovery, you need to locate all the file pieces. If the file is fragmented, you have to spend more time to find them. In contrast, if you’ve defragged the hard drive before file deletion, the file piece may be sequential. So, finding them is very easy. This is also one of the reasons for defragging a hard drive on a periodical basis.

Defrag After Data Loss

However, if you defrag a hard drive after data loss, the outcome of data recovery will be totally different. As we all know, deleted files actually remain in the drive, only inaccessible by normal means. But they will disppear thoroughly absolutely after data overwrite. Thus, for instance, if you defrag your disk after accidentally deleting a PST file, your PC will re-arrange the bits of data in the hard drive to make them better-organized. Thereby, defragging may overwrite the lost PST file. In this case, it will be much harder to recover PST.


In a nutshell, it is highly advisable to run defragmentation on your hard disk on a regular basis. However, provided that you’re subject to data loss, you should never defrag the disk. Otherwise, you may destroy the chances for successful data recovery.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including recover sql and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com

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