MatthewHSE
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Posted: Feb 14, 06, 16:51    Heavily fragmented drive won't defragment
I've got a computer with a 100 gig SATA Raid system set up. (Two drives mirrored for data redundancy.) The drive has several partitions, which of course show up as separate drives to Windows 2000.

One of the partitions (the largest) recently had quite a lot of data moved off of it onto another hard drive. The result is that the partition is now extremely fragmented. The problem is that it doesn't want to defrag very well. It's a 86 gig partition with 26% free space.

The built-in Windows defragmenter is pretty much useless. It says the drive (partition in reality) needs to be defragmented, but running the defragmenter has no real effect. So, I tried O&O Defrag, which I've had good results with before. It also didn't help much (or at all).

I checked all the obvious things (emptied the Recycle Bin, for instance) but nothing makes any difference. It's like it has become so entirely fragmented that it can't be fixed. It's currently about 45% fragmented, which is way too high in my opinion. Are there any other tools or utilities I can use to try to defrag that drive/partition?

In the end I suppose I could back up the data, format the partition and restore the data, but I hate to do that except as a last resort. There's just too much chance of data corruption.
jeffd
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Posted: Feb 14, 06, 17:00    
I've never seen a failure like that from Windows native defrager, we use it on 300 gigabyte mirrored sata drives with no issues, w2k in that case.

The partitions are NTFS, right? There's something like a 10 gig limit for Fat32 defragging under W2K, that was fixed under XP I believe.

I think something else is wrong, that's my first guess. Try running a disk check utility on the hard drives, which will be a pain since you have to do one at a time, with a floppy, or a bootable disk utility compilation. I think only ibm supports sata with its disk checking, but the disk checker works on other drives.

If those are ibm hard drives it's almost 100% certain that one of the disks is failing.

My guess is that the raid is messed up somehow, or that one of the disks is going bad.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a new backup before you start. I'm guessing something is failing, that's what it looks like when raid starts failing.
MatthewHSE
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Posted: Feb 14, 06, 17:09    
Thanks, I'll run those checks and let you know what I find. Right off-hand, I think the RAID is functioning correctly since the BIOS alerts us to problems with the RAID when booting up, and we haven't seen any errors lately. However, I could be wrong on that, and there could well be a problem elsewhere with the drives.

Yes, the partitions are NTFS. We've defragmented this partition within the past week and it worked fine. It's only been since we moved all those files around that the problems started.

The drives in the RAID are SATA but the're made by Maxtor and are practically new. If one is going bad, at least it will be under warranty.

Come to think of it, I don't have a good disk check utility anymore. Are there any free ones (or paid with a free trial) that would be good for this?
jeffd
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Posted: Feb 14, 06, 17:17    
That all sounds good, you can get the ultimate boot cd, which has most of the hard disk disk checking utitilities on it, those are the ones you download and have to run off of floppies. Those work fine. It's got almost all of them, plus memtest and a bunch of other fun stuff. That's a linux based cd, but it doesn't matter what's running the utilities.

I'd reformat before spending any more time trying to figure it out, just backup the data to a removable hard disk or something, then copy it back. See if that fixes it. I've really never seen any issue with w2k disk defragmenter except it not doing a totally great job on the windows partition itself.

I bet some weird windows bug got triggered when all the data got moved, or one of the disks started failing because of the extra stress put on it. I'll put 70% on a windows bug, and 30% on a hard disk error.

Oh, and of course look at the Windows event viewer, probably system, but possibly applications, and look for any red flags. Those will show you where the error probably comes from.
techAdmin
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Posted: Feb 14, 06, 17:39    
This might or might not be relevant:

:: Quote ::
I've seen on several computers where the built in Disk Defragmenter not longer runs correctly. This often happens when you install a third party defragmenter... src
MatthewHSE
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Posted: Mar 9, 06, 13:53    
Thanks for the advice. I backed up the data, formatted the drive, restored the data, and all is well.

Funny thing though, I had to format the drive from the command line instead of through Windows Explorer. For some reason it had to unmount the drive first, and couldn't do it except from the CLI. So that might have been part of the problem all along.
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