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Is it normal to take more than 48 hours to defrag 1TB external HDD?


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Hi guys, 

I'm new to the forum but I've been using defraggler for a while. However, this time I'm not sure if the time it's taking falls in the normal range of other users' typical defragmentation time. 

It's been taking almost 48 hours now but it says there's like 10 more hours to go and I suspect it's gonna take lot more than that. 

Of course, I googled first and read many posts (including this forum) that say fragmentation takes long and it is natural for it to have an inaccurate progress bar. I'm sure it depends on each system but there must be some sort of typical average time to expect. I mean, what's the odd of anyone's system taking more than 30 days to complete defragmentation? 


Let me give you my PC's spec and HDD's info for better background. 

CPU: Ryzen 5600X

RAM: 16GB 3200 * 2

M/B: Asus B550

GPU: RTX 3070 EX


HDD currently under defragmentation: External HDD, WD Passport 1TB 

- USB 3.0 connected

- Buffer Size: 8192kb

- Rotation Speed: 5400RPM

- Power Cycle Count: 265 counts

- Power on Hours: 160d 6h


- Analysis results:

    - 12 Fragmented Files (74.7GB)

    - 684 Total Fragments

    - 19% Fragmentation

- Current State:

    - 12 Fragmented Files (71.8GB)

    - 2183 Total Fragments

    - 18% Fragmentation



I think it's showing abnormal behavior to take more than 48h to complete defragmentation. What do you think? Is it under normally expected range given the above condition?  

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70-ish GB of fragments taking that long is way too long in my opinion, it should've finished a few hours later after you started it.

48 hours is beyond my level of patience and I would've cancelled it after getting past the 12 hour mark myself (although I would never subject my backup drive to that much time of "defragging"). That plus it's allot of time for the HDD and if it's a backup drive with your important backups stored on it you might want to consider cancelling the defrag and use something else that will finish ages quicker like the Optimize Drives feature built into Windows 10.

If it's an USB 3.0 External HDD be aware those can be very slow with a lack of performance after a particular Windows 10 update disabled write cache on them - but that's likely only helpful to have write cache enabled when writing to them.

One thing I've seen on Windows 10 is some USB 3.0 External HDDs take forever to defrag, i.e.; it seems impossible because of how slow they defrag. Plugging those drives into an old PC with only USB 2.0 and Windows XP finishes ages quicker - odd but true.

Edited by Andavari
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@Andavari Thanks for the answer. I don't know what the problem was but when I stopped the defragmentation, the fragment rate went straight up to 59% and I concluded that the drive could no longer be used. 

It was interesting though, that quick defrag finished within a few minutes indicating that the most of fragmented files were actually small files less than 50MB. 

Anyway, I copied the original files from the external drive to another drive and than fully formatted the drive. 

You were right about the speed though. It's VERY slow. Less than 1MB/s

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- One thing that will help to speed up the defrag process is to (temporarily) disable System Restore.

- When defragmenting an external drive I would only do a "simple defrag". Let the program analyze the disk and in the "file list" just simply tick all the boxes and hit "defrag checked".

System setup: http://speccy.piriform.com/results/gcNzIPEjEb0B2khOOBVCHPc


A discussion always stimulates the braincells !!!

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With todays larger drives a full consolidation takes a long time and is not needed for most users.
Let's face it you are not usually trying to save disc space on a TB drive.

So just do a file defragment.

In Defraggler do an Analyze and then 'View Files'.
Tick the box at the top to select all the fragmented files.
Then click on 'Defrag Checked'.

*** Out of Beer Error ->->-> Recovering Memory ***

Worried about 'Tracking Files'? Worried about why some files come back after cleaning? See this link:


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