Windows XP / Beginners

Defragmenting the NTFS master file table

The master file table, or MFT, is very important to the operation of the file system on your computer. Think of it as a phone directory of all the files on your computer. It is a big database of every file on your computer and it is stored on the hard drive. As the number of files and directories on your computer increase, so does the master file table. Over time, the master file table can also become fragmented. Because the master file table is so important to computer operations, it is used any time you want data from the hard drive. Defragmenting it will help your performance.

The built-in defragmenter will not defragment the MFT. Microsoft recommends that you adjust the amount of space that is reserved for the MFT, then back up your drive, and then do a full reformat and then restore your whole drive. This seems like way too much effort expended to me. Once again, Diskeeper by Executive Software comes to the rescue. Also, by default, when you perform a boot defrag, the option to defragment the master file table is already selected.

Using the Diskeeper method, instead of the Microsoft method, will save you hours of time wasted backing up and restoring your drive.

[Previous] [Contents] [Next]