What is “disk fragmentation”?
Imagine a book split into several parts, some pages are over here, other pages in another room on another floor altogether. You will have to walk a lot when you need to read the book. It may sound silly, but this is exactly what happens to files on your harddisk. Defragmentation will put all the parts (fragments) back together, making your computer a lot faster.
What is “disk optimization”?
Imagine a big library with lot’s of books, spread out all over the building and not sorted whatsoever. There is an index telling you exactly where every book is, but you will have to walk a lot when you need several books. This is exactly what happens on your harddisk, the files that belong to an application can be all over the place, anywhere on the harddisk. Optimization will bring all the files together in one place, leaving the rest of the harddisk empty, and will sort the files, for example alphabetically.
How It Works?
The picture below gives the perfect idea of files being defragmented.
As advanced as hard drives have become, one item they are not very good at is housekeeping, or maybe that should be drive keeping. When files are created, deleted, or modified it’s almost a certainty they will become fragmented. Fragmented simply means the file is not stored in one place in its entirety, or what computer folks like to call a contiguous location. Different parts of the file are scattered across the hard disk in noncontiguous pieces. The more fragmented files there are on a drive, the more performance and reliability suffer as the drive heads have to search for all the pieces in different locations. The Disk Defragmenter Utility is designed to reorganize noncontiguous files into contiguous files and optimize their placement on the hard drive for increased reliability and performance.
Defragmenting your hard disk once in a month will result smoother disk operations and faster loading of files.