Microsoft

Pop Quiz Solution: Why defrag gets interrupted

We awarded a $25 Fatbrain gift certificate to one TechRepublic passport owner who helped explain why the defrag procedure under Windows 98 gets interrupted.


Congratulations and a $25 gift certificate to Fatbrain go to Mike Bleidistel, whose name was selected from a pool of over 100 TechRepublic readers who submitted solutions to this pop quiz.

The situation:
TechRepublic passport owner Jerald Trexler wrote: “I have regularly scheduled defrag under Windows 98, but it's always interrupted by some program that accesses the hard drive. It's not someone on the computer, because I schedule it during the early morning hours, and I'm too old to stay up that late! Any suggestions?”

The explanations and solutions:
This quiz is one of those for which there’s no single correct answer because there are so many variables in system configuration. Basically, everyone who submitted a solution blamed something running in the background, which causes the contents of the hard drive to change during the middle of defrag. Common causes include:
  • any open end-user application
  • a screen saver
  • a power saver
  • a disk manager
  • an antivirus application
  • a ping from the network, if connected to one, such as a DHCP renewal
  • FindFast (If you use Microsoft Office 97 or 2000, this feature automatically updates indexes every two hours by default.)
  • Office 2000 Tuneup (otuneup.exe)

The consensus was to turn off background applications manually, which means pressing [Ctrl][Alt][Delete] and using the Close Program dialog box to close them one at a time. Many readers endorsed turning off basically everything except Explorer and Systray. Still other readers recommended running defrag from Safe mode.

Another popular suggestion was to schedule Scandisk, set to automatically fix errors, before the scheduled defrag. Defrag may be interrupted if it encounters a disk error.

Some readers recommended setting defrag to run on startup. However, before you take that step, you have to decide whether your user machines need to run defrag on a daily basis, and whether your users will want to wait.

Try this registry workaround
Daniel Wortman wrote: ”There is a way to get around this problem. Locate your Windows 98 CD. Browse to the \tools\mtsutil folder. Then find the defrag.ini file. Right click and then select install. Doing so will add the command Defrag/All to the RunServicesOnce key in the Registry. Restart your computer. Defrag will run before anything else loads in the registry, thereby preventing any program from writing to disk. As the name of the Registry key suggests, this program only runs once. To run this multiple times, copy the defrag.ini file to your hard disk for easy access. Then use the same process every time you need to defrag your hard disk.”
TechRepublic passport owner Jerald Trexler submitted the topic for this quiz, and we sent him a TechRepublic T-shirt. To comment on the solutions, please post a comment below. If you’d like to suggest a topic for an upcoming pop quiz, please send us a note .
Congratulations and a $25 gift certificate to Fatbrain go to Mike Bleidistel, whose name was selected from a pool of over 100 TechRepublic readers who submitted solutions to this pop quiz.

The situation:
TechRepublic passport owner Jerald Trexler wrote: “I have regularly scheduled defrag under Windows 98, but it's always interrupted by some program that accesses the hard drive. It's not someone on the computer, because I schedule it during the early morning hours, and I'm too old to stay up that late! Any suggestions?”

The explanations and solutions:
This quiz is one of those for which there’s no single correct answer because there are so many variables in system configuration. Basically, everyone who submitted a solution blamed something running in the background, which causes the contents of the hard drive to change during the middle of defrag. Common causes include:
  • any open end-user application
  • a screen saver
  • a power saver
  • a disk manager
  • an antivirus application
  • a ping from the network, if connected to one, such as a DHCP renewal
  • FindFast (If you use Microsoft Office 97 or 2000, this feature automatically updates indexes every two hours by default.)
  • Office 2000 Tuneup (otuneup.exe)

The consensus was to turn off background applications manually, which means pressing [Ctrl][Alt][Delete] and using the Close Program dialog box to close them one at a time. Many readers endorsed turning off basically everything except Explorer and Systray. Still other readers recommended running defrag from Safe mode.

Another popular suggestion was to schedule Scandisk, set to automatically fix errors, before the scheduled defrag. Defrag may be interrupted if it encounters a disk error.

Some readers recommended setting defrag to run on startup. However, before you take that step, you have to decide whether your user machines need to run defrag on a daily basis, and whether your users will want to wait.

Try this registry workaround
Daniel Wortman wrote: ”There is a way to get around this problem. Locate your Windows 98 CD. Browse to the \tools\mtsutil folder. Then find the defrag.ini file. Right click and then select install. Doing so will add the command Defrag/All to the RunServicesOnce key in the Registry. Restart your computer. Defrag will run before anything else loads in the registry, thereby preventing any program from writing to disk. As the name of the Registry key suggests, this program only runs once. To run this multiple times, copy the defrag.ini file to your hard disk for easy access. Then use the same process every time you need to defrag your hard disk.”
TechRepublic passport owner Jerald Trexler submitted the topic for this quiz, and we sent him a TechRepublic T-shirt. To comment on the solutions, please post a comment below. If you’d like to suggest a topic for an upcoming pop quiz, please send us a note .

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