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do multiple defrag damage hard drive over time?

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The person who told your friend that it damages the hard drive doesn't know their stuff. All parts wear out over time, simply by use. Doing multiple defrags, even daily/weekly, does causes less wear and tear than forcing the read/write head to locate all of the parts of fragmented files that are frequently used. In fact, waiting until the drive is 20% fragmented is putting more strain on it than doing it weekly when it's below 3% fragmented. Not doing defrag at all will shorten the life of the drive.