Defragmenting Your Hard Disk In Windows 95/98
If you don't know about it already, Defrag is a wonderful
(although a bit "underpowered") utility that comes with Windows. You
might have seen the DOS-based Scandisk come up if you ever 'improperly' shut down a 95/98
machine. At any rate, you should always defragment the hard disk you are going to
copy the image file on. (See Why make an image file? for details on this).
Remember, you're going to need about 700MB of free space, but the more the better.
To run Defrag, Open "My Computer" from the Windows
desktop. Right-click on the hard disk you're going to use for the image file
(normally "C"), and select "Properties". This window will show
you how much space you've used and how much free space you have left on this drive.
Click the "Tools" tab. If you have installed the Defrag tool, you will see
it as one of the options on the Tools tab. Run this tool. If Windows tells you
something like "This disk is 2% fragmented. You don't need to defragment this
drive now. If you want to defragment it anyway, click Start", you should still
defragment the drive. Remember, if you've used 1.5GB of drive space, 2% of that is
still 30MB (or there abouts) of "fragmented" space.
If you don't have the defrag tool available at that screen,
you'll need to install it. You can do this from the Add/Remove Programs icon in the
Control Panel, but I'm not going to tell you how to do that.
Why defrag? Simple - each time you put an image on
your harddrive, Windows will write the information in any available slot on the drive.
It's not really a linerar process, unfortunately. If you don't defragment
your harddrive, you can get erroneous errors when you try and burn a disc - I've even
gotten the hated "Bad Medium" message from a not-so-badly fragmented harddrive.
Although you can get away without defragging between each image you write, if you
want to have no coasters, you're going to have to do it. If you don't mind coasters
every now and again, defrag about once every 20 images, or once a week, whichever comes
Another alternative to Defragging your harddrive all the
time (which can be a real pain if you have a large FAT-32 drive) is to make a separate
partition that's used for nothing but holding image files. Check out my Advanced Burning Techniques page for more information on all that.