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I have a lot of external hard disk drives, mainly formatted in NTFS since I have both Windows and Mac. I know iDefrag, but it only works with HFS hard drives and I was wondering if there are any utilities to defrag NTFS drives.

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In short, no, I don't know of a way to do this other than booting into Windows.

That being said, a few things:

  1. Why do you feel that the drive needs to be defragmented? Modern NTFS does a fairly decent job of preventing itself from getting too fragmented, at least when running under Windows 7+.
  2. If you're sharing these disks with Windows machines, any reason you can't defrag when connected to those platforms?
  3. The NTFS implementation on OSX has never really been extremely robust. While I'm not sure if the reason is solely due to how to handle ACLs (file permissions), it is worth pointing out that NTFS write capability isn't enabled by default.
  4. If your primary machine is OSX, then you're probably best served using HFS+ as your file system. NTFS should be "SneakerNet" with the implication that it probably spends a significant amount of its time on a Windows machine anyway.

Probably #3 is the strongest point here, but at least this list is worth some thought?

  • I completely understand all of your points and I must certainly agree with you. On my Mac I have a SSD in HFS+, I have NTFS only on external hard drives of course and I read those thanks to Tuxera NTFS. Obviously I can eventually defrag them in a Windows environment, but I was just curious if that was possible under Mac OS X as well. – AlessioX Mar 1 '16 at 19:04
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Not sure if this works for NTFS but you can defrag it without a dedicated defrag tool but you will be needing a clone app.

  1. Clone your NTFS hard drive using clone software to another hard drive
  2. Format the NTFS hard drive completely
  3. Restore clone copy back to the formatted hard drive

Logic: Formatting will erase all the fragmented data present on the NTFS disk. When clone copy is restored the OS will allocate contagious memory locations to data which will remove fragmentation. I am recommending this since it works for HFS formatted drives.

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protected by Community Aug 1 '17 at 17:10

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