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Fragmented MFT



I have two partitions on a single hard drive - both NTFS. One contains the operating system & programs, the other is for data storage.

Every time I defrag them, both partitions always leave some MFT fragmented. Even though I recall reading that Win XP is supposed to defrag MFT automatically.

Regardless, question is: How can I defragment those MFT?

Your assistance will be very much appreciated.

Best regards, Dick

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
hi dick

yes, xp tries to keep the mft defragmented, with it's very unique, and groundbreaking optimization strategy

what you are looking at, by the way, is the mft xone, not the mft...but that's another discussion

the native defrag utility cannot defrag the mft...this must be done while the volume is not mounted.

xp tries to keep it contigous through it's optimization, but there are times it's not possible

obviously, there are times when making a file contigous is not possible...bad sectors, unmoveble files, etc...will create envirnments where perfect contigous-ness is not possible.

a few fragemnts will affect your performance not one bit... so not to worryway...but, if you'de like this mft xone to be as contigous as possible anyway, use perfect disc.

they have a free trial period, so go ahead and take advantage

also, you can defrag some other files that are not available to the native utility with this this free pagefile deffrag program...

You can also defrag the MFT with Diskeeper, but the only time that I did that I had to completely remove and reinstall Norton Antivirus. For some reason Norton didnt like the process and some of its files couldnt be found.


Thanks Dealer & Geffy for the reply. I didn't think that a few framented files would hurt, but I'm a purist so I'll try those jems out.

Best regards, Dick


Microsoft MVP
Under Windows XP, all but the first 16k (which also happens to be the first 16 clusters) of the $MFT can safely be moved online using Microsoft's defrag APIs. This means that ANY defragmenter should be able to defragment most of the $MFT online. However, since the first 16k of the $MFT can only be moved by performing an offline defrag, the best that most defragmenters can often do is to leave the $MFT in 2 pieces. Please note that the built-in defragmenter AND Diskeeper count the $MFTMirr as a part of the $MFT - even though it is a separate file. This means that if either the built-in defragmenter OR Diskeeper shows the $MFT as being in 2 pieces, then the $MFT is actually in 1 piece (the other "fragment" is the $MFTMirr).

- Greg/Raxco Software
Microsoft MVP - Windows Storage Management/File System

Disclaimer: I work for Raxco Software, the maker of PerfectDisk - a commercial defrag utility, as a systems engineer in the support department.

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