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Memory fragmentation is a thing of the past. It's best to avoid sites that want to sell you a cure!

Leo, while going through some websites, I got a new term – memory fragmentation. The author has clearly mentioned that it shouldn't be confused with "hard disk fragmentation." What is it? Is it really a concern for computer users? If so, what measures should we take?

In this excerpt from Answercast #42, I look at the old issue of memory fragmentation and caution readers about software that claims to fix it.

Memory fragmentation

Memory fragmentation, today, is nothing more than... I'll call it "scary marketing speak" to sell you software that you don't really need.

  • Ultimately, memory fragmentation doesn't exist – not in the way that these tools present it.

The scenario that they describe is (typically) that:

  • If you run this tool of ours, it will do something wonderful to clear up all the memory fragmentation you're experiencing, and your system will run faster.

Once upon a time (and I'm talking like Windows 3 time or maybe Windows 95 time), that may have been true. Even then, it was only true for a short time.

That was then...

Today, with systems based on Windows NT (in other words, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), memory fragmentation is not something that anybody, other than a computer programmer, needs to pay attention to – or needs to be aware of.

You, as a computer user, do not need to do anything – nothing! – with respect to memory fragmentation.

Article C5676 - August 9, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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