By Claire West

‘Slow computers’ is the most common employee complaint to the IT department, according to an independent survey of 100 IT Directors commissioned by Diskeeper Corporation and conducted by B2B research house, Vanson Bourne. ‘Lost passwords’ ranked second and ‘system crashes’ third.

A concurrent analysis of Twitter revealed over a thousand tweets in a month by UK members frustrated at their sluggish PCs. For example, “THIS COMPUTER SO **** SLOW YOU GOTTA TURN IT ON MONDAY JUST TO USE IT FRIDAY”; “my computer is being so slow right now”; “work is so boring today because my computer is so slow!!!!!!! Arghhhh”; “Now I know why I use the phone all the time...cos the computer runs so damn slow!!! Grrrrr”.

Yet organisations are ignoring one of the most common causes of slow computers and system crashes — fragmented hard drives. Over two thirds (69%) of IT Directors surveyed do not consider defragmentation a priority, and over half (56%) do not have processes in place to ensure regular defragmentation.

Sue Cantwell, Managing Director EMEA of Diskeeper Corporation, the market leader in preventing and resolving fragmentation to improve performance, comments: “Fragmentation happens to a hard disk as soon as you save, change, or delete files. The changes that you save to a file are often stored at a location on the hard disk that's different from the original file. Further changes are saved to even more locations. Both the file and the hard disk itself become fragmented, and your computer slows down as it has to search in many different places just to open up the file.

“Fragmentation is something that can be easily and inexpensively prevented by disk optimisation software. Organisations in the UK can easily save their employees precious time and helpdesk resources by running this type of software with little to no overhead.” Cantwell continues: “The cost to a large enterprise could easily run into the hundreds of thousands. The benefits of taking this simple step include lower backup times, quicker antivirus scans, faster boot up times and greener drives.”

The survey saw poor performance cited as the reason behind 33% of PC refreshes, a further indication of the level of waste in many IT departments. Addressing fragmentation increases the lifespan of equipment significantly, and Cantwell revealed many of Diskeeper Corporation’s clients are able to delay hardware upgrades for up to five years.