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If I'm capturing an image with imagex.exe /capture ..., does it matter if I defrag the hard disk prior to doing so (or strictly speaking, before sysprep)? Is there any benefit to doing so with a file-based imager like this? Would there be any benefit to defragging after applying the image?

I am asking about defragging non-SSD drives. I believe defragging an SSD is generally considered a no-no.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

No, you don't need to. Imagex.exe creates a WIM file which is a file-based disk image. It's not a disk clone so it won't take into account the way the disk space is used or where the free space is.

Same goes for applying the image to a machine - I doubt you would need to defrag.

On the flip side, defragging is definitely recommended when capturing block level images using Ghost or SCVMM P2V.

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