Daily Archives: July 26, 2010

Defragging Middle-earth

I couldn’t tell you exactly how old my install of Lord of the Rings Online is.

I have upgraded my computer since the game came out.

On the other hand, I have screen shots sitting in one LOTRO directory from February of 2007.

My very first screen shot in Middle-earth

So I may very well have dragged my install of LOTRO from the old machine to the new and kept on plugging away.

And while LOTRO has always been somewhat tough on my system, grinding the hard drive and boosting temperatures on my video cards to the point of potential failure, performance issues seemed to be pretty bad this time around in Middle-earth.

Video was getting slow and jerky even when I adjusted settings down.  I was beginning to be able to figure out where zone lines were in the game, as my character would come to a halt at them as the hard drive ground for a while to load up new art assets.

I recalled seeing a post over at Mordor of Bust about a utility called FlashBoost.

This utility let you put your LOTRO install on a flash drive to speed up performance.  However, it is Windows 7 only, and I’m still sitting on XP and will continue to be there until I get a new computer, which is a pretty distant prospect right now.

But that post pointed me to Turbine’s LOTRO DAT File defrag tool, a utility they put out back in February.

Turbine put this utility together to fix data fragmentation within the game’s data (.dat) files.

It seems that after three years of patches, expansions, and updates, this has become something of an issue.  It certainly appeared to be so on my system.

I downloaded the utility, which is just an executable that you place in the LOTRO folder and then run.  It brings up a command window to display progress, and then starts going through your .dat files one by one, defragmenting those which need it.

In my case, that was all but two out of the dozen or so such files.  The utility ran for nearly three hours on my system.  Of course, some of the files run past 2 GB in size, so taking some time is to be expected.

And how did things run afterward?

Very well indeed.

Performance was improved dramatically.  But then, with some of my files being well past the three year mark, I suppose that is to be expected.  This past weekend I was able to turn my settings back up and run freely through the land without hitching or hearing the hard drive grind to load a file.

Another issue resolved.