Defragmenting Your Hard Drive

Written by Mark Sanborn: Oct 15, 2007

What is Defragmentation?

Well defragmentation is the undoing of fragmentation. Fragmentation is described as the disarray of files stored in an inefficient manner. In other words, your computer is fast and lazy. It stores files wherever it pleases without giving much thought of how it is going to find the file in the future. Your computer is like a mechanic that forgets to put his/her tools away when they are done with them and can’t find them without a hunt around the garage. What defragmentation does is go through all the files and places them in a manner in which it is easy to find for later retrieval, thus speeding up the time it takes to find files on your computer.

How often do I need to do it?

As often as necessary…seriously. You need to run a check whenever you feel your computer could use a quick defrag. If the windows defrag says you need to defrag, then go ahead and do it. If you haven’t done a defrag or this is the first time that you heard of the concept you probably need to do it.

What can I expect?

Don’t expect to see blistering speed and increased performance from a simple defrag. Defragmentation will increase the speed of programs loading and decrease the time it takes to search for files but if you are experiencing extremely slow computer performance you probably have spyware/adware. Possibly even bloatware.

So how do you do it you ask?

Defragmentation for Windows XP

Checking if you need to defrag

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.

  2. Click the drive that you want to analyze.

  3. Click Analyze to begin the analysis.

  4. Review the results of the analysis after it is complete by clicking View Report. If the analysis tool recommends that the volume be defragmented, follow the steps in the next section.

Defragment the Disk

  1. If the Disk Defragmenter tool is not already running, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.

  2. Click the drive that you want to defragment.

  3. Click Defragment to begin the operation.

  4. Review the progress of the operation in the Defragmentation Display window. Fragmented files on the disk appear in red, contiguous files are blue, and system files are green. The goal is to eliminate most of the red in the window.

Defragmentation for Windows Vista

Windows Vista seems to enable scheduled disk degrags once a week by default so you should be ok. To see if you need to defrag go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

Alternative to the Windows Defragmenter

For a commercial program for disk degramentation that might be faster and use less resources try diskeeper. www.diskeeper.com website for more information.

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