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Defragment Your Hard Drive on a Regular Basis

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defragmentation

Excessive fragmentation can cause significant performance problems. If the drive has not been defragmented in some time, it will make your computer sluggish and will also mean that when you do defragment, it will take a long time. Defragmenting on a regular basis (once every month or so for most users will help keep your computer running at peak and will keep the defragmentation process down to a reasonable time.

 

As you add programs and files to your computer, it often breaks files side by side to increase the speed of access and retrieval. However, as files are updated, your computer saves these updates on the largest space available on the hard drive, often found far away from the other adjacent sectors of the file. The result is a fragmented file. Fragmented files cause slower performance because your computer must now search for all of the file's parts. In other words, your computer knows where all the pieces are, but putting them back together in the correct order when you need them can slow your computer down.

Windows includes a Disk Defragmenter program to piece all your files back together again and to make them available to open more quickly.

Note: Windows 7 and Windows Vista are preconfigured to run Disk Defragmenter on a weekly basis. If you would like to run the tool manually or to adjust the schedule, click the section for your specific operating system.

Run Disk Defragmenter:

Windows 7 users:

Run Disk Defragmenter manually: 

  • Click Start click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Select the drive you want to defragment, and then click Analyze disk. Disk Defragmenter will evaluate your disk and then make a recommendation as to whether a disk requires defragmentation.

  • If disk defragmentation is recommended, click Defragment disk to clean up your computer. The Disk Defragmenter reorganizes files by placing them together and sorting them by program and size.
Adjust the schedule:
  • Click Start click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Click Configure Schedule....
  • In the Disk Defragmenter: Modify Schedule dialog box, choose how often, which day, what time of day you want defragmentation to occur, and on which disks, and then click OK.
  • Click OK again.

 

Windows Vista users:

Run Disk Defragmenter manually: 

  • Click Start click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Select the drive you want to defragment by clicking Select volumes. Disk Defragmenter will evaluate your disk and make a recommendation as to whether the disk requires defragmentation..

  • If disk defragmentation is recommended, click Defragment disk to clean up your computer. The Disk Defragmenter reorganizes files by placing them together and sorting them by program and size.
Adjust the schedule:
  • Click Start click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Click Modify schedule....
  • In the Disk Defragmenter: Modify Schedule dialog box, choose how often, what day, and what time of day you want defragmentation to occur, and then click OK.
  • Click OK again.

Note: If you want to modify which drives are defragmented, in the main Disk Defragmenter dialog box, click Select volumes, and then select the drive you want to defragment.

 

Windows XP users:

  • In Start click My Computer.
  • In the My Computer dialog box, right-click the drive you wish to check for errors (for most of us this is the C: drive, unless you have multiple drives on your computer), and then click Properties.
  • In the Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, and then, in the Defragmentation section, click Defragment Now....
  • The Check Now button in the Tools tab
  • In the Disk Defragmenter dialog box, select the Volume (most likely your Local Disk C:) at the top of the screen, and then click Analyze.
  • After analyzing your computer, the Disk Defragmenter displays a message stating whether you should defragment your computer. Press Defragment to clean up your computer, if necessary. The Disk Defragmenter reorganizes files by placing them together and sorting them by program and size.

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