Friday, 15 February 2008

How to defrag your drive efficiently

If your computer is running slowly you may have been told to defragment your hard drive. This because as large files are saved to the hard-drive they are often broken up into file fragments and stored in the gaps between other file fragments. This increases the time that Windows takes to access your files.

To check whether your drive needs to be defragmented go to My Computer, right-click on the drive's icon, and select 'Properties' from the menu. Go to the 'Tools' tab on the dialog box that opens. Click the 'Defragment now' button to open the defrag program. Click the 'Analyse' button to get a report. Do not defrag yet, even if the software says that the drive needs defragmenting.

In order to get the most out of the defragmentation process it is best to do a little preparation beforehand. Firstly, close all the applications you are running and reboot your PC. When you are logged back in, go to your web browser and clear out the cache of files. Instructions are available on this site for doing this in Internet Explorer and Firefox. There is an excellent freeware application called CCleaner that will remove many non-essential files that Windows and other programs - including IE and Firefox - have left all over your hard-drive, you may want to download it and use it to give your drive the once-over. Now is also a good time to remove any other programs and files that you don't need any more.

You can now go back to the defrag application by following the above instructions and run the 'Defragment' button, safe in the knowledge that you will be getting the most out of the process.

Note: it is best to not use the PC while it defragments the hard-drive. The process can take quite a while, so it may be worth closing any applications that are running, including those in the systray to speed up the process. If you stop your anti-virus and other protective software it is best to disconnect the PC from the Internet.


Anonymous said...

I used to "defrag" my departments component testing computers once per week as per company policy. I can't tell you how many people are needlessly suffering with a slow computer out there right now but it's a LOT.

Another good tip is to run the "scandisk" at the same time to check for corruptions and to use a few different updated virus checking programs.

Even after all that press ctrl+alt+delete ONCE to see a list of whats running and look for programs that you really don't need running 24/7 and remove them from the startup list.

If you have a lot of software on your computer - many programs are running "automatic update checking" programs in the background. You don't need them all to run all the time.

Great article and a great tip, though not followed often enough imo.

shearyadi said...

wow, very useful informations! I never thought that defragmenting need some preparations before read your article. I used to just start to defrag everytime my PC runs slow :)

speedbird76 said...

Easiest way to defrag is with automatic defragmenters. These run in the background and defrag automatically as required when the PC is idling. No more guesswork as to when to defrag and no more time wasted with defragging manually or setting a schedule.

Eerik said...

For easier defragging, you can insert a rgistry entry so that you can defrag any drive by right-clicking on it and choosing "defrag".


Stepterix said...

Thank you all for your comments.

eerik, that link doesn't seem to work. You appear to have typed a '.' after the '.com'... here is the correct link