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Disc defragmentation guide

Some people buy a new computer or reinstall the operating system immediately when they think their computer is slow. Today, we will explore a tool which can increase the overall performance of the computer.

What does defragmentation mean?

Defragmentation is a process designed to increase access speed by rearranging files stored on a disk to occupy contiguous storage locations. A data fragmentation occurs when saving, changing or deleting files. It saves the changed files in a different location than the original ones. This leads to a data fragmentation on the disk with a consequent need to search in various locations. This slows down the device. Defragmentation joins the fragmented data into one cluster that can be found faster and easier.

Windows XP vs. Windows 7

Windows 7 introduced an option to plan the defragmentation; i.e. an automatized defragmentation set to start at a given time and frequency, which can be scheduled by the user. Windows XP unfortunately does not offer this feature and therefore the user has to keep in mind the need for defragmentation and run it at least once every three months.

How to run the defragmentation?

In Windows XP, open the Disk Defragmenter by clicking the Start button, Run and type Disk Defragmenter. In Windows 7 you can type this directly into the search box and then, in the list of results, click Disk Defragmenter. When the tool is running, choose the disk you want to analyse (find out if the disk needs defragmenting) and click Analyse disk. This process can take several minutes. If the analysis tool recommends that the volume be defragmented, click Defragment to begin the operation. Disk defragmentation might take from several minutes up to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and the degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process.



How to schedule Disk Defragmenter to run regularly?

In Windows 7, Disk Defragmenter runs at regular intervals when your computer is turned on, so you do not have to remember to run it. It is scheduled to run once a week at an early hour in the morning. However, you can change how often Disk Defragmenter runs, and at what time of the day.

Open Disk Defragmenter by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Disk Defragmenter, and then, in the list of results, click Disk Defragmenter. Administrator permission required—if you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Click Configure schedule, and then do one of the following:

  • To change how often Disk Defragmenter runs, click the menu next to Frequency, and then click Daily, Weekly, or Monthly.
  • If you set the frequency to Weekly or Monthly, click the menu next to Day to choose the day of the week or month that you want Disk Defragmenter to run.
  • To change the time of day when Disk Defragmenter runs, click the menu next to Time, and then choose a time.
  • To change the volumes that are scheduled to be defragmented, click Select disks, and then follow the instructions.
  • Click OK.


Advanced defragmentation tools

There are many tools offering advanced defragmentation functions. One of them is the popular Defragger, offering more functions in comparison with the Disk Defragmenter. In Defragger, you can find functions like analysis and defragmentation of individual files or folders and it also offers a portable version.

For more tips on increasing the computer performance, please see the Speed up your operating system article. 

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