How to Defrag Your Windows Computer

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Prepare Your Computer for Defragmentation

Defrag your computer
Defrag a Computer.

Before you defrag your computer there are a number of steps you must take first. Read this entire procedure before you use the defrag utility.

The Windows operating system places files and programs on a hard drive where there is space; one file will not necessarily be located in one physical place. Over time, a hard drive can become fragmented with hundreds of files broken up in many locations across the drive. Ultimately, this can slow down a computer’s response time because it takes longer for it to access information. That's why using a defrag program can play an important role in speeding up your computer.

The process of defragmentation places all parts of a file together in the same place on the drive. It organizes all directories and files according to how you use your computer. After this process is complete, your computer will most likely run faster.

To begin this process, perform the following steps:

  1. Make sure your work is backed up to another media – copy or backup all work files, photos, email, etc., to another hard drive, CDROM, DVD or another type of media.​
  2. Make sure the hard drive is healthy – use CHKDSK to scan and fix the drive.
  3. Close programs currently open – including virus scanners and other programs that have icons in the system tray (right-hand side of the taskbar)
  4. Assure your computer has a constant source of power – The important thing is to be able to stop the defragmentation process if there is a power outage. If you have frequent power brown outs or other outages, you should not use a defragmentation program without a battery backup. Note: If your computer does shut off while defragmenting, it may crash the hard drive or corrupt the operating system, or both.
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Open the Defrag Program

Defrag a Computer.
  1. Click the Start Button
  2. Find the Disk Defragmentation program and open it.
    1. Click the Programs icon
    2. Click the Accessories icon
    3. Click the System Tools icon
    4. Click the Disk Defragmentation icon
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Determine If You Need to Defrag Your Drive

Determine If You Need to Defrag.
  1. Click the Analyze button – the program will analyze your hard drive
  2. Do what the result screen says – If it says your hard drive does not need defragmentation, you probably will not benefit from doing it. You can close the program. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
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Defrag the Hard Drive

Defrag the Hard Drive.
  1. If the program says your hard drive needs defragmenting, click on the Defragment button.
  2. Allow the program to do its work. It will take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to defragment your hard drive depending on: the size of the drive, the amount of fragmentation, the speed of your processor, the amount of your operating memory, etc.
  3. When the program has completed, close the program window. If there are any error messages make note of the error and print the log of this process to use in future maintenance or repair of the hard drive.