Defrag your Hard Drive

Defrag Hard Drive

Files and programs that are stored on your hard drive become fragmented over time.  This means that different parts of the files are stored in separate areas of the drive instead of next to each other.  When this happens, it can take longer for files to open.

It’s always a good idea to have a backup of your important files which is recommended no matter what.

#1. Make sure that your hard drive is healthy.

To do this you need to run a utility called CHKDSK. (please note if you have a solid-state drive this wouldn’t apply).

This is the Windows Key

windows key

Windows 10:
To get started, tap Windows Key + E to open a File Explorer window. In the left-hand navigation panel, click on This PC and then in the main part of the window under “Devices and drives” right-click on your primary drive (it should be labelled “C:”).

Right-click the “C:” drive and select Properties. Then in the window that opens Select the Tools tab. At the very top, there should be an option that says “This option will check the drive for file system errors.” Click the button next to it labelled Check.

Another window will appear. It may say that Windows hasn’t found any errors, but you can check your drive anyway. If that’s the case click on Scan drive and the scanning will begin.

The original CHKDSK can also be run from the command prompt.

To get started in Windows 10 go to Start > Scroll down to Windows system, and then right-click Command Prompt. In the context menu that opens select, More > Run as administrator.

You can also type CMD in the Search bar on the taskbar in Windows 10.  You can also type Windows Key + R and type CMD.

To run the check disk utility on a PC with one drive all you have to do is type in “chkdsk” and hit Enter on your keyboard; however, that will only check your disk for errors it won’t actually do anything to fix any problems it finds.

If you want to run CHKDSK on a system with multiple drives like a C: and D: drive, you’d run a command like this “chkdsk /f /r D:” but, again, don’t forget about the spaces.

Now that you know how to use the check disk utility don’t forget to run a scan once a month or so to keep tabs on your hard drive’s health.


#2. Close any programs that are currently open.

Including virus scanners and other programs that have icons in the system tray (right-hand side of the taskbar).


#3. Make sure that you have power connected.

You don’t want to do this when you are on battery. If closes down it could cause further issues.


#4. Open Defrag Program

Open Control Panel

A fast way to do this in any version of Windows is through the Run dialogue box (WIN+R). Just enter “control” to open Control Panel.

Click or tap Administrative Tools.

If you’re on Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click Defragment your hard drive just below the Administrative Tools heading to open Disk Defragmenter.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users should launch the program called Defragment and Optimize Drives.


#5. Analyze the Hard Drive

Before starting the defrag, you’d be wise to analyze the drive first. This step checks the drive for fragments and reports back how fragmented the drive really is, after which you can choose to defrag or skip the hard drive and not run a defrag.

Choose the Analyze button (Windows 10/8/XP) or Analyze disk button (Windows 7) to check for fragments on all the connected hard drives.

Take note of the fragmentation level shown next to each drive.

If the level of fragmentation seems high (above 20%), move on to the next step to defrag the drive. Otherwise, you’re probably safe skipping the defrag.

Another way to know if you should defrag the hard drive is to read what the defrag tool says on the screen. If it says the drive is OK, then you’re fine not running the defrag.


#6. Defrag the Hard Drive

If you’ve chosen to defrag the hard drive, it’s just a click away. However, the button for defragging the drive is called something different in some versions of Windows.

Select the hard drive you want to defrag.

Click the button to start the defrag.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 call it Optimize, Windows 7 uses the term Defragment disk, Vista users should select Defragment now…, and XP calls the button Defragment .

It could take anywhere from several minutes to several hours to defrag a hard drive. The time it takes to run a defrag on your hard drive depends entirely on the number of file fragments the tool identifies, the size of your hard drive, and the speed of your machine.




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