Fragmentation can make your computer’s hard drive to do extra work in retrieving or storing files, effectively slowing down the overall system. Removable storage devices such as USB flash drives can also become heavily fragmented on continuous usage. To bring back the prime performance of your computer, it would need a thorough rearrangement of data through a process called disk defragmentation.
Most of us would hear the word “defrag” but actually don’t know how to use or where to start at all. It is not the same as an antivirus “scan”, as most individuals would interchange the definitions (viruses can also make the computer slow and usually can be fixed by virus scanning). You could find some help about disk defragmentation online, and most of the time you will be presented with commercially available products such as Diskeeper, Perfectdisk, and O&O Disk Defrag, or freeware tools such as Defraggler, and IOBit Smart Defrag. These are good disk defragmenter utilities, and works very well if you understand how to use it efficiently.
If in case you did not know, there is a piece of disk defrag software that is bundled with Microsoft Windows, and its called Disk Defragmenter. In my own opinion, this is the far most superior disk defragmenter for Windows PCs, as it is very well integrated with the operating system itself. It is made originally by Executive Software International, the maker of the commercial Diskeeper defrag software. And because it is bundled with the OS, the defragmentation process will be very efficient because the OS and the defrag tool directly “talk”, knowing how to optimize the computer unlike the third party defragmenters that don’t know the “inner” workings of the OS.
Since its introduction in Windows 98, the Disk Defragmenter undergone several improvements. For example, in the Windows 98 era, the defragmenter tool is a bit sensitive about the drives contents and always restart whenever there is a file change, opened programs etc.. In the Windows 7 it has improved significantly and now you can just use the computer whilst defragmenting. It also has three modes of passes: Defrag, Consolidate, and Relocate.
So, how to use the built-in Disk Defragmenter for Windows?
To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click “My Computer”. You will be presented with your computer’s drive(s), so if you want to defragment the primary drive (C:), you have to right-click it and select “Properties”.
2. Select the “Tools” tab, and you will find a “Defragment now” button. Click to start the Disk Defragmenter.
3. On the opening program, select the disk you want to defragment.
4. To know what drive(s) need to be defragmented, click “Analyze disk”. If the percentage is above 10%, you should defragment the disk now by clicking “Defragment”.
* Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk.