How To Defrag Your Hard Drive

By Subodh / April 27, 2015

Keeping the laptop or desktop in top shape is something every computer user aspires for. However, your expensive PC may slow down after prolonged usage and you may get annoyed with the speed bottleneck and hanging mayhem! The reasons could be numerous, including malware attack, outdated device driver, but most of the times it is a fragmented HDD that leads to sluggish PC. When this happens, it is time you defragment the PC hard drive. In fact, this is what most geeks would tell you when you complain about a sluggish PC!

Defragmentation

Nuances of HDD Defragmentation

Except the newer SSDs, computer hard drives have rotational parts and data is stored by default in random sequences and blocks. With time, you store, delete and move new data. New programs are installed and uninstalled by users with time. In the process, data is written and stored randomly in free allocation units all over the HDD. When you load apps and access data, the HDD works harder to fetch all bits of data and it slows down the processing speed. Apart from the sluggish speed, fragmentation can reduce the longevity of the HDD in the long run.

Ways To Defrag The Hard Drive In Your PC

There are basically two ways to defrag the hard disk in a laptop or desktop running Windows. This is applicable for SATA hard disks and you should refrain from performing defrag on a SSD. Ideally, you should defrag the HDD when other apps are not running as this can be a resource consuming process.

  • Method 1: Using Windows Integrated Utility

You can use the inbuilt Windows defrag utility to tackle fragmentation in your computer’s hard drive. This utility is free and quite user friendly. However, you will not get too many controls on it.

  • Method 2: Using Third Party Utilities

Demanding users, however, resort to several third party PC optimization tools that offer advanced HDD defragmentation utility. You can find a lot of free and commercial third party apps nowadays.

Defragmenting The HDD In Windows 7

Windows 7 users need to choose Accessories from All Programs. Under System Tools, there is Disk Defragmenter. The UI that appears contains options for scheduling defragment session and disk analysis. After the app analyses, status of HDD, you can choose to defrag individual partitions. Based on the size of the hard disk and data, the analysis can be time consuming.

There is another way to run the defragment tool in Windows 7 and it is a faster process. Right click on a partition that you want to defragment in ‘My computer’. Choose ‘Properties’ and select ‘Tools’ thereafter. Clicking on’ Defragment Now’ will initiate the Windows defrag tool. Then perform analysis and run defrag.

Defragmenting The HDD In Windows 8

Windows 8 based computers are configured by default to run a defragmentation operation once per week. However, you may surely check the status of the hard disk. Access the Search Charm by pressing Windows + Q. Then type in ‘Defragment’ and pick the option ‘Defragment and optimize your drives’. If the fragmentation status is above 10 percent for any HDD partition opt for defragmentation. While you can continue working while the defragmentation utility is running, it is better that you let the utility run when you do not need to use the PC much.

The Results Of Defragmenting The HDD

While defragmenting the hard disk in your PC can resolve sluggish performance issues, do not expect it to serve as a miracle. Windows 7 users can experience perceptible improvement in boot time. A small performance boost is something nearly every Windows user can feel post running a defragment session.