Defrag your Hard Drive? Here’s how.

by cbschulstad

A “disk defrag” usually refers to the Microsoft Windows utility called Disk Defragmenter. It tackles an inherent problem in the way a hard disks store data. It only takes a few simple steps.

How to defrag your hard drive

Unless you are running one of the new, fast and silent SSDs (Solid State Drives) on the market today, your computer will eventually suffer performance loss because the data on your drive becomes fragmented. There is no reason to be alarmed, because this problem is very simple to fix. Hard disk drives by nature are “random”. By that, we mean that information is written to the first empty portion of the drive that the write-head can access. So, over the course of the drive’s life, it can become harder and harder for your drive to find all of the information or programs you are asking it to run in a timely manner. Knowing this, defragmenting your drive will keep it running efficiently and quickly rather than slow and begrudgingly.

Windows XP
Method 1: Use the Properties of your local disk
Click Start.
Open My Computer.
Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment and then click Properties.
On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
Click Defragment.

Method 2: Use Computer Management MMC
Click Start.
Click Run.
Type Compmgmt.msc in the open field.
Click Disk Defragmenter.
Click the volume that you want to defragment and then click Defragment.

Method 3: Use Disk Defragmenter MMC.
Click Start.
Click Run.
Type Dfrg.msc in the open field.
Click the volume that you want to defragment and then click Defragment.

Windows Vista
Method 1: Manually run it.
Open Disk Defragmenter by clicking the Start button
Click All Programs
Click Accessories
Click System Tools
Then click Disk Defragmenter (note: you may be prompted for an administrator password, or confirmation, type the password, or provide confirmation)
Click Defragment Now (note: It may take several minutes or several hours to complete this task depending on the size of the drive, and the degree of fragmentation present)

Method 2: Windows Vista has a default auto defrag program. Just let it run.

Windows 7 or 8
Disk defragmenting is automatic and works very well in these newer operating systems.

Thanks to for excellent instructions.