Windows: Disk Defrag

Written by on Friday, February 20, 2009 16:56 - 0 Comments

Proper care of your hard drive is essential to getting the most for your investment. Even more importantly, it can be critical to preserving data. The easiest way to protect your hard drive is to run the disk defragmenting utility regularly. This can be done manually, or by scheduling the defrag process to always run at a certain time, or on specific days.

As information is written to your hard drive, it begins with the first empty location on the hard drive, and then consecutive pieces of data in each available spot until the drive is full. When you delete files or move them from one drive to another, gaps of unused space are left behind, and the next program will use that empty space in a first-to-last available manner. The more moving, deleting and file adding that goes on, the faster and more completely the drive becomes fragmented. A badly fragmented drive is subject to data corruption that leaves it partially or completely unusable.

To run Defrag manually:
1. Click START > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.
2. Select the drive you want to defragment.
3. To determine whether the drives needs to be defragged, click Analayze.
    A. Click Close when the report completes.
4. Click Defragment.

For a large badly fragmented drive, this can take a very long time to complete. And while you can run other programs with defrag in the background, it is best to let the program operate without other programs, to reduce the possibility of corrupting your data.

In our next post, we’ll detail setting up defrag as a scheduled event, and offer some insight into why scheduling is a preferable method.

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