Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hard-drive Fragmentation?

Next to cleaning up your registry, this has to be the second most common thing you hear for speeding up your computer.  At least with this one there is some truth; though do not expect the amazing results that are often claimed.

Fragmentation is caused by uninstalling programs and deleting files/folders and then installing programs or adding files/folders.  Basically when a file gets deleted it creates an empty spot on the hard-drive, so when you add a file to the hard-drive, the hard-drive fills the empty spot; however if the file is larger than the file that was deleted than part of the files need to be place elsewhere on hard-drive.  This means that parts of files and programs can end up scattered all over the hard-drive, thus causing the hard-drive to slow down while seeking all the needed files.

How often should you defragment your hard-drive?  In general I would say every other month should be often enough.  However, if you install or uninstall a larger number of programs or delete or add a bunch of files than I would recommend defragging the hard-drive afterwards.

Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 automatically defragment the hard drive on a regular basis.  As such, you should not have to worry about doing this on either Windows Vista or Windows 7.

If you have Windows XP or an even earlier version of Windows, then you will have to defragment the hard drive manually on a regular basis. 

The Windows Disk Defragmenter can be found under Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> Disk Defragmenter.  It is in the same location on all recent versions of Windows.  To start defragmenting the hard drive, just hit the defragment button.

Windows 7 Disk Defragmenter

windows-7-disk-defragmenter

Windows XP Disk Defragmenter

windows-xp-disk-defragment

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