Don’t worry about defragging your hard drive any more

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Back in the early days of personal computers (which was actually not that long ago), everyone was concerned about defragging.  “I have to defrag because my computer is so slow!” was commonly heard.  Thankfully, you don’t really have to think about that any more.


First, a quick review – what is defragging?

“Defrag” is short for “defragmentation” – which is what your hard drive needs when it becomes fragmented.  Over time, as all the different programs on your computer call upon the hard drive for data, the bits of data become less and less “organized” – that means the drive space is being used inefficiently, and some space is wasted.  Obviously, this is not optimal.

When you defragment your drive, you are basically just reorganizing the data so that it can be accessed by each of the programs more efficiently.  So everything should operate a little more smoothly.

With that being said, defragging isn’t the “magic pill” that a lot of people imagine it to be.  There are a lot of other things you can do in order to optimize your computer.  But, it’s still good to make sure your drive is overly fragmented.

So if defragging is a good thing, why don’t you have to worry about it any more?

Because it is probably already being done on a regular basis anyway.

If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8, the defrag process is most likely one of the tasks that is already being performed.  Here’s how to check it:

1. Open “Computer” (you can do this with the keyboard shortcut Windows key + E)

2. Right click on the C drive and choose Properties

3. Click on Tools, then click on “Defragment now” (in Windows 8, click on the “Optimize” button)

Here is what you will probably see:

defrag schedule


As you can see, mine is scheduled to run at 1 am every Wednesday.  I did not set it to do that – Windows was already set up that way.  Since it runs on its own every week, I never have to remember to do it.  And it’s apparently working – my drives have 0% fragmentation.

You can click the “Configure Schedule” button to set the defrag process to happen at whatever time you want, on whatever day of the week.  I just like for stuff like that to happen overnight when I am probably not using the computer.

One final note – if you are still using Windows XP, defragging is not scheduled by default.  But if your computer is running XP, defragging is the least of your worries – you need to upgrade to Windows 7 (in most cases, it’s now time to replace that computer with a newer one).

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