Disk Fragmentation and Defragmentation Explained

As we use our computers and we delete, edit and add new files our hard drives become fragmented, this means a file is stored in many different places on your hard drive as it is broken up and stored. It happens whatever you do with files, this could be editing, copying, installing software and more, basically any manipulation with files, this is why every now and then we will need to defragment your hard drives to free up space and make our computers run a little bit faster. 

What Is A Disk Defragmenter? 

A disk defragmenter will organise all of your files, it is basically like a quick tune up for your PC. It will re-write files stored in the contiguous blocks, which is where files are stored in small blocks ready for your use, sometimes as we uninstalled and install programs the software can be stuck in these blocks and will get jammed up, this can cause the computer to run slower and even run out of blocks to store data in! 

Running The Defrag 

It is easy to access the data fragmentation on any windows machine, today I am going to run it on mine so thought I would share the process with you all! I am currently on an Alienware m17x laptop with a 300GB hard drive, this may take some time, so let’s begin. 

  1. Click on the start menu and push “All Programs”
  2. Find “Accessories”  and then “System Tools”
  3. You will then see the defragment program like so.. 

You will be presented with this:

You can see in my picture above that mine is scheduled for every Wednesday at 1:00AM, now I kind of know why my laptop runs slow (I forgot all about this!). It will still need running again as I have been moving huge amounts of data to and from Citrix ShareFile lately.

  • Click on “Analyze disk” – This will tell you whether it is actually worth defragmenting before clicking on the defragment disk, the reason is because fragmentation takes hours depending on the size of your hard drive so it is much better to check it out to see if it needs done before committing to it. 
  • If it comes back that that it needs doing then you can commit and click on “Defragment disk” – I suggest you get yourself a coffee and go watch a little bit of television as this can take a while! 

After the process is completed you will probably notice a big change in your computer’s speed when installing application, this is normal as you now have freed up the contiguous blocks. 

Bio: This is not the only thing you can do to make your computer run faster you can also use disk cleanup which you will find in the same place as the defragment program. Failing this and you want to take it a step further, there are some great softwares online that you can get free that will clean your registry and more!

About TomBrown

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