Hard Drive Maintenance, A guide to Defragmenting your hard drive using Defrag
Defragmenting your hard drive is an integral part of keeping your PC healthy, the defrag utility which ships with windows is very simple to use and can give a boost to your PC's performance.
This guide will show you how to defragment your hard drive in Windows.
What is defragmenting and why should I do it
Fragmentation is caused when an operating system breaks a file into pieces because there is not enough space on the storage device where the file was originally saved.
One example of this would be where a file was originally saved, then modified causing the file to be larger in physical space than first anticipated, the operating system will then break the file into 2 or more pieces and store them in different parts of the storage area.
The system would then keep a record of where the different parts of the file are stored, this is achieved through the use of a File Allocation Table (FAT) or similar file system such as NTFS.
Then, when the operating system requires the file again, it will query the file system (FAT/NTFS/or other) to find out where the different parts of the file are located on the partition (drive).
Defragmentation is the term given to the process of scanning the file system and rejoining the split files back into consecutive pieces.
The process of defragmenting can be time consuming, but it is one of the easiest ways to increase the performance of your PC, the frequency of which a PC should be defragmented will directly depend on the amount of usage.
Defragmenting in Windows 98/ME
Before you start ensure you have enough time to complete the defragmentation process, it can be anything from 30 mins up to several hours depending on how much use the PC has had since the last defrag was completed.
To start the defrag utility, click on the Start button, then hover your mouse over Programs, then hover over Accessories, then hover over System Tools, then click on Disk Defragmenter.
Windows 98/ME will now ask you which drive you wish to defrag, select the drive you want to defrag (usually C:) from the pull down menu and then click the OK button.
note: Sometimes the defrag utility will report that it can't defrag the selected drive because the drive has errors, if this is the case then run the Scandisk utility first, to start the Scandisk utility, click on the Start button, then hover your mouse over Programs, then hover over Accessories, then hover over System Tools, then click on Scandisk
Defragmenting in Windows XP
First of all make sure you have enough time to complete the defragmentation, the amount of time will depend on how much use your PC has had since the last defragmentation.
To start the defrag utility, click on the Start button, then hover your mouse over all programs, then hover over Accessories, then hover over System Tools, then click on Disk Defragmenter.
The next step is to highlight the drive you wish to defragment (one left click on the drive), then click on the Analyze button, this will check the selected drive for fragmentation, the utility will then tell you whether the drive needs defragmenting or not.
If the drive needs defragmenting simply click the Defragment button, once clicked the utility will begin defragmentation of the drive, it may take a few hours depending on the size of the drive.
Once it is complete simply close the defrag utility.