How to defragment your hard drive and why

How to Defragment Your Hard Disk - and Why!

Imagine having books or CD's on your shelf arranged in sequence. If you take a book or a CD from their collection, you would create gaps. When you fill in these gaps with different parts of the collection, it would be more difficult for you to find files next time because you would need to browse from left to right and top to bottom to complete the search. This is the daily habit of your hard disk whenever you save and/or delete files.

Good thing there is defragmentation, the process of reducing fragments and cleaning your hard disk so that scanning it becomes lot faster. Defragmentation helps improve your PC's performance and, in some cases, contributes to extending the life expectancy of your PC.

You might be hesitant to defragment your hard disk. The word "defragment" itself sounds a little intimidating. The truth is, defragmentation is a piece of cake! Here are the steps to effectively defragment your hard disk.

  • Close all applications that are running, like Outlook, Office and anything else you have open.
  • Click "My Computer".
  • Locate the disk you want to defragment (i.e., C:, D:, F:, etc.) and then right-click on it.
  • Click "Properties".
  • Click tab that says "Tools".
  • Click the option that says "Defragment Now".

Windows 7 can also defragment your disk automatically. Here's how:

  • From the Start menu, go to "Control Panel" and select "System and Security".
  • Once this opens, click on "Defragment Your Hard Drive".
  • Click on the disk you want to defragment (i.e., C:, D:, F:, etc.).
  • Click on "Analyze Disk" and wait until defragmentation is completed.

Defragmenting takes a bit of time and will cause your computer to respond slowly if you need to use it during the defragmentation process. Start it before you head out to lunch or just before you leave for the day. Once defragmentation is completed, you will see your PC's speed increase quickly. It's like giving your computer an energy drink!