How To Defragment Your Computer Hard Drive

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have you ever noticed that as time goes by your computer you bought just doesn't seem to be running as quickly as when you first bought the machine? Computers are kind of like a home, unless they are cleaned and maintained regularly they can get junked up with last weeks garbage. Formatting the hard drive is one of the quickest and easiest ways to help.

Because the typical hard drive uses a physical magnetic arm to gather data from the disk, the physical location of data on the platter can have a significant impact on the speed at which your drive can read information. As time goes by, files get moved and new programs are installed and others are uninstalled, bits and pieces of different files can get scattered around the drive and that's what we call "Fragmentation".

The goal of defragmenting your computer hard driveis to take all those bits and pieces that are lying around the drive and rearrange them on the platters back in a logical way, allowing the hard drive to retrieve files faster and therefore speed up the computer.

Microsoft includes a tool to do this within Windows XP. You can find it by going to:
Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

Disk Defragmenter will open and allow you the option to "Analyze" any hard drive you have installed on the system. This process takes a few seconds and will return with a result that will recommend if you should defragment the drive as well as a more detailed report.

Here is a typical result. As the analyzer works it will show you the fragmented areas in red and the contiguous files in blue. When you press the "Defragment" button, the program will begin rearranging as many files as possible into contiguous files thereby speeding up your computer, and hopefully saving you some time and frustration in the process.


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