Defragment Your Hard Drive
In computer talk, the term “Defrag” or “defragment” is not associated with a feature of explosive weaponry, although there are times when we feel like blowing up our computer!
Instead, it has to do with wasted space. During the normal process of your computer hard drive operation, the data that is stored on it gets fragmented – that is – it gets spread out over the whole capacity of the drive.
What Does Defragging Do?
Think of your hard drive as a book. It has:
✔ Table of Contents (File Allocation Table, FAT, FAT32, etc.)
✔ Chapters (Tracks)
✔ Paragraphs (Sectors)
✔ Sentences (File Names and Data)
One of the MANY rules is that Chapters and Paragraphs have size limitations. You can have a lot of them (Gigs) but each one can only be so big. As the book is written, you add more chapters.
When you are editing existing data, there may not be enough room at the end of the chapter to add more sentences. When this happens, the hard drive will just put the extra data in a new chapter and change the Table of Contents to link the multiple locations together so that you get the complete sentence when you want it.
It works so fast that you probably don’t even notice the delay while the hard drive has to look in several places to get the complete data string.
Over a period of time, these “fragments” take more and more time to handle and the hard drive becomes less efficient (i.e. slower).
When you “Defrag”, you reorganize the Chapters, Paragraphs, and Sentences into sequential data locations and it becomes much easier to get the data. (Folks, we are talking about microseconds, but the time can add up.)
Keep in mind that just as soon as you finish Defragging, the process starts to “frag” again. It is a never-ending cycle.
Defragging will take time – how much time depends on the size of your hard drive, the speed of your system, and the amount of fragmentation that has occurred. The very first time you defrag, it may take several hours (yes, hours!). If you defrag on a routine basis, it should only take 15 to 30 minutes.
Instructions for Defragging Your Hard Drive
There are at least five different ways of doing any single thing in a Windows-operated computer. I know a few – you know a few. Mine work for me – and yours work for you. TOGETHER, we CAN get it done!
1) Close down everything you have open (please don’t shut the computer down!). Anything running in the background (such as Antivirus updates, Microsoft updates, email that automatically checks for new messages, etc.) will impact the Defrag process. It’s like trying to sort money in a piggy bank while people are putting in more money!
2) Right-click on “My Computer” and select “Manage”.
3) Select “Disk Defragmenter”.
4) Select “Defragment”.
You could also go to:
Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Defragment
5) Let it Defrag. You will notice that, after a little while, there will be a Graph/Chart that will show you the condition of your drive. It is a cute little thing and lets you know the overall condition of the fragmentation. Once the Defrag is finished, a screen will ask you if you want to see a report or just close it out.
I suggest that you consider Defragging your PC at least once a month. Add it to your calendar.
You may want to add the Defrag Icon to your desktop as a reminder and so you can start the Defrag function easier. To do this, go to:
Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools
Right-click on “Disk Defragment”.
Select “Send to” and then choose “Desktop (create shortcut)”.