If your computer is operating as slow as a snail, it’s time to run the Windows disk defrag utility.
If you find that Microsoft Word is running slowly, this simple task can significantly speed up your PCs performance.
What is “defragging” a hard drive?
If your computer gets slower and slower over time, the most likely cause is file fragmentation. Opening, closing, saving, and deleting files scatters file fragments all over the hard drive.
Defragging the hard drive moves the file fragments next to each other. This makes it easier for the hard disk to find and read the files, which helps your computer run faster.
Running the disk defrag utility regularly saves wear and tear on the hard disk drive. Additionally, in case of disaster, it makes disk recovery easier if the data is not fragmented.
For heavy computer users, defrag weekly. If you only use your computer for FaceBook and email, running the Windows defrag tool monthly should be sufficient.
How to defrag your computer
There are 3rd party defrag tools available, but this tutorial shows you how to use the Windows utility that you already have on your computer.
Tips for using Windows Defrag
Because defragging uses a lot of system resources, you should not work on important files while the Windows defrag utility is running.
If your PC has never been defragged, let it run overnight. Depending on how many files you have on your computer and the capacity of the hard disk, it can take all night for it to finish.
Running the Disk Defragmenter utility
To defrag your computer, follow these steps:
- Click Start > My Computer.
- Right mouse-click the icon of the hard drive (usually the C drive).
- Select Properties > Tools tab.
- Click Defragment Now.
- Highlight the disk or partition you want to defrag, then click Defragment.
Note: If you have more than one hard drive or more than one partition on your hard drive, you need to run the utility separately for each one.
When the utility finishes, a log file displays. The log file tells you the following information and more:
- Size of the hard drive
- How many files are on the drive
- Amount of free space on the drive
- Percent of fragmentation
- If there are any file fragments left that could not be defragged
If your computer is slow after defragging, you may have a virus, spyware or malware, or your hard disk may be too full. Uninstall programs you no longer need to help free up disk space and speed up your computer. Other things that can cause system performance problems are:
- Failing hardware
- Insufficient memory
- Running several system hogging programs at the same time
- Antivirus scans or Windows utilities (such as the Indexing service or Automatic Update) running in the background
If only one or two of your programs run slow, check your system specs to make sure they are sufficient to run the programs.