Disk defragmentation is a cheap and effective way to maintain your Windows computer. When you defragment your hard disk drive, you rearrange and consolidate the disjointed files in that drive. Your hard disk drive is then able to function more efficiently, thereby improving overall system performance.
Types of Computer Hard Drives that Benefit from Defragging
If you still own a good old hard disk drive based on the FAT16 or FAT32 system, then regular defragmentation will result in noticeable improvement in both the performance and speed of your computing machine. The newer and faster CPUs relying on the proprietary NTFS (New Technology File System) may not benefit greatly from defragmentation. Developed by Microsoft as its default file system beginning with Windows NT 3.1, an NTFS-based hard drive that is completely defragged is not noticeably much faster compared to one that has not undergone defragging.
Defragging your disk drive occasionally won’t hurt. Schedule one every six months or so. If your machine is running Windows 8.1, you should know that your computer’s hard drive is already optimized automatically every week. The optimization schedule already involves rearranging files and defragging.
To defrag your hard drive when you are running an older version of Windows, go to Computer or My Computer, right-click on the hard drive icon, and select Properties. When you click the Tools tab, you will see a button labeled Defragment Now.
Alternatives to the Built-in Windows Defragger
Your Windows disk defragmentation tool is already perfect for the job. But if you are interested to learn about third-party alternatives, then check out Disk Defrag from Auslogic, Smart Defrag 3 from IObit, and Defraggler from Piroform.
A Warning Regarding SSDs
Don’t think about running a disk defragmentation tool on an SSD (solid-state drive). A more expensive and faster alternative to a traditional hard disk drive, an SSD does not store and arrange files next to each other. Defragging will not work on such a file storage system.
What you should do instead is to execute a TRIM command–as opposed to a “reset” that deletes all the data on an SSD–to internally wipe unneeded blocks of data, which bog down your SSD’s write cycles and hamper processing time. A TRIM is performed when you use the Optimize Drive feature in Windows 8.1. For Windows 7, Vista, and XP, use the built-in tool from your SSD vendor. However, since most SSD manufacturers do not provide a utility program for doing a TRIM, you have no choice but to use a third-party alternative like LC Technologies’ Solid State Doctor.