How to Defragment your Hard Drive

It is important to defragment your hard drive from time to time.

It is particularly useful to do this when you have uninstalled and installed hardware or copied many files. Over time, your hard drive becomes fragmented as files are put on or taken off your hard drive. Fragmentation happens because the operating system will place files wherever there is space but will not necessarily keep the files together. Think of it this way — your hard drive is a wall unit with a bunch of cubby holes for pieces of paper. As you get papers, you stick the papers where there is space available. You start at the beginning and move over and down putting papers wherever they fit, but as you take out papers, you make cubby holes available for new papers. After some time of adding and taking away papers, you have some cubby holes full, some half full, and some entirely empty. This is very much like what happens on your hard drive and is called fragmentation. Fragmentation slows down access to your hard drive. For instance, using the cubby hole example, let us say that when placing papers, you placed a book among five different cubby holes because that is where there was space. Well to get the book out, you have to go to five different cubby holes to access the book. This takes time and slows you down every time you want to view that book!

Defragmenting is the answer. You can do this on any Microsoft Windows computer. I will list the instructions for Windows XP below. The instructions will vary slightly for different versions of Windows.
1. Go to your desktop and locate the My Computer icon.
2. Double click the My Computer icon and locate the drive you would like to defragment (you cannot defragment CD’s).
3. Right-click on the drive and select Properties.
4. Click the Tools tab in the Disk Properties dialog box.
5. Click the Defragment Now… button.
6. Follow the instructions on Disk Defragmenter application to defragment your drive.