A Hard Drive

Computers Made Simple: What Is Defragmenting A Hard Drive?

Did you know that over 400 million people use Windows 10 computers?

It’s easily one of the most popular OS systems in the world thanks to its features and updates. However, even something as popular as Windows 10 can encounter an odd issue here and there.

Maintaining your computer is an ongoing task to make the most out of its lifespan. If you never had a computer before, you might be wondering, “what is defragmenting a hard drive?”

Don’t let go of that thought.

With this guide, you’ll learn about hard drive defragmentation. That way, you can care for your computer better. Read on and find out more:

What is Defragmenting a Hard Drive?

To understand defragmentation, you must understand fragmentation first. As your storage device ages, it’s more likely for it to write files using various blocks of your hard disk drive. That’s why most files and folders aren’t in a single place within your hard drive.

In most cases, they’re located in several sectors, becoming more apparent as you put more files into your hard drive. This phenomenon results in the fragmentation of your hard disk. This is where defragmentation comes in.

When you defragment your hard drive, all scattered file and folder data get transferred into a single location.

How Long Does It Take to Defragment a Hard Drive?

Defragging is an intense computer task. This means it can take several hours to accomplish, especially when you have lots of files. When you start a defragmentation process, the best time to do this is before you sleep, leaving your computer the entire night.

Take note, saving and copying files within the hard disk lets the computer write information on the next available space. Knowing this, you’re likely making a folder to save all your related files in one place. It’s logical since you might think that saving within the same folder means having the same space.

This isn’t the case since the empty spaces within your hard disk aren’t sequential. That’s why when you run the disk defragmenter, the program arranges and sorts the files in sequential spaces. With that, all your necessary files are within the same sector.

Why Should You Defrag Your Hard Drive?

If you have an older hard drive model, it will benefit more when you defrag it. Files scattered throughout your hard disk will move to a single place, making it easier to locate. This results in faster performance when you access them.

At its core, hard disk defragmentation will enhance the speed, efficiency, optimization of your storage disk. Also, it clears out the hard disk of unnecessary clutter residing in your disk space. That way, you’ll get more space to store more files in the future.

Think of defragmentation as cleaning a dirty household. With heavy fragmentation, your PC becomes slower. At its worst, you’re likely to suffer from freezes and crashes.

How Often Should You Defrag Your Hard Drive?

A good method of checking whether your hard disk needs defragment is to open the Windows Defragment and Optimize Drives. It’s easy since you can enter the word “defrag” into your search menu to find it. Once it’s open, check if the fragmentation’s percentage level is over 10%.

If this happens, go with the defragment process. Otherwise, you need not bother with it. If you want a more regular schedule, do it twice or four times each year since this allows you to reap its benefits.

Check your computer if it has a Solid-State Drive (SSD). If so, you need not defragment it because it’s already fast. It’s detrimental to them because it decreases the number of read/write cycles, meaning it slows down.

The worst part is that the SSD’s lifespan will get shorter. Instead of defragmenting, you can optimize them using other means. It’s an option within the same menu, so you need not look anywhere else to make your SSD more efficient.

How to Automatically Defrag Your Hard Drive

Windows computers from Vista onwards have built-in Disk Defragmenter utility. This feature allows your computer to do defragmentation regularly. Unless you want to do manual defrag, let the utility run and do everything for you.

If you’re looking to change when this utility runs, go to your Start menu. Look for your Control Panel and select System and Security once open. Under the Administrative Tools section, choose the Defragment your hard drive option.

Here, you’ll see the option to Configure Schedule. Click it and pick your desired schedule. To maximize your usage, do it when you’re unlikely to use your computer since it can happen even when it’s asleep.

Once you’re done, click OK and close the windows.

How to Manually Run the Disk Defragmenter

If you must defrag your hard drive immediately, it’s better to analyze it first. As always, do the steps mentioned above until you reach the Defragment your hard drive option.

Once you’re here, pick Analyze disk instead. Depending on the report, you’ll see whether it’s necessary to defrag your hard drive. To start the defragment process, click the Defragment disk button.

After you finish, you’re likely to get a performance increase when using your computer. If the slowness doesn’t go away, check whether your computer got infected by one of the 350,000 new malware programs.

Can You Defrag a Mac Hard Drive?

Are you using a Mac computer? If so, know that you have the means of defragmenting your hard drive. In most cases, you need not do it because OS X will do it for you, especially for smaller files.

But if you’re adamant in knowing how to defragment your Mac computer, learn the answers at https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-defrag-a-mac. Defragging your hard drive can speed it up, especially when you have lots of large files stored within.

Defragment Your Hard Drive Today

These are some of the things you must consider if you’re looking to answer the question, “what is defragmenting a hard drive?” Use the information here to see whether this process helps you maintain your computer better.

Did this guide help make your computer perform faster? If so, we encourage you to read our other posts. We have lots of articles offering valuable tips and tricks related to computer care.