Defragmenting the files on the disk drive can bring speed benefits for PCs still running mechanical disk drives, which, sadly, is still most PCs these days despite solid state disks being available. (SSDs don’t need to be defragmented.)
Disk defragmenting is far from dead
At one time we had to run Disk Defragmenter manually in order to re-organise the disk drive contents for maximum speed. However, recent versions of Windows have pushed Disk Defragmenter into the background where it does its job silently without you knowing.
If Windows Disk Defragmenter runs automatically, why would you want to use a third party disk defragmenter? Quite simply, because they can do a better job.
Microsoft’s tool is very basic and just does the minimum to keep the disk drive running, but third party defragmenters offer more powerful defragmenting, which means that greater speed benefits are possible.
1 Install Defraggler
Defraggler is a free utility from Piriform, a company who is probably better known for the CCleaner utility.
Download Defraggler and install the free version of the app. Tip: Click the builds page link at the bottom of the download page for a portable version of Defraggler as a zip file. Just unzip it and double click Defraggler.exe to run it.
2 Choose a drive or partition
Start Defraggler and at the top of the window is a list of internal and external disk drives and partitions. Select the one you want to defragment. Windows is on drive C:, but any drive or partition can be selected.
3 Analyze the disk
Click the Analyze button at the bottom and Defraggler will scan the disk drive looking for defragmented files. It can take a few minutes to complete, then it shows the results in the Status section.
Al the fragmented files that are found are placed on the File list tab. Click it to see them.
4 Sort and select fragmented files
The fragmented files can be sorted by clicking a column header. We could sort them by name or date, but let’s sort them by the number of fragments. This enables us to see the worst offenders.
Click Fragments (you might need to click it again to reverse the sort), and the most fragmented files are at the top.
Here you can see that one file has 20,556 fragments! That’s with Windows Disk Defragmenter enabled! Many of the other files have hundreds of fragments.
Click the boxes on the left to select the 10 or 20 most fragmented files. Click Defrag Checked and Defraggler then defragments them.
Run Defraggler at least once a week and defragment the most-fragmented files to keep your PC’s disk optimized and running smoothly.
If you have nothing important to do for the next few hours, you could tick the box at the top to select all the files. Better still, just run Defraggler, select drive C: and click the Defrag button. This defragments all the fragmented files on the disk.
~ Roland Waddilove