How to Defrag a PC

Level of difficulty: Easy

Defragging a computer improves the performance of the machine. When a user deletes programs in the hard drive, empty spaces are left where the program was previously inserted during the installation. Defragging places the pieces of the program near each other in the hard drive. This optimizes the hard drive by allowing the computer to access program pieces right away so that it can load more quickly and efficiently in the system.

Materials Needed:
- Microsoft Windows 98
- ME
- NT
- XP
- 2000
- or 3003 Server
Step 1
Close all programs and windows before defragging a computer.
Step 2
Click 'Start' then 'Programs' then 'Accessories'. Select 'System Tools' then choose 'ScanDisk'. You can choose the 'Thorough' option if you have not used 'ScanDisk' for quite some time. The Standard option is sufficient for a weekly ScanDisk maintenance schedule.
Step 3
Choose the hard drive to be scanned and click 'Start'.
Step 4
Once the process has been completed, click 'Start' then 'Programs', then 'Accessories'. Choose 'System Tools', and then select 'Disk Fragmenter'.
Step 5
Choose the hard drive to defrag and then click 'Ok' to start defragmentation.
Step 6
Another way to start defragmentation is to double click 'My Computer' and then right click on the hard drive that needs defragmentation.
Step 7
Choose 'Properties', and then select the 'Tool' tab. Click on the button for CheckNow by Error-Checking Status to be able to utilize the ScanDisk utility. Choose the button for 'Defragment Now'. The defragmentation process will take about 20 minutes to more than an hour, depending on how large the hard drive is. It is recommended to defrag when the computer is not going to be used anymore. The process may be time-consuming but it is the easiest way to improve PC performance.
Step 8
The defrag utility will sometimes report that it could not defrag the hard drive because it has errors. In this event, it is advised to run ScanDisk first. Start the Scandisk utility by clicking on 'Start', then 'Programs', then 'Accessories', then 'System Tools', and then select 'ScanDisk'.
Step 9
If there is more than one hard drive, the next procedure is to highlight the hard drive by left-clicking on it. Choose 'Analyze', then the system will check the drive whether it needs defragmentation or not.
Step 10
If the selected drive needs to be defragmented, click on the 'Defragment' button. This will start the defragmentation utility. The processing time will depend on the size of the drive. It is advised to defrag a computer at least twice a month to keep the machine running in its peak performance. It should be part of the regular maintenance of the machine especially if the user often installs and deletes programs.