Defragmenting your computer’s hard drive is the equivalent of keeping your dresser drawers organized. (Eg. Can you tell that we love using clothes and closet references?) If you love clothes as much as we do, you probably like to know where each of your favorite items is at all times. This is why you have dresser drawers dedicated to similar items of clothing: socks and undies in one drawer, tank tops and t-shirts in another drawer, sweatshirts and sweatpants in another drawer, and so on.
Imagine how hectic it would be trying to put an outfit together if you didn’t have specific drawers dedicated to like items and instead simply threw clothes in random drawers just to get them out of the way? It would probably take you twice the time to get ready in the morning (oh, the horror).
Your computer’s hard drive works in the same way. Generally, similar items are grouped, or written, together on the hard drive, making it easier for your computer to locate the information it needs to run a program or perform a task. But over time files can become fragmented or separated—thrown into random dresser drawers. When this happens, it takes your computer longer to scan the hard drive to locate those blocks of information it needs to perform a task, which decreases the computer’s speed and performance.
That’s where defragmentation comes in. When you defragment the hard drive, your computer regroups those similar items together again, which allows your computer to locate what it needs faster, subsequently speeding up response time.
How do I defragment my hard drive?
If your computer is making a lot of noise or running extra slowly, it could mean that it’s time to defragment the hard drive (or simply “defrag” in industry lingo). To defrag your hard drive:
Go to the Start Menu
- Click on “My Computer” or “Computer”
- Highlight the C: Drive, but do not double-click on it
- With the C: drive highlighted, right click the mouse
- Click on “Properties”
- Click on the “Tools” tab
- Under Defragmentation, click “Defragment Now”
- Depending on how long it’s been since your hard drive was last defragmented, the process could take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. You will not be able to use your computer during this time, so you might want to defrag right before bedtime. By the time you wake up, your computer’s hard drive will be neat and tidy!