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Last updated on September 1st, 2020 at 03:41 pm

How to Defrag Your Hard Drive In Windows 10

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Last updated on October 15th, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Proper maintenance of your laptop is the best thing you can do if you plan on using your laptop for a long time.

One of these maintenance checks is defragging your hard drive.

Being able to defrag your laptop’s hard drive has the benefit of improving the speed and improving the longevity of it.

What Are Fragmentation and Defragmentation?

Anytime you copy, edit or save files on your hard drive it goes to empty spaces which are scattered on the hard drive. You might think that the same folder, file or document is found at the same place on the hard drive but rather it’s located at different parts of the hard drive.

This technical phenomenon is called hard disk fragmentation. Because different pieces of the folder are located at different parts of the hard drive the performance is negatively impacted.

Imagine it this way.

You have a book that has several pages that are not arranged correctly. You start from page one but before you go to page 2 you have to search through the book to find it. Repeat this for every page of the book and you will realise how long it takes to find the next page or to finish the book. That’s how fragmentation affects the hard drive.

Now enter defragmentation. Back to the book analogy.

Having read the book and realised how the pages were incorrectly placed you decide to tear every page in the book and arrange them in the correct fashion. You can now read the book quickly and even enjoy it.

The same applies to your hard disk. Defragmentation arranges the parts of the same folder or data in sequential order on the hard drive. This allows faster access to the data and in turn boost in performance of your hard drive.

Now that you know what fragmentation and defragmentation it’s time to defrag your computer.

How To Defrag Your Hard Drive

Step 1

start menu
Enter Defrag Into The Start Menu

Press the Windows Button top open the Start Menu. Type in Defrag into the Search Box. Click open the Defragment and Optimise Drives.

Step 2

Now that you have opened the Defragment and Optimise Drives it’s time to start the defragmentation. Choose the hard drive you want to defragment if you have one or more or if you have created partitions.

defragment and optimise drives
Defragment And Optimise Drives

If your laptop has an SSD there is no need to defrag it but rather optimize it. This is because defragmentation is an intense computer task and because SSDs have limited read/write cycles defragmenting it can quickly reduce the number of cycles. Windows provided a way around this by providing the option to optimise it.

If your laptop has an HDD select the Analyze option. Once it is done analyzing you can go ahead and choose Optimise to defrag it.

You will notice that for both SSDs and HDDs you will have to select the Optimise option if you want to defrag.

There is no need to worry, Windows knows what type of storage device you are using and will act accordingly. If it is an SSD it will optimise it. HDDs will be defragmented even though both use the same option.

Scheduling Optimisation

scheduling optimisation
Scheduling Optimisation

In the Windows Defragment and Optimise Drives you can schedule when you want Windows to optimise or defrag your hard drives.

Under Scheduled Optimisation click on Change Settings to choose your optimisation schedules.

If you have two or more hard drives or partitions you can choose which one should be given the most priority.

How Often Should You Defrag Your Hard Drive

Once or twice every six months is fine. You can also use the fragmentation percentage to determine when your laptop is due for a defragging.

Keeping the percentage below 10% is fine but for best results try to keep it below 5% fragmentation.

For more information, you can read more about why you should defrag your hard drive.

Final Thoughts

A good rule of thumb is not to let your hard drive reach more than 10% fragmentation. For the best results make sure it is below 5% fragmentation if you want smooth performance from your hard disk and longevity.

Also, anytime you plan on defragmenting your hard drive do it when you won’t be using your laptop for a long time. Even better do it when you are about to go to bed.

This properly defrags the hard drive without any inference from applications. And it also takes a long time to do.

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