Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rundown on Defragmenting in Windows 7

The Rundown on Defragmenting in Windows 7

When most people generally think about disk defragmenting in Windows, their thoughts quickly conclude to "Yes, you should do this often to keep your computer running quickly." Unfortunately the subject is not that simple. For the most part, defragmenting your hard drives will probably improve or maintain computer performance, but there are also a few exceptions.

Don't Defrag If You Have a SSD

While most people would probably already know this if you have a solid state drive (SSD), not everyone does. SSDs keep after themselves really well, making a defragmentation unnecessary and even somewhat detrimental. Windows 7 will automatically avoid defragmenting SSDs, but this doesn't mean that third party programs will.

If Using Windows 7 or Vista

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, you probably don't have to go out of your way to defragment your drives because they are scheduled to do this automatically at 1 a.m. every Wednesday. Of course, if you turn your computer off at night, it will miss the defragmentation, so do be sure to check and see if defragmentation worked on your drives. To do this, do the following:

Click the Start (Windows) button on the toolbar.
In the search field, type "defrag" and select the Disk Defragmenter program.
It will tell you the last time each drive was defragmented as well as what percentage is fragmented. If it's been a while, you should perhaps consider defragmenting them manually in the program while overseeing the process.
You can also change when or how frequently you would like to defragment your drives by clicking Configure schedule... You can also specify disks here. I recommend unchecking "Automatically defragment new disks" as it may cause Windows to try to defragment any plugged in USB flash drives which is not good for that type of drive. Just be sure to add any new drives or external hard drives you add to the system.

How Often Do I Need to Defrag?

This is a fair enough question to ask, but it largely depends on how you use your computer. If you are on your computer constantly running a bunch of different files from different locations of your drive, then you may need to defragment your drives every day (this is usually only necessary for 12 hours or more use a day). Then again others of you may only need to defragment your drives every couple months.

Unless you analyze your disks and find that you need to defragment more than once a week, I would just stick to Windows 7's suggest frequency of defragmenting. Sure, it may run sometimes when you don't need to, but it will analyze the disk before defragmenting anyways, which doesn't take very much time or wear and tear from the drive.

This is a guest post by Eliza Morgan who is a full time blogger. She specializes in writing about business credit cards. You can reach her at: elizamorgan856 at gmail dot com.

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