When you make frequent writes and deletions from your hard disk, your disks will become fragmented with time. Fragmentation means that files are not consistent and not contiguous, and thus fragmentation of the disks will result in lower I/O performance. While in NTFS performance degradation is a lot lower than it was in FAT or FAT32 partitions, in order to prevent loss of performance over time, it is best to perform routine defragmentations of your partitions and hard disks. The following article will teach you how to defrag windows 7 in a few short steps.
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There are several methods of performing defragmentations of partitions and hard disks. In this article I will list two of them.
Method #1 – Using the Built-In Windows 7 Defrag Tool
First, let me cover the internal Windows 7 tool that allows you to defrag windows 7 hard disks. This tool is a lot better than the one available in Windows Vista (at least in its design and in the way it works) but the built-in tool lacks many user options and that is why I offer Method #2, below.
To run the Windows 7 built-in defragmenting tool follow these steps:
Open Windows Explorer. Right-click the desired partition and select Properties.
In the Tools tab, click on Defragment Now.
Note: Since Windows Vista, the defrag tool is no longer available as an MMC snap-in.
BTW, you can reach the defrag tool by typing dfrgui in the Start menu search box.
The Disk Defragmenter tool opens. In it you can perform 3 major actions:
- Analyze a partition or more
- Perform a defragmentation action on a partition or more
- Schedule a defragmentation action on a partition or more
To analyze a partition, select the partition to analyze and click on the "Analyze" button. Process will take a few moments, and will display a textual information message.
To defrag a partition, select the partition to analyze and click on the "Defragment disk" button. Process will take a several moments, depending on the size and disk usage of the partition. Unlike Windows Vista, in Windows 7 there will be a progress status update, telling you if not how much time is left, at least which % of the job was already done.
When completed, the % of the partition defragmentation status is displayed.
To schedule a partition defrag, click on the "Configure schedule" button.
In Windows 7 (like in most previous MS-based OSs), there is also a command line defragmentation tool called DEFRAG.exe which can be used to schedule defrag jobs and perform various actions. More on that in a different article.
Method #2 – Using Auslogic Disk Defrag
For those that feel that the built-in Windows 7 defrag tool lacks both in functionality and in UI, there are 3rd-party tools that may do a better job. One of them is Auslogic Disk Defrag.
Auslogic Disk Defrag is free for personal non-commercial use, and as such I will gladly feature it here in this website.
Installation is easy, just agree to the license agreement and continue with the default settings. I usually remove the desktop icon.
After installing it, run Disk Defrag from the Start menu. You might be prompted to acknowledge it, if so, click on the "Yes" button.
Auslogic Disk Defrag has many interesting features. One of them is the ability to analyze a partition, and get visual representation of the fragmentation status. Select the required partition and press Defrag > Analyze.
With Auslogic Disk Defrag you can also configure the program's algorithm, schedule defrag jobs, and even exclude files or folders. You can also check the partition for errors, and even defrag specific files and folders.
It even has a "Defrag & Optimize" mode in which it applies several optimization techniques such as free space consolidation, system files smart placement and moving regular files from the MFT Reserved Zone to the rest of the disk space.
A typical defrag operation is pretty fast.
Do you know of other 3rd-party defragmentation tools that are free to use to defrag windows 7? Drop me a note and I'll try to feature them on this page.