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How Do I Defrag

Updated on June 24, 2009

How To Defrag Windows XP and Vista

My clients always ask me this question on just about every appointment I go on, "How Do I Defrag"?

In this Hub I'll teach you how to defrag your Windows XP or Vista computer using the standard Windows defrag utility.

A Very Fragmented Hard Drive
A Very Fragmented Hard Drive

How To Defrag Windows XP

Defragmenting hard drives in Windows XP is a simple, straight forward process. Let's begin by loading the Windows XP disk defragmenter by following the steps below:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click All Programs
  3. Click Accessories
  4. Click System Tools
  5. Click Disk Defragmenter

The Windows XP Disk Defragmenter will now load. Using the Defragmenter is very easy. You can select your hard drive volumes 1 by 1 (you should have at least 1 volume in the list) and then click the defragment button.

The defragmentation process can take hours depending on the last time the system was defragmented, how many files are fragmented and how full the hard drive is.

Your hard drive needs to have 15% of free space to allow for a full defrag.

Fragmentation Colors and what they mean:

RED - These are fragmented files (files slowing down your computer). The disk defragmenter will reassemble these fragments to form (quick) contiguous files.

BLUE - These are defragmented files (files that are fast and easy to access), also called contiguous files. Blue (contiguous files) are the end result of the defragmenter doing it's job.

The Windows Vista Defragmenter
The Windows Vista Defragmenter

How To Defrag Windows Vista

Defragmenting Windows Vista is almost the same process. To start the Windows Vista defragmenter:

  1. Click the Windows Globle (old start button)
  2. Click All Programs
  3. Click Accessories
  4. Click System Tools
  5. Click Disk Defragmenter

By default the Windows Vista Defragmenter attempts to automatically defragment your hard drive volumes at 1 AM every Wednesday. You can modify the schedule and pick anytime that works for you.

To reschedule the Vista defragmenter click "Modify Schedule" and select a day and time. Defragmenting once a week is usually more than enough. Excessive defragmenting (everyday or more) can reduce the life of your hard drive.

If you would like to manually defragment your hard drive volumes click "Defragment Now" and select the volumes to defrag.

Now, you may be really disappointed but there are no more colored red and blue bars or any hint of when the defragmentation process may complete! Windows Vista says "This Process May Take A Few Minutes To A Few Hours"...Yikes!


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    • profile image

      su105-51 2 years ago

      by defragging my hard drive, will my pages stop freezing ex: "this page is unresponsive"? Every time I try to sign into a site, this is what I usually get. It took me several tries to get to this point. This is the first time I have ever "defraged" a computers hard drive.

    • iain-mars profile image

      iain-mars 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Defrag is a great way to speed up your hard drive and remove unused items.

    • profile image

      Norma 7 years ago

      I cannot defgrag on Windows XP, it gives me a massage that chkdsk is running and have to turn computer off so it finishes I do that and still can't defrag,

    • mrizos profile image

      mrizos 7 years ago from St. Louis

      @GuestWithProblem - your hard drive is probably too full. You NEED at least 20% free space in order to completely defrag it.

      Hope that helps.

    • profile image

      GuestWithProblem 7 years ago

      Hi, I am currently defragging my disk but the analysis shows that none of my fragmented files (Red) are getting defragmented (turned to blue.)

      This is frustrating as it takes a long time for it to defrag and not much changes, any help is appreciated, thanks.