Computer Getting Slow? Try Defragging.

Over time, computers will run slower and slower. Just like everything else, they need some maintenance every once in awhile. On of the easiest maintenance tasks you can do is defragmenting your hard drive. Sounds pretty technical, but it’s a simple process.

What is defragmenting and why does a computer need it? To answer that question, think of your hard drive as being a filing cabinet. But every time you put something in this cabinet, it could go in any drawer. Or the location of the files could change by just walking into the room. Weird, right? Well that’s how a hard drive works.

disk defragmenter

TUNE UP: Defragmenting your hard drive is an easy step to get your computer’s
speed back.

You can see how, over time, it will be harder to find the files you need. Some pages are in this drawer and some in another. Not being all together means they are fragmented. Taking some time to put the filing cabinet back in order will speed up your office work again. Defragmenting your hard drive does the same thing.

Windows comes with a defragmentation program called Disk Defragmenter. Open your Start menu and search on defrag. The first result should be the program. You can also find it in Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

When you open the Disk Defragmenter, you’ll see a list of disks you can run it on. C: is most often the disk you want to work with. You can click on Analyze Disk to see how fragmented your hard drive is, or click on Defragment Disk to just go ahead and defrag it.

The process of defragging can take a long time, hours even. It’s best to start this process when you’re done with your computer for the day.
Today’s computers don’t require this step very often. Maybe once a year. In the 80s and 90s, computers needed this almost weekly.

If your computer is still running slow, there are other things you can try. We’ll cover those in future columns. Defragging is just the easiest and simplest thing to try first. If your computer runs a bit faster after defragging, that’s great! A quick, free fix and you did it yourself. Happy computing!

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 21, No. 44, November 4, 2015

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