When your drives become fragmented Windows takes longer to find the files it needs to perform a requested operation or to open a program. It’s no more complex than that. So defragmenting your hard drive(s) at least once a month is a good maintenance routine – one that can keep your computer running faster longer.
The disk defragmenter that came with earlier versions of Windows wasn’t very good, and most of us went off to search for good freeware disk defragmenters that were better and faster than the one Microsoft provided us.
Windows 7’s disk defragmenter is really pretty good, especially if you know a few of its advanced features. Using parameters to specify what you want defragmenter to do, is a great way to feel like you actually have some control over Windows 🙂 as well as keeping your drives defragmented and helping Windows to run faster.
For instance, let’s say you want to defrag your Windows drive (usually C). The Windows drive will always be more fragmented than any other drives you may have because it is the drive you’ll always access most often.
If you just want to see how fragmented your Windows drive is, you’d do this:
Click start, type in CMD in the start menu search, and right-click on CMD when it appears at the top of the menu and choose “Run as administrator”. At the prompt type:
defrag C: /A
Note the colon after C: and the space between the C: and the /A
Now lets see how you can string together parameters to control disk defragmentation.
defrag C: /U /V
The above command would defrag drive C and print the progress on your screen – using verbose output (kind of like this newsletter!)
Now using the list we’ve provided below, see if you can figure out what the following commands would do:
defrag C: D: /M
defrag /C /H /V
Here are a list of available parameters and value descriptions you can play around with when you defrag your drives using Windows 7’s disk defragmentation tool:
/A Perform analysis on the specified volumes.
/C Perform the operation on all volumes.
/E Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.
/H Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).
/M Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background.
/T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.
/U Print the progress of the operation on the screen.
/V Print verbose output containing the fragmentation statistics.
/X Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.
Of course you can just use the command defrag C: and defragment your C (Windows) drive without using parameters at all. The important things to remember are that Windows 7’s defragmentation tool is excellent, fast, and much better than the one found in older versions of Windows; and that you defrag your Windows drive once a month. It’s a good habit to get into.