Defragment and optimize hard drives on Windows

Microsoft’s Windows is a common household name when it comes to PC operating systems. People use Windows to do all sorts of computing ranging from media creation to content consumption. All these require a huge amount of storage space and this is where the problem of fragmentation crops up resulting in crappy system performance. Hence the user needs to know how to defragment and optimize hard drives on Windows for optimal system performance.

What is Disk Fragmentation?

When a file is stored in a storage device, it is stored in the form of fragments. The location and size of the fragments are decided on the basis of available free space in a particular section of the drive which is monitored by Windows itself.

How to defragment and optimize hard drives on Windows?

Windows includes an inbuilt utility called as Defragment and Optimize Drives which can be accessed via the following options:

  • Go to My Computer / This PC -> Select any Drive -> Right Click on that Drive -> Select Tools -> Click on Optimize.

Defragment and optimize hard drives in Windows


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  • Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools -> Defragment and Optimize your Drives.

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This in-built Windows utility is very useful and compact in its design with being fairly accessible as well. But people sometimes prefer third party tools to easily accomplish defragmentation of drives by avoiding to search the inbuilt Windows utility. Many software vendors provide Defragment Utilities and as such in the case of Windows, people are spoilt for choices. However, often people don’t realize that these system utilities from vendors add to the system bloatware thereby reducing system performance.

There are some good 3rd party alternatives to the default Windows defragment utility.

Piriform’s Defraggler is one such tool made by the same people who have created CCleaner. Download and install Defraggler from the link below:

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  • Just click on any drive as in the above picture to see its current fragmentation status.
  • After that, click on analyze and then optimize to successfully defragment your drive.
  • The drop down next to optimize has a few more options to customize the type of process to follow while defragmenting your drive.

Defragment and optimize hard drives in Windows


Important Points to be kept in mind when you decide to defragment your Drive:

  • Drive defragmentation is a system intensive process.
  • This process occurs in several stages and hence time taken to accomplish it will depend upon the level of drive fragmentation.
  • People having multi-drive setups (HDD + HDD/s), Hybrid-drive setups (SSD + HDD/s) have a bit of respite if their primary boot drive is not being defragmented.
  • There are other 3rd party tools available for defragmentation purposes but the one which we have found to be less system intensive and easy to use has been mentioned in this article.

Related: Combine Internet Connections in Windows