Defragmenting your Windows hard drive is not hard to do. Even if you are not particularly technically skilled, defragmenting can be learned in a few minutes and you will always remember how to do it.

Actually, you don't even need to remember, because after you do it once you can just schedule an automatic defragmentation for your Windows computer. That way you will reap the benefits of defragmenting your hard drive, without even having to think about it.

Before you learn how to defragment your hard drive, do you even know why it is important? Understanding the logic behind this simple computer task will give you a clearer sense of why you should defragment on a regular basis, and it will remind you of when to do it.

What Defragmenting Means

A Windows computer hard drive is similar to an office desk or a room, or really any physical space where you store items. If you just throw things around any old way, you will soon have a very messy desk or room. It will be hard to find things.

Just like a desk or a bedroom, your Windows computer is also capable of becoming cluttered. When this happens, you notice that your computer does not perform as well. It is slower. It takes longer to save files. It takes longer to start up and shut down. Sometimes you get errors you don't understand. All of these are signals that you need to clean up your hard drive.

And that is exactly what defragmenting means - cleaning up your hard drive. When you defragment your Windows hard drive, data gets organized and any unnecessary files that are not required anymore are simply deleted to free up space.

Fortunately, just like with the messy bedroom, just because your hard drive is messy now does not mean it needs to stay that way. You can put things neatly where they belong and get everything nicely organized once more, just as if you would buy a brand new Windows computer, but at reduced price (actually, free, because this costs you nothing)!

So that is what defragmenting is...and why it is so important. Now let's learn how to defragment your Windows hard drive and enjoy improved performance and speed.

How to Defragment Your Windows Hard Drive:

  • Click Start Menu
  • Click All Programs
  • Choose Accessories
  • Choose System Tools
  • Choose Disk Defragmenter

If this is the first time you're defragmenting, and you have Windows XP installed, you can click on Analyze. This will give you a visual image that shows you all your computer data. Windows Vista doesn't have this same option.

Choose the hard drive you want to defragment. Then click on Defragment.

The above steps are very simple and not hard to do.

How Long Will It Take Your Computer to Defragment?

The amount of time will depend on exactly how much data you have stored on your computer hard drive. It will also be affected by how long you've used the computer in the past and how old the actual hard drive is.

The software will run in the background if you need to continue using your computer while the defragmentation is going on, but that can slow up the process a lot since the program will continually have to update, especially if you are working on lots of files at once or making changes to things. Instead, run the defragmenting program overnight, and it will just do its job and be done by the time you need to use your computer again.

Set Up Automatic Defragmenting

After the first time you do a defragmention, you should do it about once every month on a regular basis. On the other hand, you can also choose to use the Maintenance Wizard, which comes on all Windows computers, to defragment your hard drive automatically. You can set it up to happen in the middle of the night or on a weekend or any time when you know you are unlikely to want to use your Windows computer. And of course you can always adjust this schedule or alter it at any time.

Defragmenting your hard drive on a regular basis improves your Windows computer's performance and lengthen its life. You will be happy you learned how to do this simple trick.