Just like your house needs occasional spring cleaning, your PC needs it too. Defrag is a maintenance process needed for the optimum performance of your hard drive. When Windows modifies, deletes and write files it creates empty spaces or blocks on the hard drive. The empty space is available in pieces and bits. Overtime, files that Windows write on the hard drive can be fragmented between the spaces. Again, Windows can break larger files into pieces if it cannot find a space large enough to contain it on your hard drive. Installing and uninstalling programs are some of the activities that fragment the hard drive. This leads to fragmentation, which can negatively affect the performance of the hard drive.
What will defragmentation do to for your computer?
When the free space in your hard drive is fragmented, there is a high chance that your other files can also be fragmented hence it is important to tackle fragmentation. Defragging your system will put the empty spaces or blocks together in sequential order. Fragmentation may not slow down your computer initially; but as more blocks on your hard drive are broken into pieces your computer may become slow. Defragmentation will enhance Windows’ performance when writing files. Again, when you defrag you prevent fragmentation of new files.
When should you defrag?
Many people are of the idea that defragging will make you PC run faster. While we expect optimum performance from our machines all the type, manual defragging may not always be the requirement. There are three types of cleaning your computer and optimizing its performance, which are, disk cleanup, error checking and defragging. These cleaning methods should be done systematically. To make the defragging process easy and quick, you should start by cleaning the disk, followed by error checking. You don’t need to defrag constantly though. Depending on how many times you add or remove files from your system, you can defrag in intervals of 3 to six months.
Should you use third party apps?
Windows computers come with an automatic defragging app, particularly Windows 7 and Vista. However, you may need to check if the defrag is running as scheduled. For Windows XP you may have to set up the defrag schedule. A computer with solid-state drive (SSD) does not need defragmentation at all. This is because SSD does not store data on spinning platter and therefore do not need additional time to read or write files.
Mac users also don’t need to defrag because Mac has a built-in defragger. The defragmentation will automatically be carried out by Mac’s OS X. However, if you deal with large files excessively you may have to check if your machine does not need defragging.
Many tests have proven that commercial defragging software can improve your computer’s booting speed more efficiently than default defraggers. Third party apps have tools to help you defrag the registry and files.