What does it mean to Defrag your computer?
Defragging your hard drive is an important part of system maintenance. Microsoft defrag, or disk defragmenter, is a software utility designed to help chronologically order the data on the hard disk drive.
The theory behind defrag is to place each program together instead of scattered throughout the hard disk drive, allowing the read-write head to access the data faster on the hard disk drive. Regular defragging can improve performance by making sure that all the parts of each data file on your computer are stored together, rather than far apart, which makes it faster to access them.
Why would you want to Defrag your computer every now and then?
When you use your new computer for the first time, you were probably amazed by its blazing speed. But after using it awhile, it seems to have slowed down. Chances are it needs just a little routine maintenance to get it back in tip-top shape.
Every time you add a new file or a new software program to a brand new computer, the hard drive is relatively empty so new data is written to the hard disk in one contiguous block. When you need to use that information, the computer knows where to quickly access it because it’s usually all in one place … in the beginning!
But, as you use your computer, adding and deleting new files and programs, the hard disk begins to fill up. Deleting files or removing programs create small empty areas among the other data blocks that the computer can reuse.
After awhile, the computer is no longer saving information in large blocks. Instead, it stores information in the many little empty nooks and crannies of your hard disk. Not good! The result is that one program or file is broken up, or fragmented, into little pieces and stored in many different areas of the hard disk.
The computer ingeniously keeps track of the addresses of each piece of data and puts it all together when it is needed. Yet, obviously, the more broken up the information is, the longer it takes to access the data and the slower the computer becomes. Hence why defragging your computer is important.
After you defrag your computer, one drive at a time, your data files become closer together, also known as contiguous (i.e., files stored next to each other on the physical hard drive that are not fragmented). This allows your computer to locate such files faster. This is one way to speed up your computer!
What is the difference between a ScanDisk and a Defrag?
SCANDISK — a software utility designed to fix system errors on a hard disk drive.
DEFRAG — a software utility designed to help chronologically order the data files on a hard disk drive.
Which should be done first, ScanDisk or Defrag?
Before you defrag your computer, you should run a SCAN DISK operation first; always, …
When performing a Defrag, you can only “defrag” one drive at a time. So, start with C:// then move to another drive …
It’s also best to close all other open software programs before you Defrag any computer system drives.
AFTER you have performed a ScanDisk function, you are free to Defrag the exact hard drive you just performed a ScanDisk on. Repeat these steps for each drive you wish to ScanDisk first, then Defrag second.
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