Defragmenting Your Hard Drive: The Easiest Problem You’ll Ever Solve

    March 18, 2004

Have you ever noticed how your computer seems to run slower and slower each week? Did you think it was just your imagination? Think again.

Your computer really is getting slower as a result of a common but completely fixable problem: the defragmentation of your hard drive. Any time you view a web site, install a game, download an MP3, or create a new file, your computer is saving that data in chunks on your hard drive. As more data is added, the chunks get moved around and separated from one another. This process is fragmentation.

The problem with fragmentation is that when your computer goes to load your game, call up that file, or play that MP3, it must piece together those chunks which are now spread around your hard drive. This process takes longer, thus your computer runs slower. The more data you have on your hard drive, the slower your system gets.

You can fix the problem easily by defragmenting your hard drive. If you use a Windows operating system, it comes with a manual defragmentation tool. However, the first time you use it to “defrag,” you probably won’t be able to use your computer for at least an hour or possibly longer depending on the size of your hard drive, the amount of data it contains, and the severity of the fragmentation. Because the process takes so long, many users put it off which means the problems get worse and defragmentation will take even longer.

A better idea then is not to rely on a manual defragmentation program but instead to invest in a program that will do this for you automatically. These types of programs usually work behind the scenes and don’t rely on you to tell them when to start. Diskeeper 8.0 is one such program.

Diskeeper allows you to keep your hard drive defragmented and running smoothly without interrupting your office routine. For one, it allows you to continue working on your computer during the defragmentation process. It won’t cause your system to slowdown to a crawl the way manual defragmentators will.

Additionally, Diskeeper lets you set it to start working automatically when your screen saver is activated so while you’re out to lunch, the program can be working to reorganize your hard drive’s data more efficiently. The program also uses “Smart Scheduling” to analyze the level of your computer’s fragmentation and correct the problem as necessary so you don’t have to wait until your computer’s decrease in speed becomes unbearable.

It also allows you to pause, and then continue the process, which can be handy just in case you need to leave the office early and don’t want to leave your system on all night.

Programs like Diskeeper can have a tremendous impact on the efficiency of your computer. For example, independent lab tests found that systems running Diskeeper saw a speed increase of 200%. In fact, automatic defragmentation tools can often provide you with load times faster than you’ve experienced since the first week you owned your computer.

Even if you don’t install games or download programs or files regularly, fragmentation can still be a serious problem on your system, especially if you receive a large volume of emails each day. Each time you read one of those emails, you are adding more chunks of data to your hard drive and slowing down your computer even more. If you get just ten emails a day, it wouldn’t take long for you to start seeing a significant decrease in your system’s efficiency and an inefficient computer costs you more in lost productivity every day.

The bottom line is that defragmentation is a serious problem, but it is also an easy problem to solve. If you don’t mind the hassles involved in using the “built in” defragmentation tool in your operating system, then you should definitely be using it on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you want a more convenient solution, programs like Diskeeper might be your answer.

Cavyl Stewart is the author of “135 Hot Tech Tips for Small
Business Owners.” To Download your free copy, just visit: