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How Often Should You Defrag?

By June 1, 2010

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I got this email from a reader over the weekend, and thought it could be of value to readers. She asks: "My defrag window says 3 items, C: and E: backup and system (no letter). Which should I defrag and how often?"

It's something many folks wonder about. This was my response:

"You want to defragment your C: drive. If you're a normal user of a computer (meaning you use it for Internet stuff, email and the like), a once-per-month defrag should be fine. If you're a heavy user, meaning you use it eight hours per day for work, you should back it up more often, probably once every two weeks. Anytime your disk is more than 10% fragmented, you should defragment it.

Also, if your computer is running slow, you should consider doing a defrag; the fragmentation may be causing the slowdown. Here's a step-by-step guide for doing a defrag. Here's a guide for defrag under Windows 7."

Note that under Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can schedule your defrag to happen as often as necessary; Windows XP doesn't allow that option (another good reason to upgrade to Windows 7).

Defrag is short for "defragment", and it means to put your computer files back in a logical order, speeding up your PC. Over time, files can be scattered all over your hard drive, and it's much harder to find everything.

June 3, 2010 at 12:51 am
(1) rajen says:

I agree Keith, defragging helps to prevent slow computer problems. If there is fragmentation building up even start up time increases. I would also add that people dont defrag as it takes a while to finish sometimes never completes. I use an automatic defragger that does the task nicely bu running in the background.

June 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm
(2) Dave Dickler says:

I’ve been using a marvelous free defrag program for several years – IOBit Smart Defrag.

You install it once, and forget about it. It defrags in the background when the system is idle, and even optimizes the location of frequently used files.

Your drive will forever be 99% + defragmented… its a load off your mind.

The program has been downloaded well over 10 million times, and get great user and industry reviews.

To see reviews and get free downloads simply Google “CNET download of IOBit Smart Defrag.”

Alternatively, you can go directly to this link:

January 3, 2011 at 9:59 am
(3) David says:

Defragging is a waste of time and needless wear on your Hard Drive. Today’s modern drives are so fast that the MINISCULE performance increase you MIGHT realize from a defrag isn’t worth the time and wear it takes. Don’t bother

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