Defragmenting the Hard Drive with Windows XP

In older file system architectures, if a file could not be stored contiguously, it could not be saved to the disk. Newer architectures intentionally divide files into multiple pieces so as to make more efficient use of disk storage space. Since files are constantly being written, deleted, and resized, fragmentation is a natural and ongoing occurrence. However, it is also one that has significant performance implications. When a file is spread out over several locations, it takes longer to read and write. In fact, the effects of fragmentation can be more widespread than that, causing long boot times, random crashes and system freeze-ups. Defragmentation is a time-consuming process, the more so the greater the extent of fragmentation. It is therefore important to terminate any programs, including those running in the background like firewalls and anti-virus programs – before starting the defragmentation process. Failure to do so will mean that it is constantly interrupted, adversely impacting the time the process takes possibly to the extent of it failing to complete. The following describes how to defragment your hard drive using Windows XP’s disk defragmentation program, which is a free built in component of the operating system. Note that you cannot defragment a hard disk that is completely full, and that the less free space there is, the longer defragmentation will take. This is because the defragmentation utility need some room in which to temporarily store fragments as it reassemble files. If your hard disk is relatively full, it is therefore good practice to run Disk Cleanup before attempting to defragment a drive. Launch the Defragmenter Tool, either via … Start...

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