Defragment Windows 7 Volumes for Enhanced Performance

Overview of Defragmentation

Defragmentation in Microsoft Windows platform is a process in which the operating system stores all the fragmented files on the hard disk in contiguous clusters.

When home users or administrators install Windows 7 operating system on a bare metal machine, that is, fresh installation, all clusters on almost every volume are free and no files are stored in them. When users store files, Windows operating system fragments the files before it finally stores them in the hard disk drive. If the hard disk drive is new, all fragments of the files are stored in contiguous clusters. As the time passes by and users regularly save or delete files, it becomes hard for the OS to store fragmented files in contiguous clusters and therefore the fragments of the files are stored in the scattered form, that is, in non-contiguous clusters. In such cases if users want to open files, the operating system takes time to collect scattered fragments of the file before it finally opens. If this process continues for several months, the reading speed of the hard disk drive remarkably reduces hence decreasing the efficiency of the entire operating system.

Benefits of Defragmentation

When users start experiencing reduced speed and decreased OS performance, they must defragment their hard disk drives. When administrators initiate defragmentation process, Windows defragmenter scans for and locates free contiguous clusters and it saves all the fragments of the files in them, hence keeping scattered fragments of files together or at least as close to each other as possible.

As a result of defragmentation process, if users command operating systems to open any file, the operating systems need not to collect the fragments of the file from different locations of the hard disk drives. Instead, the operating systems collect all fragments from contiguous clusters, which remarkably enhances the reading speed and increases the efficiency of Windows 7 operating systems.

Defragmentation Process

In order to initiate defragmentation process, Windows 7 administrators must follow the steps given as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer with administrator account.
  2. Once logged on, click Start, and at the bottom of the menu in search box type Disk Defragmenter and hit enter key.
  3. On Disk Defragmenter window, click to select the desired volume to defragment, which in most cases is C:, and once selected, click Defragment Disk button.
  4. Disk Defragmenter application automatically analyses the volume before it starts the defragmentation process.

    Disk Defragmenter

It is advisable that administrators must NOT use the operating system during the defragmentation process.

In order to initiate defragmentation on a volume, the volume must have a minimum 15% of free disk space. For example, if the volume size is 100 GB, it must have minimum of 15 GB free disk space in order to allow Windows 7 to initiate defragmentation process.

Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.
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