Sunday, April 27, 2008

How do I defragment my computer?

Posted by Hannah on 5:11 PM

In today's how-to guide for the computer beginner we are going to talk about a computer maintenance task.

How do I defrag? How to Defragment
What is Defrag?  What is defragmenting?

Today's tutorial is about the Defragment process of your computer system. Learning computer basics will keep you machine running smoothly, and you won't have what I call COMPUTER FRUSTRATION!
computer frustration how to defrag your computer
Computer Frustration

Just like a car or household you must learn to do the maintenance of the machine. In this computer lesson we will break things down, and I will attempt to answer most questions I have been asked in the past about defragmenting.   I’m sure you have guessed by now it can also be referred to as, ‘how do you defrag?” for short!

So what the heck is defragging, defragment....DEFRAG???

The files on your computer become fragmented, and you are basically placing them back where they belong! You are running a defragment program on your computer to place everything back where it belongs...if you will!

The best visual I can come up with is a book to explain what is meant by fragmented computer!

Files Flying Before Defrag of the computer
A book as we all know is a collection of pages.

With a computer you have a file instead of a page in a book.

In our world pages in a book are placed in order and bound together.

On the computer your files are NOT always stored next to each other, or even CLOSE to each other! Can you imagine reading a book with pages all over the place? Learning how to defrag or how to do a defragment would collecting all those pages, putting them order, and binding them up again.

Imagine running all over the place collecting those pages together so you read them! That is how the computer handles the pages in your book! Your files on the computer are all over the place, and it can take forever for a computer to run around - gather all the files - and then place them in order before you are reading to USE your computer.  In other words, learning how to defrag keeps your computer running efficiently.

This is one of the reasons computer run slow at times.  They are busy running around trying to grab all those files for you.   Defragmenting your computer?  Keeps keep it running faster as well.

Defragmenting your computer places all the files neatly together so your computer is NOT having to run all over the place to find the information for you!

After you defrag your computer or completed defragmenting your computer all your books (in our case files) are placed away neatly together for more efficient use of your computer!


Doesn't he look happier now?

How-to know how often to defragment your computer

It really depends on how much you use your computer as to how often you need to defrag your computer! People that use their computer all the time will defrag it more often than someone that gets on it once a month!

For most people I recommend trying to do the defragmenting of your computer once a month! If your computer doesn't need it that much it won't take that long to run!  With the newer computers the program itself may tell you if its time to defrag the computer or not.

Lesson on how to Defragment your computer for the computer beginner!

How do you do it? AHHHH! The next part! Let us help you place your library of files back together, and have your computer happy with its NICE NEW organized LIBRARY!

I’ll will start with older operating systems, and then move to newer ones!

With any operating system its smart to empty your recycle bin before starting the defragment process!

With the older operating systems (Windows 95/98/ME/2000) you MUST turn off all programs as well!

No internet, No virus protection, No open documents, No music programs, no screensavers....everything you know how to turn off!

Those are what the computer will call processes, and will slow down or even HALT your computer if running them at the same time as your defragmenting program! That is my first computer beginner HINT that I learned the hard way! The second 'how-to' or computer lesson hint I have give you when you start this defragment process make use you won't be needing to use the computer for while! Defragging your computer will go so much smoother, and run faster with nothing else running!

I used to start it about an hour before my appointment with my pillow!
Sidenote: If you have never done defragging of your computer before, or its been a long time since it was defragged it will take while to complete! Relax! This first time it has alot of work to do!

From what I remember of Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows 2000 about defragging your computer the directions were pretty simple. There was a couple of ways, and none of them did the operating system seem to like!


The traditional way to defrag your computer is using the pictures above!

Start Button, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter

With the older operating systems you will have the 'C' drive as the harddrive that your information is on, and that is the drive we well be defragging today.

I'm going to show you a couple of different versions of defragmentation, and you should see your computer system in the following steps! I'm going to start with the older operating systems first for this computer lesson!

defragmenting your computer
Right Hand Side Settings

You might want to click 'settings' first! Look to the bottom right of picture.


Make sure these options are checked on your computer as well! Then click OK!

You will start to see one of the following screens during the defragment process on your computer.

You can a pretty graphic is you click the 'show details' button on the defragment menu screen! I never really bothered! It was pretty boring to watch after a while! Below is what you may see if you click the 'show details' button during the defragment process.


THEN off the defragmenting process RUNS! Ahem...You hope!

The only thing is computers with these older operating systems (Windows 95, Windows 98, ME) really seems to hate this defragging program, and it will slow down or even crash the computer when running defrag. For me (at least) it didn't matter if I was or wasn't running anything extra processes like screensaver, etc! There were times it ran fine, and other times it didn't! Older operating systems HATE the defragment program!

Alot of times I had people recommend to me to run this defragment program in safe mode!

To boot Windows 98 in safe mode for defrag:

Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility.
Click the Advanced button, and then click to select the Enable Startup Menu check box.
Click OK, click OK, and then restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.
Select the Safe Mode menu option from the Startup menu, and then press ENTER

Do the above defragment directions ALL Over again, but in safe mode this time! Your screen will look funny, and it will have 'safe mode' messages on it! Either shut down or restart your computer to get your screen back to normal when the defragment process is complete!

Windows ME can be tough to get into safe mode. Here's an alternative method to get ME into a selective startup mode similar to safe mode, in which Defragmenter should run without problems. You can use this method in Windows 98 as well, with the noted variations.

We will need to use the System Configurations or 'MSCONFIG' to do this next step!

To access MSCONFIG, click on "START" type=""


Launch System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG) as above.
Select the radio button for Selective startup, and then uncheck the following:
Autoexec.bat (in Windows 98)
Startup group items (in Windows 98: "Load startup group items")
Click OK and restart when prompted.
Run Defragmenter.
Run System Configuration Utility again, set it back to Normal startup, click OK and restart when prompted.

You can also do this (above) in safe mode!

Restart your computer and when it starts to reboot..
hold down the control key. (Ctrl = control key)

Windows will start with options for you to choose from.

Choose "SAFE MODE"

When computer is finished booting up...Start then go to accessories, system tools and choose defragment.

Oh don't forget to right click your desktop where no icon is..choose properties...then screen saver..then select none before starting the defrag process.

Another way:

Click Start
Click Run and type 'defrag' (no quotes) in the run box
Click ok
Within the defrag window, select the drive that you wish to be checked and click ok. In most cases it will be the C drive for defragment.

You can also try:

Right click on My Computer
Right click on your C drive.and select Properties
Click on the Tools tab.
In the Defragmentation Status section click on the Defragment Now button

YEP doing defragging this on those operating systems are a royal pain the rear! It needs to be done to keep the system working well!

From what I have read, and from what I remember the safe mode option was the easiest! If you haven't done this at all, or even don't remember the last time it will take you a while to get this task complete! If you do this on a regular basis you will speed up the process!

How to Defrag a computer on Windows XP

Defrag on Vista

Hit start button (circle), then computer, click on your hard drive (normally is C), and then right click on it. Your mouse has two button on it normally, and HIT the right one! Slide down to properties, and click it! Look at the top for the word 'tools' and click that! Hit the button that says defragment!

If this Computer Beginner Lesson on Defragmenting your computer was confusing in some way make sure to comment to me, and I will try to help you out! Once you defrag your computer a couple of times this tutorial or lesson will be a breeze! PROMISE!


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nw79 said...

How do you shut down unnecessary processes?

Hannah on August 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM said...

Well nw79 - we will have to move that over to the other article.

There is a picture of a task manager with the list of processes in this post above.

If you look towards the bottom you will see a 'end process' button. Highlight (by clicking once) on the process. Click 'end process' button to shut it down.

Make sense?

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