Computer dragging it’s feet? Try Defragging it

Image of computer next to a hourglass

Timing your computer’s speed on an hour glass? Might be time for a defrag.

With any computer you will notice that over time things will start to slow down. You may see ads for services that claim that they will double or triple the speed of your computer for a small fee. While these services can offer some improvements there are a few things you can do on your own for free to try to speed things up.

Today we are going to talk about defragmenting your hard disk. It’s a simple process that you can do yourself, which can help improve the performance of your aging computer. Before we get into “the how to,” it might be a good idea to explain what defragmenting your hard disk is actually doing. When you use your computer, everything you do is saved. Now your work is typically being saved to a constantly spinning hard drive disk. As the disc spins things get saved on different portions of the disc so, for example, your favorite for could be saved on the complete opposite side of the disk as your favorite for Think of it like buying books over time, but never alphabetizing them and just adding more and more books to your shelf without organizing.

Image of a room filled with books all over the place

Good luck finding your copy of To Kill A Mockingbird quickly.

You probably have a good idea where things are, but it takes a bit longer to find the book you need. Your computer is doing the same thing. When you defragment your hard disk, the computer will reorganize like items so they are much easier to find, thus speeding up your computer.

Defragmenting your computer won’t always guarantee a boost in speed. Some computers have Solid State Drives (SSD), which have done away with the spinning disk, and some computers also automatically defragment the disk for you. However, if you don’t have a Solid State Drive you may want to defragment your computer just to be sure. In the instructions below we will be able to tell if you’ve got a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or a Solid State Drive (SSD).

Image of the insides of a HDD and SSD

For the curious, here is what is inside of your HDD and SSD!

We will be digging into the PC process for defragmenting as PC has a build in tool to defragment your drives. On the Mac side OS X will automatically defragment your computer, but if you want to have more input over it you can find a third party program that will give you control of the process.


For Windows operating systems 7 and 8 there are automatic settings, but users have reported that the automated defragmentation isn’t as thorough as it could be. There is never such a thing as too much organization so it won’t hurt the computer any to run defragmentation again.

  1. For Windows 7 and 10 you can use the Start Menu and search for “Disk Defragment”. Click on the Disk Defragmenter (it may have a slightly different name depending on your operating system).
  2. Once you open the Disk Defragment program you will be show which disks are available to be cleaned up. It will also list which type of drive you have (HDD or SSD).
  3. Click on the drive you want to highlight it and then click the analyze button. (You may be prompted to allow this program access or need to enter in an administrator password. Give it access or enter the password. This program is a basic packed-in function of your operating system so it can be trusted.)
  4. Once the analyzer runs it will let you know how fragmented the drive is. It is recommended that if it is over 10% fragmented, that you defragment it.
  5. Click defragment disk (or optimize if you’re running Windows 10) and the process will begin. It can take a few minutes to a few hours depending on how fragmented things are or how large your drive is. You can still use your computer during the process.
  • For Windows 8 it’s a similar process, start by clicking on your Charms bar then clicking optimize drive. You will then be able to follow steps 2-5 from above.

Hopefully with these tips you can save some money having other people fix your computer and have a computer that runs smoothly.

Image of personafied computer smiling and giving a thumbs up

Your computer would thank you if it could!

Thank you for taking the time to read our articles! If you know of other similar tools or have any suggestions, please leave a comment below and share with others. Maybe we can take a look at them as well! If you found this or any other article on useful feel free to share it with anyone you think might benefit from it.

Charles Potter

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