Running Defrag is an important part of maintaining your computer system. When you install programs or save files to your computer your computer places these files onto your hard drive. The hard drive is your main storage device. A hard drive (or hard disk) is a mechanical device that consists of several metal disks housed inside a sealed metal box. Each metal disk has two read/write heads that move across the surface of each side of each disk. As your computer writes files on these disks, it places them in a specific order. As you use your computer it moves these files into your memory chips (RAM or Random Access Memory) when it no longer needs these files it will write them back to the hard drive to the first available “open space” it can find. After time, the files that were once in order on the disk are now mixed up and scattered (Fragmented). This will result in a “slow down” of your computer because now it has to work harder to find these files.

You will first need to close all of the programs that are running in the “background”, To do this press, and hold, the “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys on your keyboard, then tap the “Delete” key (only tap it once, because two taps will shut down your computer) then release them. This will open up “Task Manager”, you will see a small window with various programs listed, these are the programs (or Processes) that are running in the background such as your Anti-Virus, schedulers, and such. All of these need to be turned off except for two of them (System Tray and Explorer). Now move your cursor over one of the files you want to turn off and click it to highlight it, Then click the “End Task” button at the bottom of this window. A new window may pop up to confirm your action, simply click the “End Task” button in this window to finish. You will have to go through this process for each of the processes listed.

Be patient, and take your time, the worst that could happen is that your computer will shut down and you will have to start all over.

To put these files back in order Windows provides you with a tool called Defrag. The easiest way to use this tool is by opening “My Computer” (an icon on your desktop) Move your mouse cursor over the icon that represents your hard drive (Usually marked as C: ) and click the right mouse button. This will pop up a small menu, look for the word “Properties” and click it with the left button. You will now see a window with a pie chart and a tab at the top marked “Tools” click the Tools tab and you will see three options, the first is Scan your computer for errors (Scandisk), the second is Backup your Hard Drive, and the third is Defragment your Hard Drive.

You will need to scan your drive for errors first, so select the first “tool”. This will open a small window with a couple of options, the only one you need to select is “Automatically fix errors”.

When this is done, select the third option to defragment your hard drive. A small window will pop up, just select the option to defragment. This might take some time depending on how large your hard drive is and how fragmented it may be, so just relax and let your computer do its thing, you will be rewarded by a faster running computer. Do this at least once a month, or if you use your computer a lot, or play games on it, run it weekly.