Sometimes you may notice that your computer is having a hard time. You can even hear the hard drive grinding as is searches for the file you want to open. The probable culprit is fragmentation of your hard drive. Simply put, fragmentation is the splitting up of a file into multiple locations on the hard drive. Maybe it is a file that you have been using for a while (such as a monthly report) and there are a lot of files opened between the time that you opened it last and now. When you opened it last month, it was saved in the first available space on the hard drive at the end of the drive. But only the added data is saved there. The rest of the file remains in its previous locations (remember, it does the same thing each time), so if you are not defragmenting your hard drive at all, think of how many different places on your hard drive that a piece of that file exists. Now multiply that by all the files you have on your computer (music, pictures, and documents) not to mentions all the operating systems files needed for your computer to operate. Do you see the problem?
What a defragmenter does is takes all of those files (where it can, sometimes certain operating systems files cannot be moved) and puts them back together in one place on the hard drive. Depending on the last time you defragged, this can be a long or short operation. Also, you must take under consideration how much data is on your hard drive. It is required to have at least 15% free space in order to defrag a system and the more data you have on the system, the slower the process to defrag that system. On another of my blogs I will discuss how to free up space on your system to make it run more efficiently and that will also help you with the defragmenting process.
If your operating system is Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, there is a built in defragmenter that you can use. You can access it by clicking on the start button, choosing All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. In Windows Vista and 7, it runs behind the scenes and only lets you know when it is completed. There is also third party software that you can purchase that will allow you to see how defragmented you system is with a graphical interface and some will even defrag those system files that the free built in software will not let you defrag such as
Diskeeper . There are also more powerful free defrag software with graphical interface for download such as Defraggler.
You can minimize your defrag software on your screen and continue to work without interfering with defragmenter (but the files you have open will not be defragmented), but it is best to do it at lunch time or when you are going to be away from your computer for an hour or so. The more you defrag your system, the faster it will finish. I suggest defragging at least once a week. That way, when you open your file, that file is accessed more quickly and efficiently because it is easier to find.
If you are uncomfortable with doing these types of operation on your computer, feel free to give us a call at Malugin Enterprises Computer Services @ 615-653-2138 and we will be happy to assist you with this or any other computer needs that you may have.
Helping your computer and your business live long and prosper!