How do I Defragment hard disks in Windows XP

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Joined: 16/08/2008
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The performance of your Microsoft Windows XP can deteriorate over time due to something known as Fragmentation of your hard drive.  Fragmentation means that the pieces of your programs stored on your hard disk (HDD) are split up and not in a single "chunk" on the drive.  What this means is that the heads of the drive have to move around alot in order to read the information you need off the HDD. This means that it will be slower to load your programs.  The longer you have been using your PC and the lower your drive is on space, the worse the fragementation will be. 

Microsoft has included some tools in Windows XP (and earlier versions too) to allow you to "defragement" your HDD.  This is quite a simple process, but may take a little time if you drive is large and very fragmented. 

Below is an extract from the Microsoft Knowledgebase article that describes how to use the defragementing tools in Windows XP:

Disk Defragmenter MMC is based on the full retail version of Executive Software Diskeeper. The version that is included with Windows XP and later provides limited functionality in maintaining disk performance by defragmenting volumes that use the FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file system.

To start Disk Defragmenter MMC, use one of the methods that is described in this article.

Method 1: Use the Properties of Your Local Disk

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  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.
  3. On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
  4. Click Defragment.

Method 2: Use Computer Management MMC

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  1. Start Computer Management MMC (Compmgmt.msc).
  2. Click Disk Defragmenter.
  3. Click the volume that you want to defragment, and then click Defragment.

Method 3: Use Disk Defragmenter MMC.

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  1. Start Disk Defragmenter MMC (Dfrg.msc).
  2. Click the volume that you want to defragment, and then click Defragment.

The version of Disk Defragmenter MMC that is included with Windows XP has the following limitations:

  • It can defragment only local volumes.
  • It can defragment only one volume at a time.
  • It cannot defragment one volume while it is scanning another.
  • It cannot be scheduled. If you need to schedule disk defragmentation, use the Defrag.exe command line tool. For additional information about using the command line Defrag.exe tool, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    283080  ( ) Description of the New Command Line Defrag.exe Included with Windows XP
  • It can run only one MMC snap-in at a time.

Article extract from MS KB314848



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