How to Defragment Hard Disk in Windows 10

Disclaimer: There are no safety precautions to follow when performing this tutorial.

Introduction: The Windows 10 operating system’s ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives’ scans the files on the hard drive and rearranges them to be read faster. If your computer is running poorly or running slow; completing a ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives’ degragmentation process will increase hard drive performance. Please note, this task is recommended if you use a regular hard drive, not a solid-state (SSD) hard drive.

List of Materials:

1. Computer

2. Defragmentation and Optimize Program

Along with the instructions are a video to assist in the defragmentation of your hard disk.

Step 1: For Windows 10 Users, Type “defrag” in the Windows Cortana Search Box.

Accessing the Defragmentation and Optimize Program

The Windows defragmentation program is accessible through the Control Panel in all versions of Windows. However, the procedure for getting there is slightly different depending on which version of Windows used.

Step 1. The search box is located on the bottom left side of the desktop beside the Start button, appearing as a magnifying glass icon. When you finish typing “defrag,” the ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives (Desktop app)’ option appears at the top of the search window.

Step 2: Click ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives (Desktop App).’

This opens the Optimize Drive dialog box.

Step 3: Highlight the Drive You Want to Defragment.

In the ‘Optimize Drives’ window, the box labeled “Current status” is listed. This notifies the user how fragmented the drive is and advises on what to do.

  • “OK,” meaning “no need to defrag,”


  • “Needs Optimization”

Step 4: Defragging: Click the “Analyze” Button on the Optimize Drives Window.

This step analyzes the extent of fragmentation of the drive. After a few minutes, the “Current Status” shows how fragmented the drive is. It is recommended that users only optimize the hard drive if it is 10% or more fragmented.

  • If the fragmentation is 10% or less, click the “Close” button at the bottom right side of the window to exit ‘Optimize Drives’ window. It is not advisable to defragment the drive too often as this can contribute to the wear and tear of the hard drive.

Step 5: Click the “Optimize” Button to Start Defragmenting the Hard Drive.

The defragmentation can take several minutes or even hours depending on how large the capacity of the hard drive is, how many files are on the hard drive, as well as how fragmented the files are. The “Current Status” column gives a “live” report on the progress of optimization.

  • Defragging process completion is when the progress report stops, and the entry in the “Current Status” column becomes “OK (0% fragmented).”
  • If the hard disk is large, has many files, or many of these files are fragmented, the defragging process may take several hours to complete.

Step 6: Exit the Menu When You Completed.

When the defragmentation process is completed, click the “Close” button at the bottom right hand of the window to exit Optimize Drives.

Step 7: How to Change the Defragmentation Frequency

By default, Windows automatically runs maintenance on drives every week, however depending on how the utilization of the computer; the operating system offers the option to change the frequency in which drives to defragment.

While in the ‘Optimize Drives’ window, click the Change settings button.

Step 8: Optimization Drive - Optimization Schedule

8a. Change the frequency to Daily, Weekly (default), or Monthly

8b. On Drives, click the Choose button

Step 9: Optimize Drives

9a. Check the drives to apply the new schedule
9b. Click OK to apply the settings

Step 10: Optimize Drives - Continued

Click OK

Step 11: Optimize Drives - Continued

Click Close to quit the tool

Step 12: Defragmentation Finalized

Defragmentation assists in clearing the cluttered space on your hard drive which causes performance issues, like your hard drive running slow. Therefore, upon completion of this process, your system can find the file you would like to open in one cluster versus many different areas. By rearranging these files it allows for quicker access time.



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