As a computer owner, there are several steps you'll want to take to ensure it is running up to speed. One of these steps is defragmenting (or defragging) your hard drive. In this lesson, we'll show you the basics of defragging.
This lesson will focus on Windows. If you have a Mac, you won't need to defrag your hard drive.
Imagine that all of the information on your hard drive is a load of laundry. There are lots of different types of clothing and colors, and they all get mixed together in the wash. All of your clothes are still there, but they're jumbled together and take up a lot of space. This is similar to what happens over time to the data on your hard drive. Everything gets moved around and separated (or fragmented) and your computer has to work harder to find everything it needs.
When you finish doing the laundry, you usually sort your clothing back into organized piles so they can go back into your closet or dresser. When you defrag your hard drive, your computer is doing something similar. It's taking all of the data and reorganizing it so your computer can find things more easily and make the most of its available space.
Defragging your computer can both solve and prevent a number of problems. If you don't regularly defrag your hard drive, your computer may run slowly and/or may take a long time to start up after you turn it on. If a hard drive is too fragmented, your computer may freeze up or not start at all.
If you have Windows 7 or newer, your computer automatically defrags your hard drive on a scheduled weekly basis. Accessing and changing this schedule is easy to do.