One of the most common tricks to help speed up a slow computer is defragmenting the hard drive, but – what in the heck does that even mean?
Hard Drive Basics:
A hard drive is basically a magnetic platter with data written on it – when you save a picture, a document, or install a program onto your computer it is stored on the hard drive in a series of magnetic 1’s and 0’s called bits that the computer knows how to read.
Now, these platters of data can sometimes spin up to 7,200+ Revolutions Per Minute (Some go up to 15,000 RPM!), so when you are saving this data one “piece” may be stored in one location right in the middle of the platter, and the other “piece” may be on the outside edge of the platter in order to allow the computer to save this information as quickly and as efficiently as possible. This “break up” of data is called fragmentation.
Defragmenting a hard drive is a way to find all of the “pieces” of individual files and bring them together into one contiguous group – so that they can be read and accessed more quickly.
How to Defragment a Hard Drive
Most modern Operating Systems automatically defragment your hard drives on a regular schedule without any user intervention – however, the built in defragmentation software that comes with Windows isn’t as good at defragmenting files as some other free software available on the internet. If you want to take more control of your computer and get a little speed boost, try these alternates to the built in Windows defragmenter:
Auslogics Disk Defrag – A powerful disk defragger, by Auslogics – allows you to defrag and optimize your hard drive as well as schedule automatic defragmentation – extremely fast at defragmenting.. Free for personal home use.
Defraggler – Also very powerful and allows defrag and optimization as well as scheduling. Unique to Defraggler, you can choose individual files you want to defrag and only defrag those files. Free for personal home use.