How do I tell Windows to de-fragment my hard drive automatically?

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Leaving my computer on for long periods of time - even when I'm not using it - I'd like to know if there is a way that I can tell the computer to de-fragment itself every so often so that I don't have to worry about doing so when I actually need to use the computer. How can I do this?

Are you running Windows 7? If you right click on C: and then Properties then tools you wil see Defragment Now. Open that and then at the top it says Configure Schedule. Set it up for Weekly Daily or Monthly. Monthly would be best but only if you add and remove a lot of programs. It doesn't Fragment when you are not adding programs, other than the Word or Notepad files and Picture and Music files.

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One can still use the Task Scheduler to trigger defragmentation during idle and not disturb when the computer is in use.

By default, Windows should perform defragmentation in the background, so setting a schedule specifically for this is not necessary if your disk doesn't see much activity.

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Essentially it is unnecessary. The windows defrag utility (based on Executive software Diskkeeper) is set to automatically "optimize the drive when idle" , ie the moment windows detects that your hard drive is not doing anything , it begins doing mini defrags moving files to where they belong, making sure files are contiguous (an issue that should not be an issue if you have NTFS which is a file oriented system and will search for an appropriate area on the drive large enough to store the file contiguously when it is originally saved, as opposed to FAT which is address oriented and begins saving files at the first empty space regardless of size so files are fragmented from the get go). Have you ever been sitting there, not really doing anything and suddenly seen your hard drive activity light start flashing away? Chances are that it is doing a mini defrag.

Yes, periodically you should run disk cleanup and then run defrag so that it can compact any files which have not been accessed in a long time, delete temp files and trash, and then move things to optimal positions. (ALso , files in use cannot be defragged )

One big mistake folks do make from time to time is installing a third party defrag utility which is incompatible with the windows defrag one. Windows does not make it easy to disable the optimize drive in the background feature , and if you install a third party defrag utility that does not do this (or at least download tweakui and disable it that way) then because different defrag utilities often use different algorythms to decide what goes where (do you sort files alphabetically by file name, or by date created, by what they are used for, by size, by a combination....?) then you can run into a battle of the defrag utilities. One moves a file to where it wants it and the other freaks out and moves it somewhere else. Both constantly warn you that your drive is hopelessly fragmented.

I like to use the windows defrag since it sorts both by use (function, system files, program files, data file, unmovable files....) and by secondary characteristics so that the ones you use most often load fastest.

I find that the simple tool speedefrag is great for scheduling a boot time defrag and optimization.

SpeeDefrag is a simple program, that restarts your computer and runs the Windows defragmenter with optimized settings before loading your desktop, which allows for faster and more thorough defragmentation. Once the defrag process has finished, it can optionally shut down your PC or reboot it.
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I believe the Windows defrag utility in XP was indeed based on a watered-down version of Diskeeper (of around 2001), but the Vista and Win7 versions are not related to Diskeeper AFAIK. From what I read, the code was written from ground up by MS, and they also removed several features like the drive map and detailed analysis from the GUI, which were present in the XP version.

The newer versions of Diskeeper automatically defrag in real-time using idle system resources, while the windows defragger starts on a predetermined Task Schedule. The former also has many more useful's faster, defrags under adverse conditions (free space, system files etc), but ofcourse it's not depends on what the user wants.

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  • 1 month later...

My favorite remains Smart Defrag Free of course.

Updated version Release Date: Jan. 18, 2011

EDIT: wow -> Always-on Automatic Defragment Enhanced

Smart Defrag 2 works automatically and quietly in the background, so it continually and constantly keeps your computer fragment-free. <-

Note it will go to the task bar for a start up entry and defrag in 2 weeks auto unless you change it's settings for your needs.

So fast to defrag, never has conflicted with Windows unlike others software's in their methods of arrangement.

I've used it for many years, never will I leave home without it (joke) , tho with this SSD no need to defrag and recommended not to run any.

Helping others on location, a mere few minutes un like the built in M$ tool, that always takes hours, form your own opinion.

You have nothing to lose...


Edited by marsh_0x
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  • 1 month later...

For some dumb reason XP doesnt defrag automatically while Vista and of course 7 do

That wasn't a feature of XP. You can set it up to do it in Task Scheduler. Just remember that a HD only last so long and every defrag eats into the life of it. I would say that probably most of the people don't need to defrag but maybe once every 6 months or longer. Things like checking e-mail and surfing the web don't do a lot of fragging. When you delete an e-mail, the next one in will write over the top of where the deleted one was. This makes defraging often a thing of the past. I have my main PC that hasn't been defraged in XP for over a year. When I look at it it says not necessary.

Edited by MrBill
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