Defragmenting a hard drive involves grouping together all of the file fragments scattered across the used sectors of a drive so that documents stored there can be accessed as quickly as possible. This results in making the device technically more efficient, because its playheads will have little research to do to load a file. In Windows 8, defragmentation has been renamed Optimization and is done using a utility called Disk Optimizer that is included with the operating system.
Over time, the files on your computer can become scattered around various places on your hard drive. An MP3 file may appear to you as a single document in Windows Explorer, but in reality, small fragments of the file may be found scattered in various places on the disc. The defragmentation or optimization of the disk is a complex operation which consists in recovering all the scattered elements of the same file, grouping them and rewriting them as contiguously as possible by applying an interleaving between the occupied sectors taking into account the time spent. 'access of read heads to disk sectors. The file allocation tables and their chaining blocks are then completely rewritten. The optimized files will then be much faster to open and read until their next modification.
Method 1 of 3: Open the Disk Optimization application
Step 1. Open your system's search bar
To do this, press the ⊞ Win + S keys on your keyboard.
Step 2. In the search bar, type defragment
Follow your input by pressing the Enter key on your keyboard.
Step 3. Click Defragment and Optimize Disks
You will see this option appear at the top of the search results list.
- You will see the Disk Optimization application displayed.
- You will achieve the same result by opening Computer, by clicking on the hard drive icon of your choice and then on the Optimize option.
Method 2 of 3: Optimize a disk
Step 1. Scan the hard drives
Click on a disk icon to select it, then click on the Analyze button. You may be prompted for your administrator password by the system.
- Windows will begin to analyze the level of fragmentation of the selected disk.
- You will need to repeat the process on all hard drives connected to your system if you have more than one.
Step 2. Choose the disk to optimize
Look for a drive that has a fragmentation rate greater than or equal to 10%. Click on the drive to select it and then click on the Optimize option. The selected disk must not be SSD type.
- If a drive has a fragmentation rate of less than 10%, it doesn't need to be defragmented, but there's no major downside to doing so if you really want to.
- You won't need to optimize or defragment an SSD flash drive. This could indeed shorten its lifespan given the large number of rewrites and sector moves that are necessary during the defragmentation process. SSD flash drives only tolerate a limited number of overwrites to a single sector.
Step 3. Click on the disk to optimize to select it
Step 4. Click Optimize to start the process
Depending on the size of the drive and the level of fragmentation it has, the process can take several hours.
As long as you do not use a program or the files stored on the disk being optimized, you can continue to use your computer while the process is in progress
Step 5. Exit the optimizer application at the end of the process
When the defragmentation of your hard drive is complete, click Close to exit the application.
Method 3 of 3: Schedule hard drive optimization
Step 1. Check the Disk Optimization schedule
Windows 8 is set by default to optimize your disks on a weekly basis. If the disk optimization schedule is positioned as Active, defragmentation will be done automatically at regular intervals.
Step 2. Prepare for automatic disk optimization
To turn on the Automatic Disk Optimization schedule, click the Change Settings button.
At this point, the system may ask you to enter an administrator ID and password
Step 3. Perform the optimization
In the Disk Optimization Schedule dialog, check the box in front of Execute on schedule to run the scheduled optimization.
Unchecking this box will turn off the defragmentation schedule
Step 4. Change the frequency of automatic defragmentations
Click the optimization frequency drop-down menu to change the time between two scheduled optimization operations. The options offered by this menu are Daily, Weekly Where Monthly.
Step 5. Choose the disks to optimize
Next to the title Discs, click the Select button and then check the boxes corresponding to the disks you want to optimize during scheduled operations. Leave the boxes unchecked for those you want to defragment manually. Click the OK button twice to apply your schedule changes.