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How to defrag your drives the right way: 7 defrag tricks to learn today

By Anna Lind 15 August 2012 in Defragmentation

How to defrag?  Defragmenting your hard drive may be one of the quickest and easiest, yet effective ways to boost your computer's speed and improve performance. With hundreds of defragmenters available on the market, most offering multiple defrag and optimize options, how do you know what is right for your PC and what features you should use to maintain your hard drive in the best shape? In this article I will show you how to defrag your drives properly through 7 tricks that will help you get the results you are looking for. So roll up your sleeves and let's defrag!


  You've heard of fragmentation and what it does for your PC's performance, and you have finally decided to do something about it. That's a great start. You go online and look for tips on how to defrag your hard drive and find that you need a defragmenter to do this task, and that there is actually one built right into your Windows operating system. You research this program along with many third-party ones and decide that you want a defragger with more features and faster speeds. If you have decided to use the free Auslogics Disk Defrag, these tips will be especially useful for you, since I'll be using this software as an example.


Trick #1: Don't defragment junk!

  This is actually not so obvious to most users until someone mentions it, and then it makes sense. Everything you do on your computer creates temporary files that don't always get removed automatically. Emptying your recycle bin, browser cache and other temporary folders should be part of your standard maintenance routine, but doing it right before defragmentation is essential if you don't want to waste time and effort defragging loads of useless junk. So make it a rule - defrag after cleanup. Some defragmenters allow automating the task by offering the option to delete temporary files prior to defragmentation. If using Auslogics Disk Defrag, you can set the program to automatically clean up by going to the Settings tab in the main menu, choosing Program Settings - Algorithms and checking the box next to Delete temporary files before defragmenting. This will ensure you never miss this important step when defragmenting.


Trick #2: Defrag only what needs to be defragged

  Fragmentation is bad, and you may feel like you need to get every single file put back together, but it really isn't always necessary. Defragmenting certain files may have zero effect on performance, so processing them is not only a waste of time and effort, but may also shorten the hard drive's lifespan through excessive writing. What are those files? Large files that are broken up into large fragments generally don't need to be defragged. Microsoft sets 64 MB as the threshold after which fragments are considered to be too large to even be included in fragmentation statistics, so the built-in Windows defragmenter will not process file fragments larger than 64 MB or include them when calculating the percentage of disk fragmentation. Auslogics Disk Defrag gives you more power in determining how big is too big or whether you want all of the fragmentation eliminated regardless of the fragment size. You can configure your own threshold by going to Settings - Program Settings - Algorithms and set the minimum size for fragments to be skipped. It can be a number from 1 MB to 10 GB, or you may choose not to check this box and the program will process every single file.


Trick #3: Don't lose your system restore points!

  Lost system restore points in Windows are a common complaint with people using disk defragmenters on machines running Vista and later Windows versions. What happens is the defrag operation moves files around causing the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to create snapshots that overwrite older ones and cause restore points to get deleted. If you have VSS enabled on your hard drive, or if you are not sure if you do, the first thing you should do after installing Auslogics Disk Defrag is go to Program Settings - Algorithms and set the program to defragment in VSS-compatible mode. This prevents excessive growth of the VSS storage area and ensures that your system restore points will remain intact.

Not all defraggers have this option, so be sure to never use the ones that don't if you have VSS enabled.


Trick #4: If you are scared to touch that SSD, don't!

  Defragmenting Solid State Drives (SSD's) is a controversial topic with most experts agreeing that it does more harm than good. Since SSD's don't have moving parts, reading data off of them is different as in considerably faster. Reading file fragments located in adjacent blocks is generally no different than reading fragments scattered all over the drive. What's more, modern SSD's may even break up files on purpose placing fragments in cells that haven't been heavily used, which is done to even out the wear that inevitably occurs with every write operation. Since defragmentation involves moving files around and therefore writing, it can cause excessive wear to an SSD.

Auslogics Disk Defrag lets you set the program not to show your SSD drive in the list of drives to prevent accidentally launching defragmentation for it.


Trick #5: Put those files where they belong!

  Defragmentation is half the job, as besides being whole, files need to be placed efficiently as to minimize the time needed to access them. Different defragmenters may use different optimization algorithms. The Defrag & Optimize feature in Auslogics Disk Defrag, besides defragmenting the files, consolidates free space on the drive, moves regular files out of the space reserved for the Master File Table (MFT) and moves system files to the front of the hard drive.

System files are files that are essential for your operating system. Their proper placement can do a lot for improving system performance. With use, these files may get scattered around the drive and make Windows look for them all over the place when it needs to access them. Good defragmenters give you the option to place system files at the front of the hard drive, where stuff gets read faster. In Auslogics Disk Defrag you can select this option in Settings - Program Settings - Algorithms. However helpful this may be, it makes defragmentation go much slower, so it's not something you would want to do every time you defrag. Use this feature once a week or even once a month, depending on how much use your PC normally gets.


Trick #6: You don't need to wait for defragmentation to finish

  Although with modern defragmenters like Auslogics Disk Defrag you can continue using your PC while defragmentation is running, it is still a good idea to limit PC use or run the defrag when you are away from your computer, if you want to get the best results. Many people like to defrag at the end of the day, and there used to be advice to keep your PC on overnight for defragmentation to run. With Auslogics Disk Defrag you don't have to worry about waiting for the operation to complete or keeping your PC on for a whole night. You can simply check a box to shut down your computer after defragmentation, and your PC will be safely turned off when the defrag finishes.


Trick #7: Don't obsess! Or do, if you really like to.

  Defragmentation can be fascinating and many PC users find themselves sitting by the screen watching those squares on the cluster map move around and get combined into whole blocks. If you find yourself doing this, you are not alone. We can assume two things - you have possibly completely lost the point of defragmenting your hard drive, but, on the other hand, you may have found a perfect new entertainment or an effective new relaxation technique. Since defragmentation is supposed to make your computer faster and help you not sit and wait by the screen for tasks to complete, watching the defragmenter do its job seems to achieve the completely opposite effect. However, that's just on the surface. As opposed to waiting for typed letters to appear on a slow computer's screen, this activity can actually be quite enjoyable, especially if your defragmenter is a pleasure to look at.

Auslogics Disk Defrag lets you customize the cluster map appearance so you can select one of about a dozen looks, or pick a new look every time you defrag if you like. This is something you don't get with Windows built-in defrag tool. With Auslogics you can click on individual blocks on the map and see what files are located there, how many fragments they have and what their status is. And you get reports after every operation, so you can see what has been done and whether or why there are any fragmented files remaining.


  Defragmentation is still a necessary job even with modern day hard drives running the Windows OS. However, it really doesn't have to be a dreaded task or something you prefer not to even think about. With modern defragmenters like Auslogics Disk Defrag you can schedule the task for a convenient time, have your PC set to be shut down after the operation or really enjoy using your defragmenter with customizable looks. So the question is not whether to defrag, but how to defrag the right way, which I hope this article brings you a little closer to understanding.

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About the Author

Anna Lind Anna Lind
Anna's passion is helping novice users understand computers and software better.

Discussion

Once again the auslogics tecks have hit a jacikpot with the defrag instructions email letter I have just given my Lap Top a do over and the difference is remarkable.

Thanks auslogics

Jack
Jack Chaytor
September 17th, 2011 @08:08 pm
Reply
+1
I hardly ever comment on a program unless there is something unique and/or extraordinary about it.

In my estimation the most important element of Auslogics Disk Defrager is how safe it is to use. At first I was a bit apprehensive when watching how fast Auslogic Disk Defrager worked, even when I used the Defrager and Optimizer combination, I thought for sure one or more files would get corrupted which is what would notoriously happen when I used other defragers. I do a lot of work on my computer, sometimes spending as much as ten (10) hours a day, utilizing dozens of different programs. Consequently, I need to defrag quite often. But because I am disabled, I might put it off for a while if I get too exhausted. Even with all that, Auslogic has never once skipped a beat, or damaged a file, or caused my system to hang, or, for that matter, even seen their program slow down because of it. In this day and age when developers are quick to market, bug free or not, I know I can trust Auslogic because I believe they understand how important a user’s data is.
Angelo Salvemini
November 12th, 2011 @08:56 am
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+3
Thanks for your interesting information re: defragmentation.
I would prefer to use Auslogics Disk Defrag. It's easier and reliable.
I have already written to you re: ebook : Turbo Windows - it is somethingwhich must be read several times. It's excellent, readable and very useful to everyone especially people who are just beginners or not IT experts.
Thanks for everything.
Biagio Vella
December 5th, 2011 @11:39 am
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+1
FWIW . I prefer defrag Lite too Defrag Pro . It is way easier to understand what is going on .
Defrag Lite
November 17th, 2012 @06:51 pm
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-2
Hi all,

Just want to say thank you for your good work and explanations.

Best regards,

jim
jim
December 14th, 2012 @06:15 pm
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+2
I still lose restore points even with tip #3 enabled. Losing restore points seems to be a problem that plagues every 3rd part disk defragger out there. I will say I didn't lose all of them, but I did lose most.

Would adding c:\system volume information to the exclusion list help?
Justin
January 18th, 2013 @05:28 pm
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0
Thank you for your article.
Should I be concern if my laptop's harddisk is 15% fragmented - after I ran degragmentation program twice?
Regards
Pieter Strobos
Pieter Strobos
January 20th, 2013 @08:38 am
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0
Fab article. So easy I didn't wait for my daughter to come and defrag my computer I did it myself. Feel like a geek already !!
Sandra
February 12th, 2013 @10:14 pm
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0
Hey I have a question for anyone who has the time to answer.

When installing 'Defraggler' it asks if to replace windows defragger. Should I replace it, or is it ok to keep both? Just curious...
Tomi
February 18th, 2013 @07:28 pm
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+2
Can you give me the simplified version for defragging for my Internet Explorer 7?
mike welch
February 20th, 2013 @06:23 pm
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0
Tomi, I want to defrag an individual file. I displayed the individual files, and clicked on one. What do I do next? Thank you!!
Ronald Chalupnik
March 2nd, 2013 @04:07 am
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0
Ronald Chalupnik,
I'm asking my own question... why are you asking me ?
Tomi
March 5th, 2013 @01:52 pm
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+1
Can I safely defrag and optimize my External HDD (NOT an SSD?
Any special instructions involved?
rroberto
March 12th, 2013 @08:24 pm
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0
Does Auslogics have a FREE link to clean up discs?
George Dowler
March 13th, 2013 @12:22 pm
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0
sir
i want to speedup my pc and want to compressed data
jitendra mohil
March 15th, 2013 @01:22 pm
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-2
sir
i want to speedup my pc now online
jitendra mohil
March 15th, 2013 @01:24 pm
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-2
Your Defragmenting hard drive post is very helpful for us. Really i feel very pleased to see this and i have solved my problem by using your idea.
Also i have many idea for solve this typed of problem, you can see my website for Click here
John Harris
March 16th, 2013 @11:35 am
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-1
rroberto, I have been a long time user of Auslogics defrag software. Any external drive will defrag exactly like any internal drive so no worries there. It will be a little bit slower if its a USB drive since the data flow is slower than SATA etc but perfectly safe. ;-)
candycab
April 4th, 2013 @07:06 pm
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0
i want defragmentation of my pc
jitendra mohil
April 15th, 2013 @02:38 am
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-2
mike welch,

"Can you give me the simplified version for defragging for my Internet Explorer 7?"

you might be pertaining to WINDOWS 7 not IE7.

-just download the software there's alot; Auslogic, MyDefrag, Smart Defrag, etc. just choose one.
-choose which drive to defrag; C, D, E, depending on how many drives you have
-choose what type of defrag; quick, defrag, defrag and optimize
-leave the PC until it's done

:)
Cord
April 20th, 2013 @01:44 am
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0
jitendra mohil,

"i want to speedup my pc now online "

making you PC fast can't be done online, it all boils down to SPECS; -Processor(SPEED,QPI, QUAD, DUO)
-Mobo(features)
-HDD/SDD(speed and total cap)
-RAM(total memory and speed)
-Software(too much for what you need, out dated)
-Malware, Virus, Trojan(if your computer is infected)
-Clutter(amount of junk, un-used files, cookies, logs)
-Not Defraged(meaning "messy PC file directory, registry table")

YEAH you can speed-up you PC online, BY DOWNLOADING the right software to do the right job(cleaning, defraging, optimizing) for you.
Cord
April 20th, 2013 @01:58 am
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0
Tomi,

"When installing 'Defraggler' it asks if to replace windows defragger. Should I replace it, or is it ok to keep both? Just curious..."

Windows has it's default Defraging software, Ausloigic's just created one themselves. you may want to Choose either of two. since you're installing a separate software from the window's default, might as well replace it. anyway they function same way it's just that Auslogic's and all other Defraging software out there has more features and options to it.
C0rd
April 20th, 2013 @02:08 am
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0
Does it has command line?
Anony
April 27th, 2013 @01:22 am
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0
Hi Anna,
I find your article on "7 defrag tricks" to be very informative & well written.
Thank you for taking the time & work of writing it, & putting it on your site.

What is your opinion of the following things I have read elsewhere ?
I have heard you need to have the "screen saver" off, & be in "safe mode".
Have also heard I should run a registry cleaner before defragging.
Do you agree with any of the above ?
Can you tell a relative novice how to put Windows 7 into "safe mode"?

Thanks for any help, & please email a reply directly to me.
Ron Forhmzway
June 5th, 2013 @12:27 pm
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0
On step 5, where it says "System files are files that are essential for your operating system. Their proper placement can do a lot for improving system performance. With use, these files may get scattered around the drive and make Windows look for them all over the place when it needs to access them. Good defragmenters give you the option to place system files at the front of the hard drive, where stuff gets read faster. In Auslogics Disk Defrag you can select this option in Settings - Program Settings - Algorithms."

There is no option to "Move system files to the beginning of the disk", the only 2 options there are the "skip files larger than" and "skip fragments larger than".

Some of these screen shots don't match the program I'm seeing.
How do I find the option to move system files to the front of the disk?
And I don't have the option to "Defrag & optimize"
Brendan
June 30th, 2013 @12:26 pm
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0
"There is no option to "Move system files to the beginning of the disk", the only 2 options there are the "skip files larger than" and "skip fragments larger than"......... If you are seeing this in your "Algorithms Settings" then you must have an older Version of Auslogics. You should have Auslogics Disk Defrag Version 3.6.1.0. Or maybe you have another brand and you just haven't noticed. Just verify the name of the derfaggler you have installed.

Auslogics defrag is very easy to use, does an excellent job, has many options, no memory hogging or slowing down your PC, safe, fast, nice to look at, optimizes and defragments at the same time, can be scheduled to run at boot and just plain GREAT!!! I encourage all to follow the "tips" and just have a good time with probably the "best and safest" there can be..Thanks AUSLOGICS for such GREAT software.

George Melendez
Humacao, Puerto Rico
George Melendez
July 7th, 2013 @09:26 pm
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0
There is non option to select Delete temporary files before defragmenting & vss ?
Fatih
July 7th, 2013 @09:30 pm
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0
I just want to say thank you for a great program. I've used it for years now and to be honest; I couldn't live without.

Thank you so much for a very generous gift!!

Cheers

Dom
Dominic Smith
July 12th, 2013 @08:27 am
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0
looks like someone knows more about this than I do.
ted fuller
July 16th, 2013 @09:44 am
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0
I'm a reasonably new usere of Auslogics. I want to thank you for forwarding a trial version. From what I can see "the Trojan" I encountered is not GONE! Thank you. I would like to purchase the Defrag option. I'm sold on Auslogics. Great and reliable product. Thank you.
Tom Royston
August 29th, 2013 @06:33 pm
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0
I can defrag everything except my SYSTEM? It's at 8% how do defrag it?
Molly
September 3rd, 2013 @12:38 pm
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0
Whenever I defragment my drive there is a small amount of data at the very end of the drive than no defragmenter I have tried will move nearer to the start of the disk, including boot time defrags. As a result I cannot shrink my C drive (which is bigger than it needs to be) to make more room for backup storage in the D drive (which would benefit from being bigger). If all else fails I could try doing a complete backup using Reflect and then copy back to the drive but would prefer not to go to the trouble.

Is this a common problem and is anyone working on it? I'd be interested to hear from anyone else.
Peter Merrick
October 8th, 2013 @06:08 am
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0
Excellent article. Nicely done. It would have been nice to touch\have a little section on raid volumes.
Chris
October 30th, 2013 @10:03 am
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-1
I am running a defrag & optimise on 3 disks. Two are running as normal but one has stopped with a status shown as "waiting". Why has this happened & how can I restart the drfag & optimising?
Eric Jackson
November 1st, 2013 @06:27 am
Reply
+1
i am very paranoid when it comes to optimization and cleaning and i was wondering if using auslogics every 30 min or so throughout the day hurts it as i try to get the perfect fragments like i had a couple times where i have all pink or purple and the rest blue and white without any extra color or spaces. they say using ccleaner over n over can degrade performance does this have the same effect? it takes me a good hour to delete extra wallpaper, icons, and junk files while customizing settings, even bios settings. am i getting way to carried away with the whole thing and missing the point in performance.
Lee
November 7th, 2013 @03:56 am
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-1
Grean article. Thanks for the very helpful tips.

I would like to know why the last few versions of Auslogics Defragmenter no longer support the smaller screens such as my 10" netbook (screen resolution: 1024 X 600) ? I have been using your wonderful program for years in all my pc's. However, I have to use my older and outdated version of Auslogics Defragmenter because every time I try to update to the new version, I get a pop up message that your "program only works with screen resolutions 1024 x 720 or higher"

Is there a way I could update and install a newer version of your defragmenter program in my netbook?

Thank you,

Lilian Silveira

I
Lilian Silveira
November 7th, 2013 @11:10 pm
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0
No option to move system files to beginning of drive here using 4.3.2.0 windows 8.1 32bit :(
Wub901
November 13th, 2013 @08:21 am
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0
I learned of this program from the guys at windows bbs that were raving about how good it was so I wanted to research it myself,but question is doesn't windows have a really good built-in defragger?
Tracy
January 6th, 2014 @12:06 am
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0
thanks a lot, it good informative and helpful in solving the problems.
hussain
January 13th, 2014 @07:28 am
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0
i guess i am paranoid but my pc works best when the colors are grouped in a nice layout, without spaces - aka how it should be.
Lee
February 6th, 2014 @04:17 pm
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0
Nicely written.
I would like to hear more from Auslogic on the issue of drive lifespan w.r.t. defragmentation. I read elsewhere that defragging protects data by freshly rewriting it; the article said that data tends to become corrupted over time and that defragging protects it by magnetically writing it over again. This was written about spinning disk drives of course.
So, what is the happy median? When does rewriting data become excessive and furnish diminishing returns because of disk wear?
Thanks again Auslogic
Wilson Dawson
February 10th, 2014 @03:02 pm
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0
Even though this article is over two years old, it did fill me in on some important information regarding using Auslogics defraggler and it would be nice and convenient to update this site to present Auslogics events. thank you
Victor Cristy
February 11th, 2014 @10:04 pm
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0
think you for this article....
diana rose
March 5th, 2014 @08:58 am
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0
Nice article and very useful info....
George Melendez
April 4th, 2014 @02:48 am
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0
The most important thing, is to move the largest files to the end (outside) of the disk(s).
Glenn
April 25th, 2014 @06:41 pm
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0
I hope If you add anew powerful tools to the next version of auslagic boostspeed like :
1. startup booster:
this tool start with windows and stop unnecessary apps to make start up faster.
2.change the look of tools elevation windows and make more beautiful
mohammed elsir
July 10th, 2014 @03:23 am
Reply
+1
I have recieved only the #4 tutorial and/or newsletter.

Please send the papers I have missed.

Thankyou
Carla
August 10th, 2014 @05:32 pm
Reply
+1

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