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How to defragment your hard drive on Windows 10



  Windows 10 Optimization and Defragmentation Icon

Over time, a hard drive may start to work with less efficiency due to file system fragmentation. To speed up your device, you can defragment and optimize it in Windows 1

0 with a built-in utility. Here's how.

What is defragmentation?

Over time, the data blocks (fragments) that make up files can be spread in several places around the hard drive's surface. This is called fragmentation. Defragmentation moves all of these blocks so that they are located close to each other in physical space, which can potentially speed up the read times as you access data on the disk. But with modern computers, defragmentation is not the necessity it once was. Windows automatically defragments mechanical devices and defragmentation is not necessary with solid-state drives.

Still, keeping your devices functioning in the most efficient way is not detrimental. You may also need to defragment external hard drives connected via USB, as they may not be connected when Windows runs its automatic defragmentation.

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First, press the Windows key or click the search box in the taskbar and type "defragment." Click the "Defragment and optimize your devices" shortcut in the Start menu.

 Launch Disk Defragmenter from Windows 10 Start Menu

The Optimize Devices window appears and it will list all the devices in your system that are eligible for optimization and defragmentation. If one of your devices does not show up, it may be because Windows 10 can only optimize devices formatted in the NTFS file system. Devices formatted as exFAT are not shown in the list.

RELATED: What is the difference between FAT32, exFAT and NTFS?

 A list of devices in Windows 10 Optimize and defragment the tool

Select the device you want to defragment in the list, and then click "Optimize."

On a hard drive, the defragmentation routine is run. On SSDs, it runs a TRIM command, which can potentially speed up the operation of your device, but it is not really necessary because Windows does this in the background with modern devices.

 A list of devices in Windows 10 Optimize and defragment the tool

If the disk needs optimization and defragmentation, the process will begin. You will see a percent complete progress indicator in the Current Status column.

 Status for optimization and defragmentation in Windows 10

When the process is complete, the time in the Last Run column is updated, and the current status will read something similar to "OK (0% fragmented) . "

 The optimization and defragmentation process is complete in Windows 10

Congratulations, your device has been successfully defragmented. If you like, you can schedule regular defragmentation sessions in the Optimize Devices window by clicking the "Turn on" button in the "Scheduled Optimization" section. That way you don't have to remember to do it manually in the future.

Feel free to close the Optimize Devices window and use your computer as usual – and don't be surprised if you feel a little extra spring in your computer's steps.


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