1- At the command line, ie by typing in a console (by the “Execute” function of the Start menu) the instructions given to your operating system. This method is rather reserved for advanced users, we will leave it aside for this article.
2- By using the defragmentation function integrated into Windows operating systems. The method is quite simple, you go to the workstation, you right click on the disk icon to defragment, then you select “Properties”. In the window that opens, click on the “Tools” tab to access the “Defragment Now” option, on which you click. You are then asked to defragment directly or perform a disk scan. It is better to carry out the analysis, which will give you information on the fragmentation rate of your disk, and therefore the usefulness or not of performing defragmentation. Important, your disk must have at least 15% free space for real efficiency of the operation. It is also possible to access the defragmentation function by following the following path from the Start menu: Start => Programs => Accessories => System Tools => Disk Defragmenter. On Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, you can also type “Disk Defragmenter” in the Window search.
3- You can also use a dedicated software, free or not. The Windows defragmenter is very correct, and you will not necessarily have a better result with this kind of software, but from personal experience, some, like Auslogics Disk Defrag, are faster and more efficient. The other advantage is that they are more configurable, you can program interventions, select some hard drives and exclude others, specify a fragmentation threshold from which fragmentation must be started automatically. From Vista, the defragmentation options are however more complete under Windows. Some of the most popular defragmentation tools are Diskeeper Lite and JK Defrag for free solutions, or PerfectDisk, Ashampoo Magical Defrag and O & O Defrag for paid software (non-exhaustive list).
WHEN TO DEFRAGMENT?
- After installing large software or files on your computer (video game type FPS, photo processing software, video High Definition …)
- The evening preferably, and in general when you do not use your post. Defragmentation can be done in minutes or hours depending on the state of fragmentation of the disk but also depending on your configuration (disk partition size, processor speed, etc.).
- After deleting a large number of files or software.
- When your hard drive seems noisier than usual, because it may be because it works harder to access information.
- If you notice a slowdown in your system. Fragmentation may have nothing to do with it, but running a defrag will only cost you time and can do a better job, so why not start with that?
Last point, it is useless or even disadvised to defrag a storage disk type SSD, the access time to files is already very short, but also because this type of disk supports a limited number of writing / erasure. It would be a shame to reduce the life of your hard-earned drive, moreover for an unclear benefit.