The disk defragmenter reorganizes fragmented files in the operating system, helping laptops or computers to improve the speed at which files are read from the disk.
Doing defragmentation, your device will generally open programs and applications much faster, without wasting time waiting for them to start up, avoid the device from running extra functions that usually end up slowing it down.
In other words, if you want to improve your machine’s performance, disk defragmentation may be necessary – and on a regular basis.
Discover in this article what a disk defragmenter is, what it’s for, when to defragment your disk, how to defragment it and what software can help you in this process.
What is a disk defragmenter?
The disk defragmenter collects and reorganizes fragmented files on the user’s hard drive, moving the data blocks on the hard drive to group together all the parts of a file, reducing fragmentation of the file system, increasing the efficiency of data reading and therefore improving the overall performance of the computer.
At the same time, it organizes storage, providing additional capacity.
Computers generally have internal disk defragmentation tools – in addition to allowing the use of external systems.
What is a disk defragmenter for?
All the data and files inside your computer are stored on different parts of storage devices – since a video, a photo or any other file is made up of small fragments of information, which end up being stored in random places on your hard disk.
The operating system knows where they are and how to locate them, but as it uses the hard disk to write and delete files, it is not always possible to write them precisely to nearby areas of the disk.
As a result, because of the way files are composed and deleted on the disk, over time, gaps appear between these small parts.
This phenomenon is called fragmentation – and is typical of file systems used on mechanical hard disks.
This problem means that the system has to work harder to find the fragments of files that may have been dispersed on the disk, causing the speed of the entire computer to gradually slow down.
In other words, the system becomes less agile and may take longer to perform some tasks.
Therefore, as it is used, the PC will open applications and programs more slowly because the data is disorganized in various parts of the hard drive, whether it is saving or deleting files, installing programs or uninstalling them.
To reverse this process, a disk defragmenter was created – it reorganizes data on the hard drive and brings fragmented files together, helping the computer to work more efficiently.
When should I defragment my disk?
If you are a normal user (you use your computer to occasionally surf the web, email, play games and so on), defragmenting once a month should be enough.
But if you use your PC 8 hours a day – for work, for example – you should do it more often: about once every 2 weeks.
As a general rule, whenever your disk is more than 10% fragmented, you should defragment it.
How do I defragment my disk?
As we have seen, computers with the Windows operating system already have the internal disk defragmenter installed.
In Windows 10, 8 and 7, you can schedule defragmentation as often as you like.
If you use the internal defragmenter, the process is as follows:
- Start → Control Panel → System and Security. The “Administrative Tools” window will appear. When it does, click on “Defragment your hard disk”
- The “Disk Defragmenter” dialog box will appear. When you see it, click on the “Analyze disk” button. This step checks whether the disk requires defragmentation. A drive with 10% or more fragmentation should be defragmented (if you’ve been using the computer for a while, the drive may show 50% fragmentation or more)
- When the analysis is complete, click on the “Defragment disk” button. A bar will display the progress of the drive defragmentation. When the defragmentation process is complete, the “Disk Defragmenter” dialog box will show that the drive does not need to be defragmented.
What is the best disk defragmenter?
As we saw, in addition to the internal tools, there are also external tools that can be used to defragment your disk.
So let’s take a look at some alternative disk defragmentation systems – and see which one is the best:
Developed by IObit, this tool can separate registries and directories from a defragmentation.
It can replace the Windows Disk Defragmenter to quickly defragment applications such as Windows Metro and skip defragmenting documents that exceed a specific file size.
With Smart Defrag, you can configure boot times to make it faster, and it also provides a game optimization feature that significantly improves the performance of your games.
The software also provides features to increase the speed of fast access, allowing you to copy files in half the time.
On the other hand, Smart Defrag does not perform defragmentation when the PC is idle – which is a disadvantage.
This Windows tool allows both internal and external defragmentation, resources for defragmenting directories and individual files, as well as checking the hard disk for possible errors – a significant feature that most disk defragmentation software doesn’t have.
It comes with a common set of features that everyone can use, and offers many advanced options for users who need to make specific changes to the program.
Ultra Defrag even has a dedicated registry tool to boost overall system performance.
In addition, you can schedule automatic optimization with this Windows disk defragmentation tool.
The only downside is that it requires editing a configuration file to unlock advanced options – which can be complex for lay users.
Aulogistics Disk Defrag
Considering features and cost-effectiveness, this is the best tool for disk defragmentation.
This Windows application optimizes your file system to make file reads and writes faster – and shows you a list of fragmented files instead of a vague fragmentation report.
Free of charge, this tool optimizes SSD storage, so you don’t need separate programs to defragment disk or SSD.
In addition to defragmenting, Auslogics Disk Defrag completely removes temporary and unused files.
The advantages of this software are its lightness, ease and practicality of use, and the fact that it comes in a portable version.
Its disadvantages include the inability to defragment your PC at specific times or when the system is idle.
Exclusive to Windows, Defraggler comes with the option of defragmenting files individually or defragmenting the entire disk at once.
Its disk optimizer allows individual files to be defragmented, guaranteeing maximum speed after any task.
After running an analysis, it lists all the fragmented files on the drive. You can then choose only the files you need to defragment.
Some of the software’s features include scheduling automatic defragmentations, excluding specific areas from defragmentation and optimizing the disk.
Its advantages include the possibility of defragmenting the disk on a pre-scheduled date or automatically, allowing defragmentation during a reboot, as well as working well with external disks and flash drives.
On the other hand, its disadvantages include the default installation of Google Chrome and the fact that it does not defragment the PC while it is inactive.
A highly customizable free defragmentation program, My Defrag offers 3 levels of disk data management for better optimization and data allocation.
Its advantages include a clean and organized interface and defragmentation of removable devices.
However, My Defrag is complex for laypeople to use and does not have frequent updates.
Does defragmenting your disk increase your internet speed?
Defragmenting your hard drive can have an indirect impact on your internet speed, as it is a process that optimizes your computer or laptop.
This is because, with the files organized, the operating system doesn’t have to waste time looking for information and is able to respond to commands given by the user more quickly – including opening the browser, sending or downloading files.
The disk defragmenter improves the performance of laptops and/or computers by reorganizing fragmented files.
As a result, the operating system locates information more quickly and reacts faster to user commands.
This is reflected, for example, in the quality of processes – such as opening pages in the browser, sending or even downloading files.
However, to be effective, defragmentation needs to be done periodically – within a timeframe that depends on the frequency of use of your laptop/computer.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Windows has an internal disk defragmenter, which can be used to improve the performance of your machine – but there are also alternative external defragmenters with different features.
Whatever version of defragmenter you choose (internal or external), don’t forget to defragment it regularly to ensure that your device performs at its best!
It is also important to note that if the defragmentation process is very slow (more than 6-10 hours) or is stuck, this could be a symptom of problems with bad sectors on the disk. In these cases, it is important to turn off or interrupt the process and if you have important data on the disk, take the disk to a professional data recovery company.