Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Repost: tips for a faster PC, defrag your hard drive

 Today is one of those days, Dear Reader, when prior obligations prevent me from writing a new article. This article appeared June 12th, and it teaches the Scheduled Tasks tool, and how to optimize your hard drive for a faster running PC.

I am continuously surprised at how many PC users have let a year or more pass since their last defrag, or never have defragged at all. “Why is my machine slower than it used to be?” That is a very common question. It is a question with no single, or simple answer. Yet there is a single, and simple, step you can take which will improve the speed at which your machine reads and writes data, and which, if done regularly, will keep it at near the speed it had when it was new–it’s called “defragging” (short for defragmentation). Defragmentation remedies file fragmentation, which occurs, invisibly to you, over the course of time.

Tip of the day:It is commonly suggested that you run a defrag at least once a month. I recommend that you schedule your defrags to run automatically using Windows Scheduled Tasks tool. Set it and forget it, as the old saying goes. Here are the steps to do it:

1) Start>Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance and then click Scheduled Tasks.
2) Double-click Add Scheduled Task to open the Scheduled Task Wizard, and then click Next.
3) Follow the wizard to set a schedule for when to run the defragmentation program (I recommend running it late at night, as it can take a while to complete), and be sure to supply a password for the account on which you want the task to run, and mark the checkbox “wake the computer to perform this task.”
4) Check the box for Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish. On the Run line, add the drive letter for the drive to be defragged. For example, %SystemRoot%\System32\Defrag.exe c:

(This example is for XP, but you can do it in earlier–all the way back to Win 95–versions as well)

Another thing you can do is get rid of the files on your hard drive that you no longer need: such as emptying your Recycle bin and deleting your temp files (a quick, safe, and simple way is Windows Disk Clean Up tool) and there are some nice applications to automate and/or simplify this for you, such as today’s free link. Also, use Add/Remove Programs to remove applications you no longer use. Go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs and wait for the list to “populate”. Click on those programs you are certain you have no more use for and click on the Remove button.

Today’s free link: CCleaner CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused and temporary files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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August 29, 2007 - Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, tech, Windows, XP

5 Comments »

  1. Well, I have Diskeeper Pro installed on my desktop, and it defragments the drives automatically when there are available system resources. This autodefragmentation can be turned on or off for specific drives or partitions, and I find that extremely useful. So, I have turned it off for the drive that has my media files since they are rarely modified, but turned it on for the OS+program files drive that is frequently modified. Works every nicely and does a great job; and I don’t even notice Diskeeper running in the background.

    Like

    Comment by snowstar | August 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. The program Snowstar is referring to is the #1 rated for-sale 3rd party application.
    While I believe that the old saying, “you get what you pay for” is a good rule of thumb, it isn’t always true. There are 3rd party disk defraggers that are free. I haven’t reco’d any because they just do not do a better job than the one built into Windows–which, incidentally, is an older version of what Snowstar uses.
    At Tech–for Everyone, it’s all about using what you already have… or downloading free.

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | August 29, 2007 | Reply

  3. PerfectDisk Pro is another option. In addition to defragmenting all files in a single pass, it defragments all NTFS metadata (not just the MFT and pagefile), which no other defragmenter does) and consolidates free space.

    Joe Abusamra
    Raxco Software, Inc.
    http://www.perfectdiskblog.com

    Like

    Comment by Joe Abusamra | August 30, 2007 | Reply

  4. There seem to be debates everywhere about the effects of fragmentation, some feel its a disease that can grow over a period of time and cause performance issues. Others which dont check their frag levels for years or until it slows to a crawl. I belong to the former school of thought having experienced noticeable difference in speed ( no lags, n freezes) whenever the drive is well organzied.

    Like

    Comment by jayan | August 30, 2007 | Reply

  5. Folks–
    I am in a bit of a moral dilemma over Mr. Abusamra’s comment/self ad. I do not want to encourage this kind of thing. In the future, I will automatically delete “promotion comments” for products I haven’t tried and aren’t free.
    1) I have never used Perfectdisk.
    2) It costs $40, which means it shouldn’t be mentioned here.
    However, Diskeeper was mentioned, and if you have a home network you should be (at least) aware of this highly rated defrag tool.
    In keeping with this blog’s theme, you can download a trial version here: http://www.download.com/PerfectDisk/3000-2094_4-10654012.html

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | August 30, 2007 | Reply


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