Full guide: how to defrag your hard drive and boost PC’s performance

One of the most important elements of system optimization, which holds on par with services optimization and memory cleaning, is going to be the hard drive defragmentation procedure. In today’s guide, we will explain the basics of this process – how you can defrag a hard drive and what programs can help you.

Let’s imagine our storage device as a grid filled with files. For example, one photo takes a few sectors, but those sectors are not standing successively – they are placed in different sections of our grid. With this conditions file reading speed dramatically slows down and other programs get a performance loss as well. The optimization method that allows users to free space, increase file-reading speed, and reduce storage device load is called «defragmentation,» and we will teach you how to use it properly.

Defrag a Windows 10 or Windows 7 computer

  • If you are using Windows 7, follow the steps below:
  • Open Windows Explorer to see all disks on the computer.
  • Select the disk you want to defrag and right-click it.
  • Go to Properties and find a tab named «Tools.»
  • Click on the button «Defragment now…»

In order to execute the process, select a disk and allow the utility to optimize it (we recommend you to analyze disk before defragmenting it – the option is right there, in the same menu).

If you are running Windows 10 on your computer, then you should do the following:

  • Right-click on the Start button, then select File Explorer.
  • Right-click on the disk you want to optimize and then left-click on the Properties menu.
  • Go to the Tools tab and click «Optimize.»
  • Select a disk, analyze it before defrag, and then click the «Optimize» button.

As you see, the defragmentation in Windows 7 is not very different defrag in Windows 10. You just need to be prepared that some menus may look different in various Windows versions. Nevertheless, for Windows 10 users we have another method in the store that will allow them to defrag a hard drive.

How to defragment hard drive using PowerShell?

Click the Start button and type in the search bar powershell.

Run PowerShell as administrator (right-click on it and select that option).

When PowerShell window opens, type Optimize-Volume -DriveLetter D -Analyze -Verboseto check whether you need defrag or not. The letter D here indicates the disk you want to check, if you need to analyze another disk, then just enter another letter.

Now type Optimize-Volume -DriveLetter D –Verbose, hit Enter, and wait for the procedure to end.  

Should I defragment my SSD?

We would like to talk on this matter individually. After completing Windows 7 installation, the system does not shut down optimization processes automatically. As for hard drive defragmentation in Windows 10, which distinguishes types of active storage devices, you need to disable it manually because SSDs have a limited number of write cycles and a limited number of total bytes written. SSDs don’t really need additional maintenance as all modern solid-state drives come with all tools packed in their firmware. If you don’t disable analyzing and defrag functions for your SSD, you may decrease the lifespan of your SSD significantly.      

Defrag software tools for Windows

Apart from standard utilities available in Windows, there are plenty of third-party programs for hard drive defragmentation. Some of them are free and can be downloaded from the official websites without paying a penny or even registering: EaseUS Partition Master, Defraggler, or Ashampoo WinOptimizer. 

All facts and methods we have covered in this article must become a part of your computer optimization routine for a good reason. When data is severely fragmented, your computer will process it much slower than it potentially can, and, it may also result in a wide array of errors. In the latest operating systems, this process is automated and performed without worrying users. But if you are using older versions of Windows or don’t have the latest updates, we recommend doing defragmentation procedures regularly (at least once per month). We believe that in future Windows version Microsoft will fully automate all aspects and elements of the system as first steps have been already made.