Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using the Windows Defrag Utility
Often the file is broken up into hundreds of little pieces and scattered all over
the hard drive. This can cause a noticeable slowdown that can be easily cured
by running a software program known as a defragmenter .
Disk defragmenting software moves bits of the files around on the hard drives
so that they are all placed together. This arrangement allows the hard drive to
load a file faster because the head, which is the arm that reads the data off the
plates inside the drive, does not have to scatter all over the place to read the data.
Before I go any further, it is important to point out that solid state hard drives
(SSD) that are often included in high-end laptops, desktops, and some Netbooks
do not need to be defragmented. Solid state disks don’t have any moving parts
and as a result, they have very low random read times. It makes no difference
if parts of a file are spread all over the drive because there is no mechanical
head that has to move to different parts of the drive to read data. Because of the
elimination of that delay, using defrag utilities that were not designed for solid
state drives on an SSD will have very little effect on its performance. In fact,
you can prematurely wear out your SSD drive if you use the wrong utilities, so
read the following sections carefully.
Using the Windows Defrag Utility
The defrag utility in Windows 8 has been updated to do much more than just
disk defragmentation. If you have a traditional hard drive, it does a good job of
defragmenting your files using a basic optimization algorithm. Although it does
not have all the bells and whistles of the third-party utilities, it is good enough
for users who don’t want to pay for slightly better performance. If you have a
solid state disk, the Windows defrag utility in Windows 8 is smart enough to
apply specific optimizations that clear unused cells. This prepares the cells to
be written to again using a feature most modern SSDs have called trim.
The Windows defrag utility is called the Disk Defragmenter. You can access it
in two ways: either on the Start screen or by right-clicking a drive in Computer
and then selecting Properties. The utility is on the Tools tab of the drive
properties. Follow these steps to use the Start screen shortcut:
1. Open the Start screen, type Disk Defrag , change the scope to Settings,
and hit Enter.
2. Select the drive you want to defrag and then click Analyze.
Analyze is not available for solid state drives.
3. If the report shows your drive is fragmented, click Optimize.
The utility begins to defragment your drive with multiple passes, as
shown in Figure 16-8. If you have a solid state drive, a different process
will run that trims the unused lash cells so they can be written to faster
when they are needed.
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