Last week we reviewed whether it is still worth defragmenting a hard drive. We concluded that if your computer is more than 3 years old or you want to tweak the last ounce of performance from your system, defragmenting is still worth doing – especially if you regularly install new programs or create/save lots of files. We recommended using Defraggler to defragment a hard drive.
Defraggler is a free program by Piriform – the company behind the excellent Ccleaner which we have recommended before to delete temporary files. The integrated Windows defragmenter tool is very basic and doesn’t do as good a job as a dedicated defragmenting program.
Unlike the defragmenter built into Windows (which only lets you defrag an entire drive in one go – can take a long time), Defraggler lets you defragment one or more files, folders, or the whole drive – and there is a portable version too.
We recommend using the portable version of Defraggler – the less programs that are installed in Windows, the less cluttered (and therefore quicker) your computer will be. Download and save the ‘Defraggler – Portable’ version from Piriform here – it is a zip file (the second download on the page).
Unzip (extract) the zip file to create a dfsetupxyz folder (where xyz is the current version e.g. 2.07). Within this dfsetup folder you will find Defraggler.exe (the 32bit program) and Defraggler64.exe (the 64bit program).
Tip: You must use the version that matches Windows – if you don’t know whether your Windows is 32bit or 64bit see our article here to find out).
If you want to create a shortcut to the program on your desktop, right click on it and choose ‘Send To’ and then ‘Desktop’ (Create Shortcut).
To Analyze The Drive – Open the Defraggler program – you should see your hard drive partition(s) listed at the top e.g. the main C: Windows drive. Select the partition to be defragmented (you may only have one, most likely a C: partition) then press the Analyze button to start as shown in the example below:
When the analysis is finished it will display a visual drive map and a summary of how fragmented the drive is.
To Defragment – Pressing the ‘Defrag’ button will defragment the whole drive partition – but this could take a long time and there is little point defragmenting files larger than 50MB because the time saved is insignificant compared to the time it takes to open such large files (even when they are not fragmented).
We therefore recommend pressing the ‘View Files’ button to see a list of all the fragmented files.
- Press the ‘Size’ column heading twice to reorder the files so that the largest files are at the top.
- Ignoring files larger than 50MB (roughly 50,000 KB), select all of the others (highlight them in blue).
- Press the ‘Defrag Highlighted’ button to begin (or right click the files selected and select ‘Defrag Highlighted’ as shown in the example below)
The defrag process will begin and show the % complete – it may take a while.
When it finishes, you may see a message ‘Some files were not defragmented’ because it may not be possible to defragment every file – this is normal as key system files (e.g. page file) and antivirus program files are protected from the defrag process – press OK to finish.
Most (or all) files will now be defragmented – the Fragments column should show 1 fragment per file except for any protected files. We recommend running this defrag process once a month to keep your system optimized.