Defragmenting your hard disk regularly is important in ensuring the efficiency of your computer. It’s a way to allow your computer to clean up and re-organize itself for a system that runs better and faster.
How does defragmenting work and why is it important?
When your computer is working; using, opening, saving files, changing data in the files, it uses up areas on your hard disk. If you save a file for example, the hard disk will take that file and store it in sections on the computers hard drive that are adjacent to each other, depending on the size of the file. Smaller files are easier to store because they can be placed efficiently next to each other.
As you continue to use your computer, you will also be performing other tasks, such as editing, adding and deleting files. When you do, changes occur on the hard disk and some areas will become empty pockets. These areas are referred to as fragmentation.
Imagine your hard disk as a flat surface with small blocks where data is stored and there are fragmentations present. From above, you’ll see that the files are scattered all over the surface, with some areas empty. Small files will usually fit a small area, but for bigger files, it’s different.
On bigger files, it will be difficult to try to fit them in a limited space so your computer will instead break the file down into fragments and store these fragments in different locations on the hard disk. Although this helps keep the files in place, it tends to build up over time.
The randomness with which these files stored also clutters your hard drive and later, it will take a bit longer for your computer to locate things. This is when you’ll notice that your system is getting slower. Because the hard disk becomes too fragmented, each time you try to open a file or use a program, it will take longer for the computer to locate and gather the necessary files.
This causes the operating system to run more slowly, making your computer less efficient. Defragmenting (sometimes referred to as ‘defrag’ or ‘defragging’) will help re-arrange the files and keep them in order and easy to find. Once you have defragmented your hard disk, you will notice that your computer runs faster.
How often should I defrag my hard disk?
Don’t ignore the importance of defragmenting your computer. Defragging once a month is a good practice, especially if you use your computer often and if you manage a lot of files.