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How to Defrag a Hard Drive on a Windows 10 Computer

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Some data on your hard disk becomes fragmented when you delete, modify, or create a new file. This can lead to bits of data being stored in different parts of your hard disk. This can slow down your computer over time as it takes longer for your drives to read every bit of data in a file. It is important that you know how to defragment your hard drives so it can run smoothly. What is defragging? And how do you defragment an SSD?

What is defragging?

Defragmenting is the process by which your computer organizes your hard drive so that it can find and read files efficiently. This helps free up storage space and speeds up your computer’s performance.

Computers now have an automatic defragmentation process built in. Windows 7 and later allow you to automatically defragment your drives daily, weekly, and monthly.

Sometimes, however, files can become fragmented and not all of them are available for defragmentation. If you have been working on your computer a lot, this can happen. Here’s how you can manually defragment your Windows 10 computer if it has been slow.

Click the magnifying glass icon at the bottom-left corner to defragment a drive. Next, type Optimize Drives in the search bar. Select a drive, then click Optimize.

How to Defragment a Drive on Windows 10 Computer

  1. Click on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom-left corner.
  2. Type Defragment or Optimize Drives in the search bar.
  3. Next, click Open. You can also press Enter on your keyboard. You will now see the Optimize Drives window. This will display a list of all your drives, as well as the type of each drive, their last defragged time, and their current status.
  4. Choose the drive that you wish to defragment. Under Current status, you can view how fragmented your drive looks and whether it needs optimization.
  5. Click Analyze. If it says OK, you don’t need to optimize. You might defrag your hard drive if it shows Needs Optimization.
  6. Click Optimize. Wait for the process to finish. When it states OK and 0% fragmented, you will know that your drive has been defragmented.

Click the Change settings to change the frequency that your computer defrags drives.

Do You Need to Defragment an SSD?

Solid-state drives can become fragmented like other hard drives. However, it is not recommended to defragment an SSD. It is not only unnecessary but it can also reduce the life expectancy of your SSD.

The data is stored on magnetic plates by a hard disk drive (HDD). The plates spin at thousands per minute, while the dedicated read/write head is above them. These drives can be broken up into smaller pieces, which aligns the data on the spinning plates. This allows the head to be more stable when reading or writing data.

SSDs, however, don’t have the same mechanical moving parts as HDDs. SSDs store data on memory chips. This allows them to read and write fragmented information as fast as defragmented data.

The memory chips inside SSDs also degrade when you write or erase new data. Defragging SSDs will cause them to die more quickly. This is why it’s important to not manually defragment an SSD.

You don’t have to uninstall your SSD from auto defragging. Windows 10 uses a different type of defragmentation to SSDs. This blog post is a great resource for more information about this concept.

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