Defragmentation step by step guide

Howdy and welcome back to this weeks fun filled edition of The Weekly Geek!

This week I am going to go more in-depth on how to run a basic cleanup of your hard drive, you can run these steps on a Zip or floppy drive too.

When cleaning up your computer to make it run more efficiently or to simple make more room on the hard drive, you should follow an order before defragmenting.

  1. Turn off Virtual Memory.
  2. When rebooting after turning off Virtual Memory go into Safe Mode by pressing the F5 key before the Windows boot screen appears.
  3. Run Disk Clean
  4. Turn off Hibernate mode if you use Windows ME or XP.
  5. Run Scan Disk in Thorough mode. If you have Windows XP the system will require another reboot, boot back into Safe Mode again.
  6. Defragment your drive.
  7. Turn Virtual Memory back on.
  8. Reboot your computer, it will boot back to normal mode.

Step-By-Step Description

  1. What we have done here is remove the chance that Virtual Memory is located on or in a bad area of your hard drive. Also by removing it we allow any information, programs and data to move closer to the center of the hard drive during the defragmentation process which will allow that information to be accessed faster.
  • To learn how to turn off Virtual Memory in Windows 95, 98 and ME click here.
  • To learn how to turn off Virtual Memory in Windows 2000 and XP click here.
  1. By booting into Safe Mode we keep extra software that interferes with the defragmentation program from running. Programs like firewalls, anti-virus and mouse drivers are all necessary in today’s computing world however, because the continually watch your computer they tend to cause the defragmentation program to slow down and in some cases continually restart so that it never finishes. In the lower right hand corner of your screen you should only see the time, not all of the other icons that are normally there.
  • To boot into safe mode, restart the computer (Start | Shutdown | Restart or Start | Turn off Computer | Restart).
  • Before any screens or information appears press and hold the F5 key on the top row of your keyboard.
  1. When we run the Disk Clean program we run a very safe method of removing old unneeded files in Windows. As an alternative you might want to run a thorough manual cleaning to get rid of as much unneeded “stuff” as possible. Removing the unneeded files and programs allows the information you do use and need to be located closer to the center of the hard drive and as a result accessed faster when you need it.
  • To learn how to run Microsoft’s Disk Clean click here
  • To learn how to do a manual cleaning of your hard drive click here and then follow the link at the bottom of the article to the next step.
  1. There are a couple of modes that a computer uses to sleep, hibernate is when all information in the memory (RAM) is placed on the hard drive so the computer can “sleep” when you are away. Not all versions of Windows have this option. By removing this option you remove the possibility of placing the stored RAM on a corrupt section of the hard drive and once again allow information that needs to be accessed to be moved closer to the center of the hard drive.
  • To learn how to remove and restart the Hibernate mode click here.
  1. Running Scan Disk in through mode simply checks your hard drive for errors and then marks any known errors so no information is placed on that part of the drive. This is a great tool to keep data integrity. If you have Virtual Memory on a bad section of your drive then Blue Screens of Death are common. If you save your letter to Uncle Bob and Windows places it on a bad section of a hard drive then the letter will not open again. Windows XP requires the scan to be run during a reboot, this is to prevent drivers form interfering with the disk scan, it is similar to why we proceeded to step 2. If you do use XP then after the scan is complete, start pressing the F5 key to boot back into Safe Mode to continue.
  • For how to run Scan Disk in Windows 98 and ME click here.
  • To see how to run Scan Disk in Windows 2000 and XP click here.
  1. I have written quite a lot on this step, in past articles, already. Just remember that by defragmenting you are placing all of your data back in a logical order and closer to the center of the hard drive and this speeds up overall system performance. For more information about hwy you should defragment your hard drive click here.
  2. Virtual Memory is where information is stored when Windows runs out of RAM. You should turn this back on to prevent massive bog downs in system performance. Simply follow step 1 to turn VM back on.
  3. Simply restarting your computer and allowing it to boot will bring it back into normal mode.

Well that covers this edition of The Weekly Geek. Until we meet again, have a tweaked out week!