Auto Drefragmenting your Hard Drive

Howdy and welcome back to The Weekly Geek!

In this weeks exciting and fun-filled edition we are going to have the computer automatically defragment the hard drive. Over a month ago we went over how to manually defragment the hard drive and what defragmentation is. As a quick overview, defragmentation is putting all of the parts of files and programs back to back and in their proper order.

To schedule Disk Defragmentation in Windows 95, 98 and ME, you need to be at your desktop (the screen you see when you first turn on your computer and it finishes “booting”).

  • Next you will need to double-click the “My Computer” icon (picture).
  • When the new window appears you need to double-click on the “Scheduled Tasks” icon. On this screen you will see what tasks, if any are scheduled, to continue double-click on the “Add Scheduled Task” icon.
  • On the first page of the Wizard (the program that will walk you through setting this up) select “Next”.
  • The next screen will take you to a choice of files to use, simply scroll down the list to “Disk Defragmenter” (the items should be in alphabetical order). Once you see “Disk Defragmenter” click one time on it and then choose the “Next” button.
  • The next screen will let you name the routine (I always leave it the default name) and how often you want the program to run, I would suggest “Monthly”. Simply click the box beside “Monthly” and then click on the “Next” button.
  • The next screen allows you to schedule the time of the Disk Defragmentation. You can choose the “start time” and the day or time of month. Make sure that it is a time that the computer is on each and every month. As a rule of thumb I choose the “First Monday” of every month. When you have made your choice, choose the “Next” button to continue.
  • On the new window that appears, I place a check in the box beside the “Open advanced properties” button and then I select “Finish”.

You will have completed the Scheduled Task portion and be brought into the actual options menu. On this entirely new window you will need to select the “Settings” tab and change “Stop the task if it runs for” from “72” hours to “12” and under the “Power Management” section place a check mark next to “Wake the computer to run this task” then select “OK”.

One final thing to do is to make sure everything will run. To do this go to the Scheduled Task list and right click on your newly created task (Disk Defragmenter) and then choose “Run”. You should see the Disk Defragmentation box appear and you can watch the percentage of completion. Depending on when you last ran the defragmenter and how many drives you have this might take a while. You can select the “Stop” button once you are convinced that the program is properly scheduled and working.

Many times when attempting to run your defragmentation program in Windows 95, 98 and ME, the defragmenter will continuously restart and or pop up a message stating something to the effect “Your computer has restarted disk defragmentation X times do you want to continue?” At this point don’t bother to continue, just follow through the following steps and see if you can solve what is ailing your PC.

  • First off, turn off background applications, which means pressing the “[Ctrl][Alt][Delete]” keys all at the same time and releasing them all immediately. You will be using the “Close Program” dialog box to close them one at a time. Turning off basically everything except “Explorer” and “Systray” is the way to go here.
  • Now try to manually defragment your computer. If the process continues to restart you should try running the defragmentation program while in “Safe” mode. To get to “Safe” mode, reboot your computer by selecting the “Start” button, then “Shutdown” and finally clicking “Restart” and then the “OK” button. While the system is restarting press the F8 key on the top of the keyboard, select “Safe Mode” from the list.
  • Once the computer finishes booting (there will be a point where you will need to press an “OK” button to continue). If you can run the defragmentation program now, you have some other issues like a virus, a Trojan or maybe even some Spyware lurking on your system. It is time to refer back to the previous articles on Spyware and the other “nastiness” so you can clean them out.

In next weeks edition of The Weekly Geek we will go over how to run the Defragmentation process automatically if you have Windows 2000 or XP. Until then have a worm free week.