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May 13, 2011

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Windows 7 and Vista Auto-Defrag

You Don't Need To Defragment Your Hard Drive With Windows 7

Scoroncocolo, Scoroncocolo Tech Pages, Google  Results For Osama bin Laden DeadYou don't need to manually defragment your hard drive if you're using Windows 7 or Vista. The Windows Defragmentation Tool is by default scheduled to run once a week automatically.

Windows 7 and Vista Automatically Defragment Hard Drives

Windows 7 Defragmentation Tool

I got an email the other day from a guy I know who works in a big law firm. He said: Got a problem w/ a Win 7 laptop. Runs 2 slow. IT guy says defrag. Did. Didn't help and the first thing I thought was, you guys need a new IT guy.

There is no reason to worry about defragmenting your hard drive if you are running Windows 7. For that matter, you don't need to worry about defragging your drive if you're still using Vista. Sure, any non-solid-state drive needs to be defragged from time to time, but Windows 7 and Vista do this for you automatically. By default, Windows 7 runs the Windows Defragmentation Tool once every week at 1AM on Wednesday morning. So naturally it would be a good idea for you to leave your computer turned on when you go to bed every Tuesday night. And before you ask, Windows Defragmentation works just fine while your computer is in sleep mode.

The Windows Defragmentation Tool is just one and probably one of the most useful and important programs that windows has placed in the new and improved Windows Task Scheduler. To get to Windows Defragmentation Tool on your Windows 7 PC, click Start and type defrag and hit your enter key. You can also get to the Windows Defragmentation Tool as well as the Task Scheduler by clicking your Start Button and clicking on All Programs and then Accessories and then System Tools and there you'll find both Disk Defragmenter and Task Scheduler.

It might be a good idea to use the above directions to pull up Windows Defrag on your Windows 7 or Vista system to make sure Windows Task Scheduler is indeed running the program as it has been designed to do. When you pull up the program, it should look much like the image I've placed above.

Once you've pulled up the program, you can assure yourself that everything is working properly and as scheduled. If you see, for instance, that all of your disks are 0% fragmented that means all is well. You'll notice that you can change the time and day that the defragmentation tool will run from its default setting to any setting you choose by clicking the prominently displayed Configure Schedule button.

What Exactly Is Disk Defragmentation

Windows 7 defrag

The Windows Defrag Tool Puts Misplaced Pieces Back Together

I found it sort of sadly amusing very recently when I saw how many teenagers and twenty-somethings were tweeting and/or asking their Facebook friends "Who is this Osama bin Whatever guy?"

The same might be said about defragmenting a hard drive. Defragmenting your hard drive used to be something all of us PC users used to do as regularly and faithfully as changing the oil in the car every 3 thousand miles. It was just something that had to be done from time to time. But since the introduction of Vista in 2007, PC users haven't had to worry about defragging their hard drives. Starting with Vista and continuing with Windows 7 Microsoft decided that defragmenting our drives was so important to keeping the Operating System functioning properly on our machines that it would make disk defragmentation a process that would heretofore be automated. That was only four years ago but four years is a quarter of a lifetime in dog-years and also in a twenty-something's lifetime let alone a teenager's.

So some of you who are of a tender age or are new to computer maintenance might be wondering what hard disk degragmentation is and why it's so important.

Disk Defragmentation In a Nutshell

When you install new programs and un-install old ones, your hard drive changes places where the information related to these programs are or used to be "parked" on your hard drive. To a lesser extent, practically anything you do on your computer from downloading tunes or images from the Internet to simply moving files from one place to another can cause the programs and files to take longer to load because the bits and pieces of them are scattered out on the hard drive. Imagine a fast time elapsed video of a mall parking lot. When your computer's hard drive gets fragmented all the pieces of a particular program are not contiguously located on the drive and the "needle" that scans the drive to locate them all has to work much harder to find them and serve them all up. If all the pieces to the puzzle were placed in the same box, it would be much easier to put them all together. I've mixed a metaphor, I know, but that's what defrag tools do. They re-arrange the "information" on your hard drive so that the "needle" doesn't have to work so hard to find and execute commands you make on your computer.

This makes your computer run faster than it would otherwise. And very importantly, it also adds to the life of the hard drive since a drive that doesn't have to work so hard is going to last a little longer than one that does.

But the good news is that if you are running Vista or Windows 7 on a PC, you don't have to worry about hard drive disk defragmentation.

So if you ever hear your IT guy or your trusted computer guru tell you to defrag your Windows 7 or Vista machine's drives, be kind and explain to him/her that Windows automatically defragments all the drives on a computer running Vista or Windows 7 once a week by default at one AM every Wednesday morning.

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