Files on the disk drive are not always stored in one complete block of data. Sometimes they are split into several parts and occasionally they may be stored in hundreds of parts in different places on the disk.
Windows keeps track of the locations of all the various parts of a file and when you access it, it knows where to find them. The problem is that it takes longer to read a file that is divided into many small pieces than one that is one continuous block of data.
Windows Defragmenter runs once a week to put all the pieces of fragmented files back together again. This helps to maintain the disk performance.
There are alternatives to Windows Defragmenter, such as O&O Defrag, and they have more features than the built in tool. For example, O&O Defrag has different defragmentation methods, better optimisation of the disk contents, it can run whenever the computer is idle and so on.
Normally you would need to pay for O&O Defrag Pro, but you can get it for free. The Free edition can be downloaded from oo-software.com/en/free and it is a useful tool for keeping the disk optimised.
Click the Download button and you are prompted to enter your email address.
The real download buttons are then displayed and there are 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Download the right one for your computer. If you are not sure which version of Windows you have, open System in the Control Panel and it is next to System type.
When it is first run the Quick Configuration window appears. It can be accessed at any time by clicking the round blobby button in the top left corner of the window. There are options to schedule automatic defragmentation when the computer is not in use, or to defragment it at a specified time. It is your choice, but the option to defrag when the screensaver is active is a convenient one.
Click the little arrow below the Start button in the ribbon bar and there are two defragmentation methods – a normal Optimize and an Optimize/Quick. Select drive C: in the drive list and click Start, Optimize to begin a manual defrag. You can also just wait for the screen saver to activate and it will start automatically.
This free version has few features and most of them have been disabled. However, it is still a useful tool and there is enough in this free version to make it worthwhile using. Take a look at the tabs at the bottom of the window. There are Jobs, Reports, Drive status and File status. Double click an item on the Reports tab to view the details. Click the File status tab to see a list of fragmented files, and so on.
The reason O&O is giving away this limited version is in the hope that you will upgrade to the paid version with more features. That is your choice.
Title: O&O Defrag Free Edition
Developer: O&O Software
Size: 39MB installed
Verdict: A useful free utility for optimising the disk