Over the course of typical computer usage, your hard drive can become fragmented. When this happens, files or parts of files are stored in multiple locations on the hard drive and, consequently, the time needed to access them can increase, slowing down your entire computer.

Defragmenting your hard drive involves rearranging your files in a more sequential order so that they can be accessed quicker. Defragmenting will not change, move, or erase any of your data. You will not see any change in where your documents are stored, but the time needed to access them should decrease.

Defragmentation is not required, but it can help speed up your computer. If you have questions about it, you can contact Technology Services.

How to defragment your hard drive

  • This article applies to both Windows Vista and Windows XP, the screen shots may look different but the steps are all the same.
  • Open up My Computer and select the hard drive you wish to defragment.
    • Note (You can defragment both your computer's internal hard drive and any external hard drives you own.)
  • Right click on the selected hard drive and select Properties.


  • On the top of the Properties Window, go to the Tools tab and click the Defragment Now buton.


  • In the Disk Defragmenter Window, click Analyze do run a quick diagnostic on your hard drive.


  • When analysis is finished (2-5 minutes), the Disk Defragmenter will tell you whether or not you need to defragment the disk.


  • If it is recommended that you defragment your hard drive, or if you choose to do it anyway, you can click the Defragment button.
  • When defragmentation is finished (30-90 minutes depending on hard drive), you will receive notification along with any errors the utility encountered.


    • Note (It is not uncommon to be unable to defragment some files, especially larger ones, and as long as the rest of the hard drive was defragmented successfully, you should see an increase in performance.)