Five Free Programs to Defragment your PC

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defrag.gif If you’ve owned a PC for a long period of time, you’ll know that eventually you need to defragment the hard drive. As you use the PC more and more, files become scattered across different folders and the system slows down as a result. Defragging may be a pain up the rear but it’s unfortunately a fact of life which you can’t escape from, if you want to continue installing programs, watching video files and listening to music. But there’s a school of thought that says that defragging is unnecessary. I’ll leave that for you to decide whether or not that argument has any merits.

To do a proper defrag, you need to use the built-in Windows defrag tool (which can be found in your start menu). But if you haven’t defragged for quite some time, that would mean that the Windows defrag tool will take hours to complete the job thoroughly (at the beginning, my defrag sessions would last 7 or 8 hours!) – and you can’t use the computer in the meantime. Now I often leave it running during the night while I am snoring away in bed and in the morning, the computer is ready to go again.

Out of the following free defrag tools, I prefer Auslogics, but always remember that these tools will not do a thorough defragging job. All they will do is generally keep your files in good shape and do a bit of defragmenting. The advantage to using them though is that when you finally run the proper Windows defrag tool, the time it takes to finish the job will be slashed by hours. I run Auslogics once a week and now the Windows defrag tool subsequently only takes 2 hours.

auslogicspartial.gifAuslogics – I mentioned Auslogics in a previous MakeUseOf article but I think it is the best of the free defrag tools out there so it merits a second mention.

Wincontig – WinContig is an easy-to-use stand-alone defragmentation tool that doesn’t create any installation directories or Registry entries on your computer. Its purpose is to quick defrag files without the need to defrag the whole disk. In addition, WinContig allows you to group files into profiles, and also it accepts a number of optional command-line switches that you can use to control how the program operates.

Contig – this one is also becoming a favourite. You operate it from the Windows command line and you use it to defrag a single file. It saves you having to fire up the Windows defrag application just to deal with one file.

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PageDefrag – PageDefrag defrags your Windows page file, Registry hives, event log files and hibernation files. These are files that the built-in Windows defragger is unable to defragment since they are open for exclusive access when Windows is running. PageDefrag is a boot-time defragmentation utility which means it will re-boot your computer then defrag these areas before it allows Windows to start up again. So don’t start this program if you’re in the middle of anything important!

DefragMentor Lite CL – with this program, you can defragment a single file or a group of files as well as to obtain information on file and disk fragmentation.

I’ve only skimmed the surface here regarding defragging tools, so I’d appreciate hearing from you. What defrag tools do you use? Do you think computers should be defragged or is the whole defragging thing a complete waste of time?

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