Files stored on a hard drive become fragmented over time, meaning that parts of the files are stored in separate areas of the drive instead of right next to each other. When this happens, it can take longer for the OS to open the file. A defrag can fix this.
While there are lots of free, third-party defragmenters, the Windows disk defragmenter can be used right now without having to download anything since it’s built into the operating system.
Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
Should You Defrag Your Computer?
The Windows defrag tool runs automatically once a week, in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, so you probably don’t need to defrag on your own. Run the analyzer first and if it’s less than 10% fragmented, the drive does not need to be defragged. If you want to defrag on your own time, anyways, you can open the program anytime you want and run a manual defrag. You can get to it by searching through Windows or by browsing through Administrative Tools via Control Panel.
Defragging isn’t necessary on solid state hard drives since there aren’t any spinning parts. Since the hard drive doesn’t need to spin to find all the file’s pieces, there isn’t a lag between the time it takes to find the file and the time it takes to open it.