Defragmenting your hard disk in Microsoft® Windows 7
Imagine yourself in a library full of books and you need the book Catch 22, the Joseph Heller classic. The books in the library are not organized. It might take you ages to locate the book, let alone get down to reading it. Now imagine the librarian organizing and indexing the library; you would not take much time in locating the book if that happened. Defragmentation is something similar.
Whenever a file is stored on the hard disk, it is broken into smaller pieces and saved by the computer in various locations of the hard disk known as ‘sectors’. To us, files are something that are whole and not a cluster of tiny bits of information; but that is exactly how the computer sees them. When you open any file, your computer searches for all those tiny parts of the file you are trying to open and only then are you able to view the file.
Defragmentation is a process through which an operating system organizes the contents of mass storage systems like hard disk. When you defragment, all the bits of information for files are organized in contiguous locations. This way, when you open a file from the hard disk, computer would find the file in one place instead of fragments scattered all across the disk and it will hence take lesser time in retrieving and opening the said file.
Defragmentation in Windows 7 is a relatively easy process. You can search for ‘Disk Defragmenter’ in the search box in Start menu and click ‘Disk Defragmenter’. You can check if your hard disk needs to be defragmented by clicking the ‘Analyze disk’ option and wait for the results. If you have never defragmented your disk, the computer would prompt you to do it. Select the ‘Defragment Disk’ option to start the process.
After you finish defragmentation, the tiny bits of information in your computer would be organized and the response time would drastically decrease.