Defragmenting your hard drive can be an excellent way to improve your computer’s performance, especially if your Windows system feels slower than when it was new. This is because computers write data in sequential blocks on a spinning hard drive, and these blocks can become scattered as data comes and goes. Defragging, short for defragmenting, puts this data back in order and can have a significant impact, depending on the current state of your drive.
It’s not as important to defrag your computer these days as it used to be, but it is still something you’ll want to do from time to time. But keep in mind that defragmenting is only necessary if you have a traditional spinning hard drive — flash drives and SSDs don’t have any moving parts and will never need to be defragmented.
If you want to try to squeeze a little more performance out of your hard drives, here’s how to defragment your Windows 8 computer.
1. Open the Charms Bar and click Search. If you have a touchscreen notebook, you can swipe in from the right side of the screen. If not, move your cursor into the top right corner to view the Charms Bar. Select the magnifying glass icon in order to open the Windows 8 system search.
2. Click Settings. You’ll be searching through your notebook’s settings rather than looking for apps or files.
3. Type “defrag” into the search field and select “Defragment and optimize your drives.” By searching for the specific setting you need, you’ll be able to bypass hunting through all the settings to find the one you need.
4. Select the drive you want to defragment and click Analyze. Before spending any time defragmenting your drive, you should check to see if the process will have a positive impact on your computer’s performance. Windows 8 can first analyze the disk to see if there’s room for improvement.
5. Click Optimize to start the defragmentation process. If you’ve determined that your drive needs to be defragmented, you can start the process by clicking the Optimize button. This process can take some time, depending on the current state of the hard drive that you’re optimizing.