One of the easiest ways to gain a little extra speed from your computer is to defragment the hard drive every now and again.As your computer uses files it has a habit of splitting them up in to different clusters of data on your hard drive which results in something called fragmentation - rather than storing everything in a neat sequential order your data gets dotted around the place.The result of this is that when your computer comes to use a file that has become fragmented it has to access from several places on the disk which results in slower loading times.

A disk defragmenter is designed to organise your hard disk back in to some kind of order so that your computer has to do less work and hence becomes more responsive.I have in the past talked about this subject but made the mistake of suggested the defrag utility supplied with Windows; whilst it does do a good enough job, it is undeniably slow.I am instead this week recommending the Defragger application that can be downloaded free of charge from

Once installed, just select the drive that you wish to defragment and you will be presented with a pie chart depicting the used and free space on the drive - to get the most efficiency from the application try to ensure that you have at least 15% free space available.Now click the analyse button and the application will return a map of your hard drive showing the scale of the fragmentation on your drive so that you can be sure that defragging is actually needed.Providing you are satisfied, just click on the defrag button and the application will work away in the background to restore your hard drive to some kind of order.Whilst working it will provide you with an evolving map and status bar so that you can check on its progress.

The entire process will take typically around an hour or so depending on the size of hard disk, degree of fragmentation and speed of computer.You are welcome to carry on using your machine whilst your data is sorted and there is even the option to select a ‘background’ mode which will result in the whole process taking longer but your machine will suffer less slowdown.The application can also be selected to defragment individual files or folders therefore saving time if you only want to correct the most severely affected files.

I am eager to stress that defragmenting is something that you should do only occasionally.I’ve known people who run a utility such as this on a daily basis and with this degree of usage any time saved in loading operations is more than offset but the time taken actually running the utility.You will always have fragmentation on your hard drive so the trick is to ensure that it doesn’t get to the stage where it is adversely affecting your machine and blasting this utility through every couple of months should do the trick.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.