If you are a daily user of computers then a slow running computer is the last thing you want during your day to day activity. There could be many reasons for your PC slowing down. One of them can be fragmentation of disks. Fragmentation occurs when your files are scattered all over your disk in no particular format.

What exactly is Fragmentation?

To keep it simple, your hard disk consists of blocks of memory. Whatever you store in your hard disk gets stored in these blocks according to the size of the object being stored. Different files occupy different number of these memory blocks. When you use a computer, you may not need a file tomorrow that you need today. So you delete the unwanted files.

When you delete these unwanted files, the memory blocks occupied by them is freed and remain empty. Thus as you go on adding and deleting files the newly added files will occupy new blocks of memory and those of the deleted files remain empty. Once all the new memory blocks are occupied by new files, there are no more new blocks for new files to get stored. Thus these files now look for empty blocks left by the deleted files.

This is a time consuming process as all the free blocks many not be large enough to accommodate this new file. This is called fragmentation. You might have enough memory to store many more files in your hard disk but since they are scattered, those files might not be able to get stored or might take a lot of time to find a space large enough for it to get stored.

How do we get rid of fragmentation?

A solution to fragmentation is defragmentation. Defragmentation means to congregate free and occupied blocks of memory separately. When you defragment your disk the blocks of memory occupied by files are grouped together and those that are free are grouped separately in the memory. Now the new files can get easily get stored in the memory without taking much time of yours.

For a normal user it is advisable to perform defragmentation once in a month. When you experience problems while saving a word document or an image file, fragmentation might have occurred and it means that you need to check for fragmented segments in your memory.

How do we perform defragmentation?

To perform defragmentation is not a task at all. You can easily do it even if you are not a computer expert. A lot of defragmentation tools are available within the operating system you use. Windows comes with a built in Disk Defragmenter. If you need advanced functionality, you can also use Auslogics Disk Defrag or O&O, both of which can be downloaded free of cost.

When you use Disk Defragmenter for Windows, you just have to follow some simple steps. You’ll find the application in your start menu’s programs. Just start the application and then you’ll find the option to analyze your disk and see which of the files are already defragmented and which of them need defragmentation. Here is a step by step tutorial to defragment your hard drive using the built in defragmenter.