How to Defrag a Dell Laptop Hard Drive

Correct me if I am wrong: your Dell starts to run slow or show some errors and you are told to defrag the hard drive as it would make your computer faster. Right?

Well, it’s absolutely right that disk defragmentation can help improve your system performance as Dell also claims this in a knowledge article. I want to say that a fragmented hard drive is just one of the many reasons out there that can lead to a slow Dell, and it’s tiny. Why? I’ll explain below.

Anyway, let’s jump right in.

Warning: this tutorial is for HDDs (hard disk drives) only, if you have replaced your Dell drive to an SSD (solid state drive), stop reading here as it would be just a waste of your time. Because due to the mechanism of how a solid state drive works, you don’t need to defrag it at all. Plus, Microsoft Windows has grayed out the function in some versions of Windows operating system.

Step by step tutorial: (on Windows 10, Windows 7 or 8 would be similar)

Step 1: go to “File Explorer”, find “This PC” from the left panel, click on it.

Step 2: here you’ll see a list of devices and drivers. Find the one that you want to defragment (for example, “Work (F:)” in my computer).

Step 3: right click and select “Properties” option, then move to the “Tools” tab.

Step 4: under “Optimize and defragment drive”, click “Optimize” button.

Step 5: next you’ll see all hard disk drives listed there along with “Current status” about how fragmented each drive is at this moment.

Step 6: highlight the drive you want to defrag, click “Analyze” first and then “Optimize”. Note: as I said, the defragmentation operation is for HDDs only, if you use SSDs, the “Optimize” option will be greyed out.

Why disk defragmentation is just a tiny performance booster?

For all Dell pcs that run under Windows operation system, Windows 7, or Windows 10, it doesn’t matter. Microsoft knew that fragmented hard drive is an issue, so all latest Windows OS has this feature called — “Scheduled optimization” (as you can find from the above screenshot). Basically, it automatically performs the defragmentation on a regular basis, depending on how often you want it to run. In my case, it’s weekly.

That’s why I said defragging is unlikely to give you a real performance boost, as usually you’ll find your hard drive with low percentage of fragmentation (in my case, all show 0%) — meaning no need to defrag at all.

How to really improve your Dell system performance?

Instead of me outlining all the alternatives here, simply check out homepage — how to speed up Dell for more solutions.

In case you want to dig into disk defragging and understand its benefits, here’s more information. Generally a Dell computer program must access various files on the hard disk every time it runs. If those files are spread out on opposite sides of the hard drive instead of put neatly, as they are supposed to be, your Dell will need to work extra hard and take extra time to access the information it needs. Disk defragmentation reorganizes the hard drive by gathering and organizing pieces of related data back together so that files are organized in a contiguous area. Once done, the Dell system can access files more efficiently and the Dell computer’s overall performance can be likely improved. By efficiently organizing all files and folders on a Dell, defragmenting will leave the computer’s free space in one big chunk. Learn more from this article.

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