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How to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 10

Have you ever tried to find a file in a disorganized filing cabinet? It can take some time. The same thing can happen when your computer's drive becomes fragmented. But you can keep all of the folder and files on your computer organized with regular defragmentation. Here's how to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 10.

How to defragment and optimize your drive in Windows 10

There are two (2) types of drives used in computers, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD). The type of drive you have determines whether you need (or want) to defragment and optimize it. To find out what type of drive(s) you have, just follow the standard instructions below. The Optimize Drives screen will tell you what type of drive(s) you currently have in your computer.

The issue of drive fragmentation actually stems from the early '80's when Microsoft needed an OS and they bought Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS) and renamed it MS-DOS. At that time, HDD's were the only type of drive available and they are still the de facto standard in the industry. And they do need to be defragmented and optimized on a regular basis.

Now SSD's are different in that there are no moving parts inside, just memory chips. So when your computer reads and writes to it, the data is going back to the exact same location on the drive. Now you can defrag and optimize a SSD, but it is not recommend since SSD's have limited read / write cycles and any program that intensively accesses the SSD could shorten the life span of the drive. Microsoft started adding support for SSD's in Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 with the Trim command. Since the low level operation of SSD's is different from HDD's, the Trim command handles deletes / format requests.

You can verify Trim is enabled by typing the following into an Administrative Command Prompt:

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

If the command returns a 0 then Trim is enabled. If it returns a 1, then it is not. To enable Trim, just type the following into the Administrative Command Prompt:

fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0

Standard drive defragment and optimization in Windows 10

standard drive defragment and optimization in Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer (left-click the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar or left-click on the Start Menu and select File Explorer).
  2. In the left-side column left-click on This PC.
  3. In the right-side column right-click on the drive you want to check and select Properties.
  4. Left-click on the Tools tab.
  5. Under Optimize and defragment drive left-click on Optimize.
  6. Left-click on the drive(s) you want to optimize.
  7. Left-click on Analyze (Analyze all) or Optimize (Optimize all)

Advanced drive defragment and optimization in Windows 10

advanced drive defragment and optimization in Windows 10

  1. Open a Command Prompt with Administrative privileges (click here for instructions)
  2. Use the following command line syntax(s) and parameter(s) to run DEFRAG:

defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> [<task(s)>] [/H] [/M [n] | [/U] [/V]] [/I n]
Where <task(s)> is omitted (traditional defrag), or as follows: /A | [/D] [/K] [/L] | /O | /X
Or, to track an operation already in progress on a volume: defrag <volume> /T

Examples:
defrag C: /U /V
defrag C: D: /M
defrag C:\mountpoint /A /U
defrag /C /H /V

Value Description
/A Perform analysis on the specified volumes.
/C Perform the operation on all volumes.
/D Perform traditional defrag (this is the default).
/E Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.
/H Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).
/I n Tier optimization would run for at most n seconds on each volume.
/K Perform slab consolidation on the specified volumes.
/L Perform retrim on the specified volumes.
/M n Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background. At most n threads optimize the storage tiers in parallel.
/O Perform the proper optimization for each media type.
/T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.
/U rint the progress of the operation on the screen.
/V Print verbose output containing the fragmentation statistics.
/X Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.

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