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How Often Should You Defrag Your Hard Drive?

Sep 27, 2016

Deciding how often to defrag your hard drive depends on how you use your computer. If you load, save and add to files on a regular basis, your system might require more frequent defragging than someone who only turns on their computer every few days.

Most people should defrag their hard drives about once a month, but your computer might need it more frequently. Windows users can use the built-in disk defragmenter utility on their computers. Run a system scan, then follow the tool's device. It will tell you whether or not your hard drive requires defragging.

Should You Defrag on a Set Schedule?

If your operating system allows it, you might want to set a defragging schedule. This prevents you from forgetting to run basic maintenance on your computer. However, defragging your hard drive when the disk features little fragmentation could cause damage to your machine.

Since the defragging process forces the hard drive to relocate and consolidate files, it puts stress on the hardware. This might shorten your hard drive's lifespan or reduce its speed and accuracy. For the best results, avoid defragging unless your hard drive shows significant fragmentation in the first place.

If you decide to schedule your defragmentation, choose a time when you won't need your computer. If you leave your machine running overnight, for example, you might schedule maintenance for 2 a.m. when you're sure to be asleep. Check the computer in the morning to verify the utility ran as directed.