^ Back to Top

Advanced Computer Systems

Networking, Help Desk, & Custom Software

Let's Get Windows Organized!

Does your computer just seem slower than it was when you bought it a year ago?  It probably is.  Sometimes the computer just seems slower when compared to newer computers.  Often it is really slower because the drive has become fragmented, the swap file is not contiguous, too many TSR programs have been loaded, new software over-burdens computer memory, or a variety of other things that can turn a decent computer into an over-sized paper weight.

We’re going to concern ourselves with a “fragmented” drive.  Windows uses something called a “virtual memory” file.  This file grows and shrinks as you use your computer.  Data can become scattered because of this growing and shrinking as time goes by.  This scattering of data requires the computer to work harder by wandering around the hard drive collecting the various pieces it needs.

There is a built-in utility you can run that will reorganize the information on your computer in optimum order for Windows to run efficiently. Beware, if you haven’t run this before it could take an hour or more to run. It would be best to begin the process before going to lunch or at the end of the day, allowing it to run during the night.


Because maintenance utilities push the computer and the hard drive to work harder than they normally do, it is possible (although unlikely) that existing hard drive problems might be uncovered during their operation. Microsoft recommends that you ensure you have a backup of important information before running disk utilities.  We agree.  Be sure any important information you have on the computer is backed up before running any disk maintenance programs!


How To:

1)      Close all open windows.

2)      Close as many tasks as possible

·        Right Click on icons near the clock on your start bar.

·        Close or Disable as many as you can.

3)      Double-Click on “My Computer”.

4)      Locate your “C:” drive and Right-Click on it.

5)      Click on “Properties”.

6)      Click on “Tools” tab.

7)      Click on the “Defragment Now” button.

Many people see a drastic improvement after running defragment while others see very little. Regardless, this is a good first step in improving the performance of your computer. If you have multiple drive on your system you may want to repeat the process for each drive.

Finally, if defragment continues to retry and finally can’t complete due to changes on the disk, it means there is some program is accessing the disk in the background.  The defragment can still be done with the computer running in “Safe Mode”, but that is beyond the scope of this document. If you need to try this then please read "Can't Defrag Or Scandisk? Try "Safe Mode".