Perhaps you don’t defrag your hard drive anyway, it’s kind of a geeky thing and is supposed to speed up file access by collecting fragments of files together in one place on your drive. Trouble is, many articles on the net I’ve read don’t make it clear that you don’t really have to defrag your drive if you’re running Windows 7 or Vista. Why? Well it’s not because these operating systems do anything differently in terms of writing data to you disk, it’s just that defragmentation is automatically scheduled to run in Vista and Windows 7 so you don’t have to bother about it. But, strangely, a lot of people seem unaware of this and are running third party defraggers to duplicate what Windows is already set up to do.
I talked about Windows Task Scheduler in my last post and mentioned some of the tasks scheduled to run in the background. To check if disk defragmentation is scheduled on your system, go to the Windows orb at the bottom left of your screen, and type schedule in the search box. Task Scheduler should appear in the list so click on that. Click the little triangle next to Task Scheduler Library to open the subfolders. Then click the triangle against Microsoft and then against Windows and you should see a folder called Defrag in there. Click on that and you should see something like this in the top half of the screen:
From this you can see that, by default, the task ScheduledDefrag is queued to run at 1am every Wednesday. Because I power my PC off at night, it rarely runs at that time, so you can see it actually completed at 12.56pm that day and is scheduled to run again next Wednesday. We can learn more under the tabs in the lower half of the screen. Under the first tab (General), we see that it will run whether the user is logged on or not and will run with the highest privileges. Under the Triggers tab, we see that the status of the task is Enabled. The Actions tab shows the location of the defrag program that will run at the scheduled time. The Conditions tab is interesting and mine shows:
So we can see that defrag will run only after the PC has been idle for 3 minutes and it will wait for this to happen for 7 days, that is until defrag is scheduled to run again the following week. Defragging will stop if the computer ceases to be idle. So looking back at the first screenshot above tells me that defrag ran and finished when I was taking lunch because it was idle for long enough then for the task to complete. The Settings tabs shows that the task will run as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed.
Finally, when I launched Auslogics Disk Defrag program the day after the Windows defrag task had run, without running Defrag in this program, the graphical representation of allocated/fragmented files was:
Defragmented sectors would be shown in red, and there are none, so no defragging is necessary. So next time you go to run your PC maintenance routine on a Windows 7 or Vista PC or laptop, check if Windows Defrag is scheduled to run, if not enable it and forget having to do this task again.