How to Clean and Defrag Your Computer

Computer hardware and software relies on numerous data files to work properly. The computer saves these files to empty portions of its hard disk drive. Over time, the files get distributed over the disk unevenly in a process called fragmentation. This can slow down the computer’s speed and reduce system performance. You can improve the efficiency and performance of your computer by using two pre-installed tools. The Disk Cleanup utility automatically removes unnecessary computer files, and the Disk Defragmentation tool cleans up and streamlines the file system.

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Boost performance with the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmentation tools.

Step

Click “Start” in the desktop taskbar. Type “Disk Cleanup” into the search box at the bottom of the Start menu. Click “Disk Cleanup” in the search results list to launch the Disk Cleanup tool.

Step

Select the computer hard disk drive that you want to clean up in the list of available drives. Click the “OK” button.

Step

Click the “Disk Cleanup” tab, then select each checkbox next to the file types that you want to delete. You can safely remove all file types in the list. Click the “OK” button, then click “Delete Files.” Wait for the clean-up process to commence. You can now defrag your computer’s hard drive.

Step

Click “Start” in the taskbar. Type “Disk Defragmenter” into the search box, then click “Disk Defragmenter” in the search results list.

Step

Select the computer hard disk drive that you want to defragment in the “Current Status” section. Click “Analyze Disk.” If prompted, enter your Windows administrator password. Wait for Windows to finish scanning and analyzing the hard disk drive.

Step

Look at the percentage of fragmentation in the “Last Run” column of the analysis results. If fragmentation is more than 10 percent of the disk, click the “Defragment Disk” button. This process can take several hours, depending upon the size of the disk and the amount of data stored.