How to Defrag Your Computer

By Steve Gregory

At first glance, Windows 8 -- unlike previous versions of the operating system -- seems to be missing the Disk Defragmenter. The utility, however, has not been removed from Windows 8 -- it is now called Optimize Drives. Similar to previous versions, Windows 8 automatically defragments your computer’s hard drive on a set schedule. However, if you suspect your computer is slowing down because of fragmentation, you can manually defragment your drive at any time by accessing the Optimize Drives utility.

Step 1

Press the "Windows" key; then type "Defragment."

Step 2

Select "Defragment and Optimize Your Drives" from the Results list to open the Optimize Drives utility.

Step 3

Choose the drive in the Status box that you want to optimize, then click the "Analyze" button. Windows runs a scan to determine the percentage of the drive that is fragmented.

Step 4

Check the Current Status column after the analysis is complete to determine if you need to optimize the drive. If the column shows that your hard drive is less than 10 percent fragmented, you don't need to run the optimization process.

Step 5

Click the "Optimize" button if you determine that your hard drive is too fragmented.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can change how often Windows automatically optimizes your drive by changing the settings in the Optimize Drives utility. Open the Optimize Drives utility, then select the "Change Settings" button. Use the available options to change the schedule. For example, click the "Frequency" drop-down box, then select "Daily" to optimize your drive every day.
  • The time it takes for the utility to complete the optimization process depends on how fragmented your drive is and its size.
  • You cannot optimize your drive if it is not formatted using the FAT, FAT32 or NTFS file system.
  • If your drive has an error, it may not appear in the Optimize Drives utility. You need to repair the drive before attempting to run the optimization process. Press the "Windows-X" keys to open the Quick Access menu, then select "File Explorer." Right-click on the drive that does not appear in the utility, then select "Properties." Select the "Tools" tab, then click the "Check" button in the Error Checking section.