Disk Defragmenter

Disk Defragmenter is one of the applications that hasn’t been changing much over the years. Unlike other applications that were modified, Disk Defragmenter was simplified to a bare minimum. You no longer have menus or the colored graphs showing you how the data is arranged on your hard drive. The application offers only two options: “Defragment now” and “Modify schedule”. Even though some people will miss the old interface and the configuration features, others will welcome the change. One thing is for sure – working with the Disk Defragmenter is easier than ever.

In this article I will go through the new interface and the available options and you will see for yourselves how easy it is to use the new Disk Defragmenter.

In Windows 10 you can find the disk defragment tool by first clicking the small search icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Then type: “defrag” and now click the “Defragment and Optimize Drives”. Since Vista, defragment has been automatic so if your hard disk needs defragmenting and you leave your computer open for a few hours, Windows should automatically defrag your drive.

To find Disk Defragmenter, go to Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools.

Disk Defragmenter

As mentioned earlier, the application offers only two options: “Modify Schedule” and “Defragment now”.

Disk Defragmenter

If you press the Defragment now button, the defragmentation process will start. Unfortunately you won’t see a progress bar nor an estimation about the time left until the end of the process. You just have to wait until it finishes. This is why I recommend you to do this during the night or when you go to work and the computer is not being used.

If you want to cancel the process, just press the Cancel defragmentation button.

Disk Defragmenter

If you want to schedule automatic defragmentations, first click on Modify schedule.

Disk Defragmenter

In the scheduling window choose the frequency, the day and the time when the automatic defragmentation should start. For most people, it should be enough to run the defragmentation once per month.

Related articles:
What is new in the Disk Defragmenter from Windows Vista SP1
Defragment your hard drive from the Command Prompt
Benchmarking the Disk Defragmenter
Disk Cleanup

Recommended articles:
Add Defragment to the Right-Click Menu for a Drive
Disk Defragmenter FAQ

38 thoughts on “Disk Defragmenter”

  1. I think its the least used
    I think its the least used system utility. Most users arent even aware that such a utility exists and what it can do to improve performance. Perhaps ‘light’ users may not find a difference, but anyone who uses the PC substantially will notice a good improvement in keeping the drives free from fragmentation. I recently helped a friend cleanout a drive that was choked and entirely red with fragments, he hasnt run the utility for months (after all the music movie downloads) and complains that it behaves as if its afflicted with some psychomotor disease.

  2. Automatic defrag is good
    Automatic defrag is theroretically excellent; it’s just that Microsoft did a lousy job of writing this defragger which doesn’t defrag properly. I mean, why would you want to waste time and go through the trouble of running a defrag manually or scheduling one for a period where the PC may or may not be in use. Instead, a properly designed smart automatic defragmenter such as seen on enterprise networks, reduces the workload of IT personnel, yet provides excellent results even on busy servers. No reason why this shouldn’t be applicable for home systems either, since desktop computing power is cheap and plentiful these days.

  3. Well M$ and Diskeeper do
    Well M$ and Diskeeper do have an agreement between themselves and the engine for vista defrag is from diskeeper. If you wish better control then buy Diskeeper 2008, it was just realesed and it is much improved. I have DK 2008 Pro Premier.

  4. I really liked the previous
    I really liked the previous interface, for I knew how much time was left until it finished. It took me more than 12 hours to defragment my vista PC.

    • needs to estimate when it will finish
      yes, i agree , a simple interface is fine, but its un acceptable that it wont estimate when it will finish;seems to always take many hours and why change anyway?..

    • Thanks for the info…
      I couldn’t figure out why my defrag wouldn’t finish, but I usually turn the machine off at night, so I suppose it never DID finish… I’ll just leave it on for a couple of days and hope something results. 😉

  5. No Status for time remaining
    Windows XP allowed you to view the status of the Disk Defragmenter. I never took the time it does on Vista, and Vista does not have the status capabilities. This needs to be corected. I have been Defragmenting now for 4 hous, with no idea if its working, hung up or how much longer for completetion.

  6. disk defragmenter vista
    I echo some of above. Sceduling is no good as most of us switch off our computers a lot of the time. XP was informative, simple and user friendly re disk defrag. I am now having to leave laptop computer ( with vista) on after having clicked defrag as there is no way of me knowing if the disk needs it and no way of knowing how much progres the process has made. Would love to ditch vista for this and many other resaons but my new laptop came with it and thank god I have desktop with Xp so that I can use IE to troubleshoot Vista

  7. Vista definately needs to
    Vista definately needs to add a status of progress of defrag.. this is insane, i have been defragging for about three hours now and have no idea how much longer it will take. Vista SERIOUSLY needs to correct this issue

      I bought a new laptop a couple of months ago. As i now know it had Vista on it, god i miss my xp. I have left my defrag running all night for 2 nights running and its still running the next morning, is it ever going to get through the programme? I expect it will all get sorted out in the future, but what about now. I have tried downloading programmes to speed up defrag, but the downloads dont work, security reasons i gather.
      Regards, Keith.

  8. defragmenter not working
    I personally find the simplicity appealing, however for some reason it’s stopped working for me. I run the program and am prompted to give it permission to continue, which I do, but the window no longer appears! Any sollutions?

    • defragmenter not working
      “I personally find the simplicity appealing, however for some reason it’s stopped working for me. I run the program and am prompted to give it permission to continue, which I do, but the window no longer appears! Any sollutions?”
      Sun, 02/10/2008 – 14:31 — Anonymous (not verified)

      Same thing happens to me – anyone got any answers on how to fix this????

  9. defrag
    I try to run disk defrag as my laptop says i need to. I starts to run…. then about 5seconds it goes back to the first screen “You should defrag now” ANY IDEAS?

  10. vista defrag
    the new vista defragmenter is a load of rubbish. aside from the fact that xp version was more visually appealin, it gave u an indication of when it was due to finish. additionally if the program freezes as it periodically does, u cannot tell as there isnt anythin movin that would stop. Sort it out Microsoft, ur supposed to be the technology “giants”!!!!

  11. Defrag is worse in Vista than XP
    I agree with everyone who liked XP’s version better. If it’s NOT broke, why fix it??? What was so hard about XP’s version? That we actually got to see what it was doing and how long it was taking? If someone doesn’t want to see that then why not have an option to see or not see progress and time remaining? I have no idea how long it is going to take when I defrag now. It seems to go on for HOURS. I prefer to see what it is doing, how long it is taking and how long it has left to finish. XP’s version didn’t need to change (except maybe make it faster). If anything the new defragmenter is much, MUCH slower. It’s frustrating because I don’t know what it’s doing or why it is taking so long. I don’t even defrag much anymore because of all these problems. So I’m sure my computer has problems it didn’t with XP because of this. Defragging both my computers for about 5 hours now……….no end in sight…………..

  12. Defrag
    I agree with the other posted comments that Vista definitely needs to display status of the defrag. My defrag request has been running for 14 hours and I have no idea if it’s really working or not. I’ve had it scheduled to automatically run once weekly, though I’ve never seen anything to indicate it’s running at the scheduled time. If it has been running as scheduled (and that’s a big IF), then why is it taking so long to run this defrag now?

    • I have the same problem.
      I have the same problem. It’s supposed to run once weekly, but I have never seen it run and when I try manually defragging it is done in 2 seconds! Is it supposed to be like this. I want to see if it even did the job. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and just downloaded a different defrag program which is better than vista – at least it’s showing me progress.

    I don’t know how they expect you to know if you have completed defraging if you can not see the data graphs. Sometimes you have to run this program several times before all is good but w/out the colored graphs how do you know how many times? This is a classic case of “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”!

  14. Vista Skipping Free Space Consolidation

    I want to consolidate free space on my c: drive. I bought Perfectdisk to get better defragmentation than Windows Vista provides. However, Perfectdisk skips over the Vista program files because of a Microsoft lock, leaving 43% of my drive wasted by lack of free space consolidation.

    When is Microsoft going to issue a solution to the Vista program problem?

    Does any defragmenting program solve this problem?

    The Windows Vista defragmentation program does not do a comprehensive job. I am another user who hates not being able to see a visual of fragmentation analysis.

    [email protected]

  15. Defragmenter
    I agree with the other people. I want to see what the progress is on the defragmenter. It has been there since windows 95!! Simple is if there is information, frustration and lack of control when you don’t know what is going on. Can they put a patch in so those who want to see the progress can do so?

  16. Choose which drives to defrag
    The tutorial doesn’t mention that you can choose which drives to defrag. With Vista Home Premium, in the Defrag window I have 3 options: Modify schedule, Select volumes, Defrag now. Perhaps not all Vista versions have the option to choose which drives to defrag.

    I really like the new defrag options where I can set the computer to defrag weekly and not worry about it. I do miss seeing the colored status bars and especially the report at the end. Windows Help says, “Advanced users can use the command line tool Defrag.exe to generate detailed reports and perform other advanced tasks.” I’m not an advanced user and I’d like to see step-by-step details how to generate a report. The subject of reports (detailed analysis) is mentioned here: https://www.wintuts.com/Defragment-your-hard-drive-from-the-Command-Prompt

    Windows Help says, “Disk Defragmenter might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk. You can still use your computer during the defragmentation process.” Defraging took me about 6 hours when I manually ran it. Since you can continue working on the computer while it’s defragging, it doesn’t much matter how long it takes and I don’t really need to know how much time it has left.

    Great tutorial!

    • Option available in SP1
      You choose which drives to defrag only if you have SP1 installed. We are working on an article about this as we speak.
      Will be published in the next few days.

  17. Disk Defragmenter
    I agree with most of the above, having no idera when my disk defragmenter will finish it work is absolutely rubbish. It will simply stop me from defragmenting unless I absolutely have to. As it doesn’t give any information at all I guess I’ll never know if I have to use it or not.

    As for buying an aftermarket disk defragmenter why should I have to. Vista cost me so much it should improve upon previous versions not become more primitive and user unfriendly.

  18. I would also like to throw
    I would also like to throw in my two cents and say I hate, hate, HATE anything that doesn’t give me feedback. At the very least, you need to indicate that _something_ is being done. This is an inconvenience when the defragger is working properly, and infuriating when it doesn’t. For the record, mine has never worked. No matter how I approach it, I just can’t get it to do the job it was designed for. I’ve had the window disappear on me, the DOS command return having accomplished nothing, and the program start up successfully and attempt to defrag only to come back 30 seconds later with the same message that, “[my] file system performance can be improved.” Fantastic. When the Vista team figures out exactly how the XP team accomplished that, roll out a patch. In the mean time, I’ll keep trying to debug the problem blind.

  19. defrag dont work
    my husband has windows vista on a brand new laptop, had a few problems so did a defrag, once started dont no how far it got but the laptop shut down and gave an error message and then booted into safe mode. anybody got any ideas why it does that its done it twice now.

  20. Better options than the built-in tool
    The best freeware defrag program IMHO is JkDefrag. It even has a screen saver mode. If you combine this with the boot time defrag capability of UltraDefrag, you have a complete open-source solution.

    The best professional defrag product is the relatively new Puran Defrag 5.1 product, which offers boot time defrag, automatic defrag, or manual defrag. It isn’t bloatware, and is unobtrusive but highly effective.

  21. even 14 hours…
    I started my disk defragment from 11pm,
    I left my laptop for the defragment…. it is still defragmenting when I came back from work after 1pm…
    what the hell is that?
    Is it possible to defragment for even a day to complete ?

  22. defrag… another MS disaster
    Wow, just when i thought windows couldn’t get any worse. No status during defrag. It’s been 5+ hours and who knows how much longer… days? weeks? months? Is it even doing anything? What I wouldn’t give for a mac right now. Microsoft is a horrible company. I want my money back.

  23. Use Defrag.exe until Microsoft fixes Vista defragger
    Hi Folks,

    Microsoft hosed Disk Defrag with its new Vista operating system. It does not work and merely loops back to the beginning when executed from Windows, as far as I can tell.

    For those itching to defrag their volumes and don’t want to wait until the Redmond geeks get this one fixed, I recommend using the command line alternative. Here is a link to a page on TechNet that explains the syntax necessary to run it from Command Prompt:


  24. Vista’s Defragmenter, like
    Vista’s Defragmenter, like most things on Vista, is a horrible downgrade. No status bar or indicator of any kind leaves you wondering whether or not Vista is hung up, and whether or not it’s telling you the truth when it says your file system needs improvement. Not to mention the fact that it takes 10x longer on Vista to degrag your hard drive. I’ve managed to make it through the process one time. When it finished in the morning as I woke up, I restarted the computer, and out of curiousity I decided to start disk defragmenter again. And it still said “Your file system performance could be improved, it is recommended you defragment your hard drive now.” Or something to that effect. So a 5 hour defrag that apparently doesn’t do anything? Either that or Vista is lying to me when it says that my system needs defragged. But we have no way of knowing which is which. WHY, you ask? Because there’s no freaking status bar! I wasn’t really a big fan of XP’s disk defragmenter when it came out, but it was 30x better than Vista’s version.

    Isn’t the idea of upgrading your computer with a newer OS to make the computer run better? So far, Vista has been a huge let down. Disk defragmenter doesn’t work, errors keep popping up, my games all have issues running. Even the ones designed specifically for Vista. I have had to use workarounds for COD 4, COD 5, Grand Theft Auto IV, etc. etc..

    And these aren’t normal workaround either. In one of them, I had to change the freaking sound settings to output at 16bits 48000Hz just to get the game to work. In a different one, Vista kept saying my disc wasn’t in the drive, when it was. And another of them just won’t work at all. And on top of it all, I still can’t get my microphone to work right with Vista. People can barely hear me, and I have the volume cranked all the way up with the mic boosted to the max.

    I know for a fact that I’m not the only one suffering from these problems. And there are people out there that have it far worse than I do with Vista. Only reason I haven’t thrown the hard drive out the window is because I have enough experience with computers to know how to work around most of the issues that arise. But some of them are new even to me.

    Anyway, enough ranting about Vista for now, I guess…..Bill Gates should shove it where the sun doesn’t shine…

    Vista should be trashed. It never should have been released in the first place. This is worse than Millenium Edition. And quite frankly, new computers being released should stick with XP. If I could get Vista off of my computer, I would. Unfortunately it’s designed to be hard as you know what to uninstall. And I am not paying Microsoft another $80 to DOWNGRADE to XP. This freaking computer came with Vista because I didn’t get to choose my OS.

  25. Defrag not working?
    I have Vista HomePremium SP1 installed with the defrag utility scheduled to run every Mon at 2AM. At the scheduled time the task scheduler will claim it is running but I can find no evidence of this in the task manager process list. If I hit the Run button in task scheduler I also find no evidence of the process. If I run defrag from a command prompt I will then find the defrag process in the task manager process list.
    Two, when I return to the computer the next day after work I will open the task scheduler and under the defrag task History tab I will find that the defrag utility is claimed to have run continuously for the last 14 hours, only stopping because I moved the mouse. I will also find the computer in sleep mode. I have always heard that the HD is turned off in sleep mode so I cannot believe that defrag was running while the computer was asleep.
    I’ve also heard that Vista defrag will only run with lowest priority. Could it be that every slight tick of computer activity will cause defrag to restart from the beginning, effectively never allowing it to complete it’s work?
    Ciprian, could you please use my email to respond?
    Thank you, Dave

  26. This is not acceptable M$
    Without a graph, how do you know if your page file (swap file) (which is in Green) has data before and after it? With out a graph how do you know if your page file is fragmented? I can not afford to buy extra tools, like diskkeeper, to maintain my systems. This is CRAP. We pay way too much $ for this average OS, and for what we pay for it, IT SHOULD COME WITH EVERYTHING WE NEED OUT OF THE BOX!

  27. Vista SLOW Defragmentation
    It has been over 12 hours now defraging! I miss the visual of seeing the fragmented files in red. It is more satisfying to see it! Should I cancel it or let it do it’s thing??? I deleted about 56GB of stuff off of my 298GB external hard drive (ie. Autocad program and such). Will it damage the external drive for being on so long? It’s getting quite hot.

  28. tips before defragmenting
    before defragmenting your hard disk, run first the disk cleanup utily, to delete all unnecessary files(temp,cookies,offline webpages, recycle bin) in this way, when you run defragmentation, unnecessary files will not be included.. you can also use CCleaner utility, download it on cnet…

  29. disk defragmenter
    Mine constantly says next scheduled run time: NEVER event though I have set a time to run the defrag. Going into the task scheduler to set up general, action, trigger,etc. is difficult and confusing. I finally got it set up so I thought and went back into the disk defragmenter and it said never again. I rreset the days and times and its locked in until I click out of the program and then I go back in and it says never again. Can’t this be fixed

  30. disk defrag
    how do I do a disk defrag on my laptop? I am not good at computers I only use it for school purposes, it is running slow and freezing at times while i am in the middle of labs and assignments

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