The Optimize Drives Utility in Windows 10 allows you to optimize the performance of Hard Drive and Disk Drives attached to your computer by defragmenting them. You will find below more information about this and the steps to Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10.
Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10
Over a period of time, the files stored on the Hard Drive of your computer become unorganized and get scattered around. This is a common occurrence in traditional Hard Disk Drives and leads to an overall slowdown of the operating system and programs on your computer.
When the Data on the Hard Disk of your computer becomes unorganized and fragmented, your computer ends up doing more work than usual, as it has to check multiple places on the Hard Drive in order to find things.
Hence, the need to periodically Defragment Hard Drive on your computer using Optimize Drives Utility, as available in Windows 10.
What Does Optimize Drives Do
When you Defragment Hard Disk in Windows 10 using the Optimize Drives App, the scattered files on the Hard Drive get re-arranged in an orderly fashion, occupying contiguous storage locations on the Hard Drive.
This orderly arrangement of data on the Hard Drive minimizes the time required to read and write files, resulting in an overall increase in the data transfer rate on your computer.
After running the Optimize Drives utility on your computer, you may notice improved startup times and quick opening of files and applications on your computer.
When to Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10
Windows 10 should automatically run the Optimize Drives Utility on your computer and periodically Defragment the Hard Disk. However, this may not always happen and it is a good idea to make sure that the Hard Disk Drive on your computer is not too fragmented.
While there is no set rule on when to Defragment Hard Drives, it is a good practice to keep the fragmentation percentage of Hard Drive to a low number (5 to 7%).
Also, it is time to Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10, whenever you notice a sluggishness in operating system and applications used on your computer.
Do Not Defragment SSD Drives
Unlike traditional Hard Drives, SSD Drives have a different pattern of File arrangement and do not need to be defragmented. Also, SSD drives have high read/write speeds and do not slow down over a period of time like the traditional hard drives.
In case System Restore is Enabled on your Computer, Windows 10 automatically defragments SSD drives whenever it becomes necessary. You can leave this setting as-is and trust Windows 10 to do whatever is good for your computer.
However, there is no need to periodically defragment SSD Drives as they have a limited number of read/write cycles and defragmenting can wear them down and decrease their life span.
How to Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10
The fastest way to access Optimize Drives Utility in Windows 10 is to type defrag in the Windows 10 search bar and then click on Defragment and Optimize Drives option in the “Best Match” section of search results.
In case, you prefer the traditional route, you can Defragment Hard Drive in Windows 10 using the Control Panel.
1. Open the Control Panel on your Windows Computer.
2. On the Control Panel screen, make sure you are in “Category” view and then click on System and Security option (See image below)
3. On System and Security Screen, click on Defragment and optimize your drives option located under Administrative Tools (See image below)
4. On the next screen, select the Hard Drive that you want to defragment and click on the Optimize button to start the process of Defragmenting the selected Disk Drives (See image below)
Note: Hold the Ctrl key, in case you want to select multiple partitions.
5. Patiently wait for Windows 10 to complete the process of Defragmenting the selected Hard Drive.
Note: You can do other things on your computer and allow the Defragmentation process to run in the background.
Analyze Disk Drives in Windows 10
Instead of directly clicking on the Optimize button, you also have the option of Analyzing the Hard Drive by clicking on the Analyze button (See image above).
In case you click on Analyze, the Optimize Drives Utility will analyze the selected drive and you will be able to see the fragmentation percentage of the selected Hard Drive.
Based on this information, you can decide whether or not to Defragment the selected Disk Drive. In general, it is advisable that you Defragment Hard Disk in Windows 10 whenever the fragmentation status goes above 10%.
Schedule Disk Defragmentation in Windows 10
By default, the Disk Defragmentation process is set to run Weekly on your computer. However, the Optimize Drives App provides you with the option to set this process on Daily and Monthly basis.
In order to modify the Schedule of Disk Drive Optimization on your computer, click on the Change settings button located in Schedule optimization section.
On the next screen, you can choose from Daily, Weekly or Monthly options by clicking on the down-arrow (2) in Frequency section (See image below).
Also, check the option for Run on a schedule (1) to make sure that Scheduled Optimization of Disk Drives is turned ON. Clicking on the Choose (3) button allows you to select the Drives that you want to include in the Defragmentation schedule on the next screen.
As mentioned above, you should not include SSD drives in the Optimization Schedule. Hence, make sure that SSD drives (if any) are not included in the optimization schedule.