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26 Apr 2011 07:26 | defragmentation win7 windows

Back in the days of Windows XP — that ancient operating system that will be 10 years old this October, and which Microsoft officially no longer supports — we had the ability to defragment our hard drives using a handy tool found in the Start menu.

Fragmentation (in the computer world) can be a big problem - "[it] is a phenomenon in which storage space is used inefficiently, reducing storage capacity and in most cases performance."1

In other words, over time as your computer reads from and writes to the hard drive, things end up all over the place. A single file could be split up into multiple parts, all stored on separate parts of the hard drive. When it comes to re-using this file, the computer must read in each part of the file and combine them - which takes a long time. Defragmenting a hard drive essentially brings files back together again, giving the computer a much-needed performance boost and potentially making it last a few more years before you need to buy a new one.

Generally, there is also storage space to be gained by defragmenting, but as this is a side-effect of how files are actually stored on a hard drive, and isn't really the topic of this blog post, I won't go into details about that.

So, back to the topic.

One of my favourite features of Disk Defragmenter in Windows XP was the way it graphically illustrated how fragmented your files are. Here's an image for those of you (including myself) that no longer have XP installed on any of your machines, courtesy of LinuxForTravelers.com:

windows-defrag.png

Graphical representation before and after defragmentation of a hard drive.

Unfortunately, I was saddened to find that this feature was removed from Windows Vista, and subsequently also does not exist in Windows 7. Launching the Disc Defragmenter tool in Windows 72 displays a dialog like this:

windows-7-defrag.png

No pretty graphs to show the amount of defragmentation :(

As I regularly defragment my hard drive, I've currently only got 6% fragmentation. I'll make that 0% shortly, but first, I want to see those glorious fragmentation graphs!

Luckily, I found out a way to do just that earlier today. Introducing DiskView, downloadable for free from Microsoft's website. And it does so much more than just displaying a graph!

diskview.png

DiskView in action, showing my 6% fragmentation as a graph.

Choose your hard drive volume, click the Refresh button, and wait a minute or two for it to generate the graph.

DiskView allows you to:

  • See a graphical representation of your hard drive fragmentation (just like Windows XP)
  • Zoom in to individual clusters and click on them, to find out which file is stored there!
  • Select a file from your hard drive, and DiskView will show you which clusters it is stored at!

Now you can have the best of both worlds: Windows 7 with an XP-style fragmentation graph! :D


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26 Sep 2013 10:20

IT's great. Thanks for sharing this!


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26 Sep 2013 10:34

No problem, glad I could help Prince!


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09 Nov 2013 05:06

This is good tool.. Am lookin for long time..


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09 Nov 2013 08:22

Glad it helped you also.

I thought this might be a bit of a niche, but seems quite a few people found this useful. Most people that come here probably don't post.


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27 Feb 2014 18:39

Just what I've been looking for, wish it worked.
Comes up Out of Memory as soon as I try to run it on my 1tb C Drive. Even Run as Administrator Task Manager says Not Responding.
Tried looking for a later version on ms.com/downloads but it's not listed.
I'll leave it running over dinner and see.


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09 May 2014 10:33

Hm, I haven't used it for a while Bob so I can't comment on whether or not it still works.

Are you testing on Windows 7 or Windows 8?


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07 Sep 2014 00:34

thanks, I miss being able to watch it as it defrags but this is a start


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30 Mar 2015 15:02

i use defraggler, it's made by piriform, it's nice…


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26 Jul 2015 06:53

Thanks a bunch man ;) Seeing Win7s defragmentation UI always made me sad. Watching the pixels be moved where they belong was always fun back in the XP-days. Alas, Win7 does defragmentation in the background so there isn't much to see anyway (1% fragmentation on my win7-drive after 2 years -.-)


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26 Jul 2015 23:42

Never thought a high percentage of fragmentation was a good thing =) But when you want to see this, you want it a bit higher!


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10 Dec 2016 02:15

running it made me feel sad aboit Windows 10


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10 Dec 2016 02:20

Hello there,

I haven't tested this on Windows 10 but it should work fine. Did it work for you?


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07 Sep 2017 08:51

nice,but how to get the real defrag from w.xp on w 7,9,etc….?


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