Steps I Take
When My Computer Is Slow

By Joe Waynick

When my computer is slow one of the first things I check is the file fragmentation on my hard disk.

In fact, I check for disk fragmentation on a regular basis because it's very difficult to run a home based computer business whey your computer is running slow.

So my first priority is to fix my computer.

Over time, as you use your computer on a daily basis, you're constantly creating and deleting files. During the course of manipulating all those files they become "fragmented."

Files fragment because they're rarely saved on your hard disk in one contiguous physical space. This is especially true of very large files.

Large files are usually broken up into many smaller file fragments spread out all over your hard disk with pointers to each other that tells your computer where one fragment ends and another begins.

Why Is Fragmentation Bad?

File fragmentation slows down your computer because in order to access the data contained in your files your computer has to piece together all the different fragments to display it on your screen.

The more fragmented your files, the longer it takes your computer to piece them together into useful information and your computer runs slow.

If you've never defragmented your hard disk then your data files can be broken into so many little pieces that your computer seemingly crawls along at a snails pace.

PC speed optimization is critically important for Internet booksellers. Keep your computer fully optimized by defragging your hard disk monthly.

That's very bad for business. And that's why when my computer is slow I check for file fragmentation as a possible culprit.

What you want is for your files to be stored in contiguous physical blocks of space on your hard disk to speed up computer access to data on your drive.

Analyzing Your Hard Disk

You can make your computer faster yourself without going to a local computer repair shop and spending a lot of money.

The first step I take to make my computer faster is to back up my data! You never want to perform a quick computer fix without a recent backup in case something goes wrong.

The next step is to find out how severely your hard disk is defragmented, or if it's even defragmented at all.

In Windows XP when my computer is slow I click "Start," then "All Programs," then "Accessories," then I click "Disk Defragmenter."

Once the Disk Defragmenter program starts, you'll see a button that says "Analyze." Click that button and wait for the program to tell you if your disk requires defragmentation or not.

The program can run several minutes to several hours depending on how badly your files are fragmented. So relax, go find something else to do but check back with your computer every 30 minutes to see if it's done analyzing.

Defragging Your Hard Disk

When the defrag program is finished analyzing your hard disk it'll tell you if you need to run the defragmentation utility.

If the results tell you that your hard disk needs defragmentation, all you have to do is click the "Defragment" button. That's one way how I speed up my pc.

Again, defragmentation can take several hours to complete. So it's best to check on the status of your computer every hour to see if it's complete. I've learned that waiting for the defrag program is a lot better than waiting to get work done if my computer is slow.

What the program is doing is pulling all the different file fragments found all over your hard disk and arranging them into contiguous blocks of physical space.

When each file can be found in one physical area on your hard disk, your computer is able to find and access that data much faster.

Now You're Cooking!

After your hard disk has been properly defragged, you should see a response time improvement from 5% - 50% faster than before when your computer is slow.

Even a 5% improvement in computer optimization may be fast enough to reduce some of the stress you feel while using your computer.

If your hard disk wasn't very fragmented then you may not see much difference at all. That's why I run the analyzer before going through the trouble of defragmenting my hard disk when my computer is slow.

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