What Does It Mean to Defragment a Hard Disk?

What does it mean to defragment a hard disk confused many computer users. Here we will explain what is disk defragmentation and how it works to speed up the hard drive.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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What is disk defragmentation?

Before learning what does it mean to defragment a hard disk, it is necessary to understand what is disk fragments. Disk fragmentation occurs when files or pieces of files get scattered throughout your disks. If the disk is heavily fragmented, there will not be enough contiguous space available to store extra files, and then the file will be broken up and stored in multiple locations on the disk. This causes the disk fragmentation, which will degrade the overall system performance.

To solve the fragmentation problem, the best way is to reorganize the data on the disk partitions so that the files are stored in as much contiguous space as possible.  The whole process is called disk defragmentation: searching the disk partition and moving data from one location to another one in such a manner that the files can be stored in a contiguous piece, instead of being scattered throughout multiple locations on the hard drive's partition.

Disk Defrag

Does defragging speed up hard drive?

From above, we know the disk fragments makes your hard disk do extra work when accessing the data, which can slow down your computer. The disk defragmentation is to rearrange the fragmented data so that the disk can work more efficiently when finding the data you want. In one word, this process is just like cleaning house for your Servers or PCs; it picks up all of the pieces of data that are spread across your hard drive and puts them back together again,neat and clean. So, it certainly can help speed up your hard drive.

How to defrag your hard drive in Windows?

Now that defragmenting the hard disk is very important to keep the disk partition running at its best, next we need to figure out how to defragment the hard drive. If you are using the Windows 7 or newer operating system, this task is very easy to do with the built-in defragmentation feature. Here, we take how to defrag a drive in Windows 11 computer as an example.

Step 1. In the Start menu's search bar, type ”defragment”, then click ”Defragment and Optimize Drives”.


Step 2. Then a window will open where you can see a list of your computer's various disk drives.

Step 3. Select the disk drive you want to optimize and click on “Optimize”. Then it will start analyze the fragments and reorganizing them. 

Change Settings

Besides, you can see there is a “Change Setting” button at the bottom of the window-”Scheduled optimization” section. Generally speaking, it is set to automatically defrag the selected drive on a weekly basis. If you want to adjust it, you can click on “Change Setting”. It provides three different frequency: daily, weekly and monthly. Choose one based on your requirements. Finally, click on “OK” to commit the changes.


If the schedule setting does not meet your needs well, for example, you want to automatically run the disk defrag at a specific time in every day, at every startup, at every logon, etc, you can turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It comes with the disk partition defrag, which allows you to set the automatic disk defrag time with the most flexibility. You can download the demo and have a try.

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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the drive you want to defrag, choose “Advanced” and select “Defrag Partition”.

Defrag Partition

Step 2. Then the Disk Defrag window will open. Here you can tick the target drive and click on “Schedule” to enter the “Schedule Setting” window.


Step 3. Tick the “Defrag” and you can choose from the given options.


Step 4. You can define the conditions in which you want to start the automatic disk defrag. Just click on “Conditions”.


Step 5. When everything is done, click “OK” to confirm your schedule settings.


After reading the above content, you should know what does it mean to defragment a hard disk. Also, we share effective ways to defrag a hard drive in Windows computer. If you want to do it with most ease and flexibility, the AOMEI Partition Assistant is a better choice. Besides the (schedule) disk/partition defrag, it also provides many other features to help manage disk partitions: migrate OS to SSD, 4k alignment, clone hard drive, convert MBR to GPT without deleting partitions, allocate free space from one partition to another, etc. To install and use such an amazing software on unlimited PCs and Servers, you can try the Unlimited Edition.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.