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Software Tips & Tricks
Computer Hygiene: Defragment your Hard Drive
What is Fragmentation?
Computer Haven gives a wonderful explanation of fragmentation, but essentially, fragmentation is the saving of a file on different parts of your hard drive, which can slow your machine down as it looks for the pieces of a file you want to work with. This happens with regular computer use, so it's a good idea to make sure your hard drive is defragmented every now and then.
How to Defragment your Hard Drive
Depending on your operating system and the kind of work you do on your computer, you may not need to worry too much about defragmenting. Microsoft offers steps on how to defragment a drive with Windows XP. Windows Vista, however, is automatically set to defragment in the background. The settings should be fine for average users, but you can learn how to change the schedule. If you work with very large files (like in video editing) you can manually defragment in Vista using the Command line. Apple explains why Mac users don't need to defragment under Mac OS X. However, if you have a very old machine, you may want to defragment your Mac hard drive using utilities such as Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner or iDefrag.