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When to defrag under Windows 2000

Defragmenting can be a hassle. This tip tells you when is the best time to defragment.

When to defrag under Windows 2000
Rick Cook

Defragmentation is important to the performance of Windows 2000, just as it is to previous versions of Windows. Unlike its relatives, Windows 2000 comes with a built-in defragmenter. There are also several third party defragmenters available from companies such as Symantec Corp. ( and Raxco Software (

However defragmentation interferes with normal operation of the system since partitions have to be locked to defragment them. In addition, defragmenting a badly fragmented disk system can take several hours. This makes it important to know how often you need to defragment your disks under Windows 2000.

The best practice, according to Microsoft, is to use the defragmenter's built-in analysis tool to determine how fragmented the disk is. Unlike the defragmenter itself, the analysis software doesn't interfere with the normal operation of the system. All defragmentation utilities, whether from Microsoft or third parties will provide a graphic display showing how badly fragmented the disk is and will recommend when to defragment based on the degree of fragmentation found.

Microsoft has a TechNet document "Maintaining Windows 2000 Peak Performance Through Defragmentation" ( which discusses this and other defragmentation issues. While the information is aimed specifically at using the built-in defragmenter, it is generally applicable to the third party products as well.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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Related Book

Windows 2000 Hardware and Disk Management, 1/e
Author : Curt Simmons
Publisher : Prentice Hall
Published : Jun 2000
Windows 2000 Hardware and Disk Management is 100% focused on helping IT professionals and users make the most of hardware and disks with Windows 2000. Covering both Windows 2000 Server and Professional, this book delivers practical examples, real-world techniques, and expert insight--in a handy, quick-reference format that delivers the right solution, right when you need it!

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