Defragment Files that are in Use in XP

June 13, 2008 by
Filed under: PC Maintenance 

If you regularly clean up your PC, you are probably using a defrag application. There are many commercial and non-commercial defrag applications available, and even the standard Windows XP defrag is good to use.

One of the problems of the Windows XP defrag application is that is does not defragment files that are in use. So if your PC is slow after did a file cleanup and ran defrag, you might need to run a defrag on the files in use. There are a number of files that can be in use and that cannot be defragmented, but a few typical ones are:

  • The page file
  • The hibernation file
  • Event log files
  • The registry file

The hibernation file is particularly important in the case of laptops or notebooks, since this file is used if you close your laptop without turning it off. But fragmentation in all of these files together can cause degradation in your PC performance, be it a server, laptop, desktop or notebook computer.

So together with your regular disk defrag (preferably after a PC cleanup) is to run an application that does a defrag of files in use. Some commercial applications have this ability, but there is a Microsoft program called PageDefrag.mspx that can do it.

Download the application from: www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/Utilities/PageDefrag.mspx.
You do not need to install the program, simply run it and then select to defrag at next boot or every boot. After clicking OK, you will need to restart Windows to perform the defrag of the files in use.

If your system has been running for some time, you will certainly notice an increase in PC performance after defragmenting the files in use. You probably do not want to run the PageDefrag.mspx application on every boot, but a regular execution will keep your computer cleaned up and with maximum Windows XP performance.

Note: Always make sure there is enough free space on the drive that you are going to defragment. If insufficient disk space is available, you might end up with a blue screen during boot. So better free up disk space by cleaning up your PC before you run the defrag, it will also make sure the defrag completes faster.

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