Microsoft has revamped the functionality of its Disk Defragment tool (now referred to as Optimize Drives) to improve its speed. Optimize Drives in Windows 8 not only defrags your disks but can also help TRIM SSDs. This can free up a lot of space not being reintegrated into your PC as well as help improve the overall performance of Windows 8.
How to use Optimize Drives in Windows 8
1. From the Windows 8 Start screen, search for “Optimize Drives.”
2. Click on “Defragment and Optimize Drives” to get started.
Optimize Drives will show you all available drives on your PC, including removable devices and hardware. You can check the “Current Status” section to see which drive can be optimized and which one is not available for optimization.
If a drive or removable device is currently being used, you won’t be able to optimize it. When running Optimize Drive, it’s best to leave your computer alone and let it do its work. If you’re using another application or editing files during the optimization process, it will affect the overall efficiency of Optimize Drives.
If a drive doesn’t appear at all in this list, it’s possible that it’s corrupted or has some other error keeping it from being optimized. You can run chkdsk to see if that corrects the problem in order to optimize it.
3. Before analyzing and optimizing a drive, click “Change settings.”
Optimize Drives in Windows 8 can be run automatically at any interval you choose, and this is often the best way to defrag your hard drive or removable device. You can schedule this during the night so that it doesn’t interfere with your everyday computer activities. You’ll also be able to see notifications if the schedule was missed as well as choose what drives are included in the schedule you set.
4. When you’re ready, click on the drive you want to analyze and click “Analyze.”
Generally, if your drive is more than ten percent fragmented after analysis, defragging the drive will improve its performance.
5. Click “Optimize” to begin the process.
Windows will first analyze the drive, then do a pass over your drive before consolidating it. During the consolidation process it will attempt to organize data on your drive in a way to make it quicker to access. For the most part, you won’t notice the difference when using your PC, but it does make a difference in the way your computer accesses information.
Depending on the size of the drive and whether or not it’s been optimized before, this process can take anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours, which is why it’s advised to schedule this process overnight and step away from the computer.
6. Once the process is complete, restart your computer.
Ideally, Optimize Drives in Windows 8 or Disk Defragmenter in Windows 7 should be run any time your fragmentation is at ten percent or higher. This will improve the overall performance and functionality of your PC. This is one of the hidden tools of Windows systems that many users neglect to take advantage of. Run Optimize Drives or Disk Defragmenter yourself to see what an improvement it makes.