How to Enable or Disable Automatic Defragmentation

Files and folders on your computer can break down or become fragmented over time with regular use. This can cause your system to run at a slower pace. Defragmentation basically pieces together related data so that they can be accessed in a more efficient manner.

Regular disk defragmentation helps maintain your system at optimal levels. However, some computer experts say that today’s systems run efficiently enough that defragging is no longer necessary. They also say that defragging stresses the hard drive even more. Instead of increasing the hard drive’s life span, regular defragging can actually shorten it. Generally though, regular defragmentation is still recommended.

There are several defragging tools available. You can use the one provided under System Tools or an external one.

There is a registry tweak for Windows XP based machines that can enable or disable automatic defragmentation. As this is a registry tweak and thus involves registry modification, you must be sure to make a backup. The backup file can restore your registry to a previous state in case any problems occur.

To enable or disable automatic defragging you need to:

  1. Click on Start and go to Run. Type in regedit and press OK. A box, your registry editor, will come up.
  2. Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder.
  3. Go to SOFTWARE. Expand this folder.
  4. Once you’ve expanded SOFTWARE, look for Microsoft. Expand Microsoft.
  5. Look for Dfrg. Expand the folder and go to BootOptimizeFunction.
  6. Now look at the right hand side of your registry editor. Check and see if Enable is already there. If the value is there, go to step seven. If not, follow the steps below to create Enable.
    • Right click on the right hand side of your registry editor.
    • Select New and then select String Value.
    • Rename the new String Value Enable. You can also right click on the new string value and select Rename.
  7. Double click on Enable. This will bring up another box.
  8. You can opt to enter N if you want to disable automatic disk defrag. You can also put in Y if you want to enable automatic disk defrag.
  9. Exit the registry and reboot.

Defragging automatically has many benefits. However, you can also perform defrags manually if that is what you prefer.

As to the controversy of whether to defrag or not to defrag, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of each side of the argument for yourself.