Using Disk Defragmenter to Save Laptop Power

19 August 2011

While laptop battery life diminishes over time from excessive use, there are others factors that can expend the battery. Loading software, watching videos, listening to music, interacting with media-rich websites, and dealing with viruses can slow down any computer. The performance of all of these processes can lead to the shortened lifespan of a laptop regardless of its battery’s freshness. In addition to performing regular maintenance on a laptop with virus scans and removing unused programs, there is another task often overlooked by the average PC user: disk defragmentation.Defragmenting the hard disk can improve the performance of a laptop as well as a desktop PC.

With laptops, it is very important that defragmentation is done regularly to lengthen the life of the system, to make programs run at optimum speed, and to save power while on the go. Going without disk defragmentation for long periods of time can decrease the computer’s efficiency and, therefore, the battery life as well. By design, disk defragmentation rearranges frequently used files. This allows the computer to find the files more easily. Many of these files are used by the system to run programs. The more programs are executed, the longer it takes for the program or file to run. People who regularly use desktop PCs may be familiar with defragmentation. Users who prefer to use a laptop for their PC needs and have not used disk defragmentation before can run the tool on a Windows-based system. Windows includes this tool with their operating system, but there are third-party options available as well.

Disk Defragmentation in Windows 7

The tool can be accessed by going to the Control Panel’s Administrative Tools menu and selecting Defragment Hard Drive. To see if a defragmentation is needed, click Analyze Disk to run a quick scan on the drive. If so, click Defragment Disk to execute. Depending on the  size of the drive, the number of files, and the overall performance of the laptop, it can take from 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete. After the operation is complete, programs should load and operate significantly faster than before.

This increase in efficiency means the computer consumes less power, and, thus, spares the battery. To perform regular defragmentation on a drive, select the scheduling tool and run it at a specific time as often as needed.

Defragmentation in Vista and Windows XP

In Windows Vista, the defragmenter can be located in Accessories under System Tools. In Windows XP, the tool can be found by visiting the My Computer folder and right-clicking the hard drive. The scheduling tool is only available in Vista and Windows 7, and not in Windows XP. Using the defragmenter regularly lets the user get more done and extends the life of the battery. For heavy PC users that deal with a lot of files, the tool should be run once every week; casual users should run it every month, or according to their usage.

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