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Insider Power Techniques for Microsoft® Windows® XP by Austin Wilson, Scott Andersen, Geoff Winslow, Paul McFedries

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Step 4—Defragment Your Hard Disk

Windows XP comes with a utility called Disk Defragmenter that’s an essential tool for tuning your hard disk. Disk Defragmenter’s job is to rid your hard disk of file fragmentation, which occurs when a file is stored in multiple places on a partition. Defragmenting files stores them contiguously, which greatly improves hard-disk performance because Windows XP can load each file from a single location on the disk.

Before using Disk Defragmenter, you should perform a couple of housekeeping chores:

  • Delete any files from your hard disk that you don’t need, as described in the previous section. Defragmenting junk files only slows down the whole process.

  • Check for file-system errors by running Check Disk as described in ...

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