How to Defrag Windows Vista

I hear so many people complain about Windows Vista lately. I do have a few complaints about Vista myself, but overall I think it’s still a pretty good Operating System, including its bundled Disk Defragmenter which is located in System Tools, under Accessories.

Let’s start the Windows Vista Disk Defragmenter and have a look. Looks like it’s scheduled to run once every week, by default.

Disk defragmenter

You can force the defragmentation to start immediately by clicking on the “Defragment now” button of course. But compare to Windows XP, there is no progress bar now. This is because the defragmentation process in Vista is non-linear unlike Windows XP’s, so there is no way to estimate accurately how much time a defrag would possibly take. Instead of trying to show estimates of how much time the defragmentation will take, the defrag team came up with a better solution: reducing the impact of defragmentation on your computer by making it use low-priority I/O and low priority CPU, so you can still use it and do what ever it is you do while the defrag is on. That’s why the whole process is scheduled to run in the background! So smart can die… 🙂

Now, many do not know you can also invoke the defrag tool from the command prompt. Check out a screen shot below.


Go to elevated command prompt by running it as an administrator. Then issue the command “defrag -c -v”. The system will defragment all the volumes on the computer in verbose mode. After the defragmentation completes, it will show detailed analysis output.

Like it or not, those are what you get on Windows Vista, Basic, Home, Business or Ultimate editions. There’s no progress bar, no indication of elapsed time, or remaining time. There’s no information on what files are fragmented, and how fragmented the hard disk is.

If you still very much fancy the good old Windows XP Disk Defragmenter, or at least shows more information, such as a progress bar, then you should use Auslogics Disk Defrag.

This is what CNET Reviews has to say about Auslogics Disk Defrag.

We found the program fast, even on older XP systems. A handy HTML report is prepared after each defrag session. … Fantastic utility far superior to Windows Disk Defragmenter.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

This FREE program shows you a detailed disk fragmentation map while the defragmentation is running. The map shows you disk clusters, each cluster being red (still fragmented), blue or green (already optimized), gray (free space) or yellow for clusters occupied by the Master File Table. Isn’t this more intuitive compared to Windows Vista’s Disk Defragmenter?

Disk defrag

After the disk defragmentation is complete you get a summary of the process. What are you waiting, go download this disk defragmenter now while it’s still free.

So, there you are. I have shown you three tools to defrag your Windows Vista. Depending on your mood, you can use whichever one you like and they will certainly make your computer’s file system cleaner and more organized. Happy defragmenting!