Tips to speed up defrag operations in Windows XP

You can speed up a defrag operation in Windows XP by restarting the system beforehand. Greg Shultz reveals this defrag performance tip and a registry edit that can further increase performance.

A simple way to speed up a defrag operation in Microsoft Windows XP is to restart the system before you launch the Defrag application. This allows the operating system to clear out the swap/paging file (may require a change in configuration for ultimate effect) and to reset it to the default size. This lets Defrag focus strictly on the necessary data on the hard disk, without having to stop and manage a huge swap file loaded with unneeded data.

Another approach to speeding up a defrag operation in Windows XP is to configure it to occur immediately upon startup. You can do so easily with a simple registry edit.

Note: Editing the Windows Registry is not without risk. Please save yourself some aggravation and back up your Windows Registry before you do any editing.

With the disclaimer out of the way, follow these steps to start a defrag operation immediately upon startup:

  • Launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  • Go to:
  • Right-click the RunOnce subkey and select New | String Value.
  • Name the value Defrag and press [Enter] twice.
  • Type Defrag.exe c: /f in the Value Data text box and click OK.
  • Close the Registry Editor and restart Windows.

The defrag operation will begin when you type your password and press [Enter]. (Keep in mind that values added to the RunOnce key are removed immediately after the command has been run.)

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional editions.

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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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