My recent article, “Speed up the Windows NT paging file,” discussed several ways to increase Windows NT performance by optimizing the NT paging file. Numerous TechRepublic members responded to this article with great favor, but several pointed out an additional process for enhancing NT performance—hard disk defragmentation. This article will demonstrate how to defragment a Windows NT hard drive with Diskeeper Lite. By following these basic steps, you can greatly reduce a hard disk’s read time, improving overall Windows NT performance.
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Getting started with Diskeeper Lite
Although Windows NT does not come with a built-in disk defragmentation utility, several capable applications are available for download on the Internet. For this demonstration, I’ll be using Diskeeper Lite for Windows NT from Executive Software. While there are other utilities available such as Norton’s Speed Disk or PerfectDisk 2000 from Raxco, I have more experience working with Diskeeper Lite. Once you’ve downloaded the software and followed the installation instructions, you’ll be ready to begin.

Using Diskeeper Lite
Before beginning the defragmentation process, be sure to close all open applications and disable your screen saver. In my experience, running applications during defragmentation often slows and can even interrupt the process. After everything is closed and disabled, open Diskeeper Lite. You should see the main window as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
The Diskeeper Lite main window

Click on Defragment from the toolbar at the top of the window, and then click Select Disk. Select the disk you wish to defragment and click OK (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Select the disk you wish to defragment.

The defragmentation process will begin, and Diskeeper Lite will do its job. All you have to do is sit back and watch (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
Your hard disk’s structure

Defragmentation may take several minutes, depending on your hard drive’s size and the amount of data stored on it. When finished, Diskeeper Lite will display the information shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Defragmentation completed.

In conclusion
Defragmenting your hard drive is like changing the oil in your car. You should do it on a regular basis to maintain system performance. How often you do it is up to you and depends on how much data is moving around your hard drive. I try to defragment my drive at least once every two weeks, and Diskeeper Lite allows me to do so with little difficulty.

Although Diskeeper Lite is a great tool for performing simple disk defragmentation, it lacks the more advanced functions that come with the full version. In particular, it cannot defragment the Windows NT paging file—only the full version of Diskeeper can do this. If you need to defragment the paging file on a regular basis, I would suggest purchasing either Diskeeper or one of the other utilities I mentioned earlier.
What is your defragmentation utility of choice? Do you prefer Diskeeper, or do you favor one of its competitors? We want to know. Post a comment or send us an e-mail.