Tech Tip: Defrag from the command line

Windows XP comes with Disk Defragmenter, which is a slimmed down version of Executive Software's Diskeeper disk defragmentation program. This utility is accessible via the Computer Management Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and as a stand-alone utility on the Tools tab of each hard drive's Properties dialog box.

There's also a command-line version of this utility called Defrag. If you want to quickly configure and launch a defragment operation, it's easier to use the command line rather than accessing the GUI version and then drilling down through a number of options.

To run Defrag, open a command prompt window and type the following command:

Defrag x: [/parameter]

In this example, x is the drive letter of the hard disk you want to defragment, and parameter is one of three optional settings that you can use to configure Defrag:

  • /a: Analyzes the volume and displays a summary of the analysis report.
  • /v: Displays the complete analysis and defragmentation report. It can be used in combination with /a to display only the analysis report.
  • /f: Forces defragmentation of the volume, regardless of whether it needs to be defragmented.

When you use either the /a or /v parameters, Defrag displays the results on the command line. However, if you'd rather have the results available as a file, use the DOS redirection symbol to send the report to a file. For example, you can redirect the results to a file called Defrag-Results.txt by using this command:

Defrag x: [/parameter] > Defrag-Results.txt

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