So you read the specs for The Sims 3 and you want to prepare to install it. Good idea! I wrote a tutorial that will guide you to cleaning up your computer and possibly make it run a little bit faster!

What is Defrag/Defragging?

Defragging (or Defragmenting) is the process in which you run on a hard-drive to make it run faster. When you work on a PC and programs, files are stored everywhere. Defragging your computer will pull these files together so your computer will not have to work as hard when you try to access certain programs or documents. By defragmenting your computer, it moves them to the proper places they need to be and thus gives you an overall better performance!

So how do I defrag?

Defragmenting a computer is a piece of cake and I’ll provide instructions how to do just that – depending on your operating system!

How to Defrag on XP

  1. Close and shutdown any of the programs that you are running.
  2. Click your Start Menu and go to: All programs – Accessories – System Tools and then click on Disk Defragmenter. The Defragment box should pop up on your screen. Another way to get to the Disk Defragmenter would be to double-click on the My Computer icon on your desktop, Right click the harddrive you want to defragment, click on Properties, then select the Tools tab and hit the Defragment button! (Pictured below)

  3. In the top part of the interface, make sure your primary drive is highlighted. Depending on how your computer is set up, there may be one or more drives that you can choose from. The available drives will be listed under the column labeled “Volume“. Your primary drive is most likely your “C” drive and this is the one that is probably most in need of defragging. (Pictured below)

  4. Click on the “Defragment” button to start. Depending on how big your harddrive is and how fast your computer is, this process could take some time. It’s best to start this before you head to bed that way it’ll be done when you wake up in the morning. During this process, you should see the bars move around. (Pictured below)

  5. When the process is complete, you’ll be informed by a message box. The picture below should be look similar to what yours look like after defragmenting. (Pictured below)

  6. You can then exit out of the Disk Defragmenter and resume normal computing.

To maintain peak performance, your computer’s hard drive should be defragmented on a regular basis. Personally I defrag my harddrive once a month – it all depends on how much you use your computer and the sort of activities you use it for. In Windows XP, the Disk Defragmenter has an “Analyze” button. Clicking the button will rapidly generate a report that informs you if the disk needs to be defragged.

How to Defrag on Vista

Defragmenting in Vista is suppose to be easier than XP. In my opinion, Microsoft screwed up on this….They decided to “dumb” it down in which it doesn’t show you what it is doing like XP did. There are two ways you can defrag:

  1. Click on the Start Menu and type in “defrag” in the search box.
  2. Should see the Disk Defragment dialog. Click on the Defrag Now button and wait.

I personally would recommend doing it a different way so you can see what is going on:

  1. Open a Command Prompt as an Administrator. Go to Start – All Programs – Accessories, right click on the Command Prompt and choose “Run as administrator”. You’ll need admin privileges to do this.
  2. Type the following see how much your hard drive is fragmented (in this example, the C drive): defrag c: -a

  3. Give it some time to calculate.
  4. Vista will tell you a “Percent file fragmentation” and, at the bottom, if you need to defragment the drive or not.

  5. To fully defragment your C drive type the following: defrag c: -w

  6. Give it time to run (best to leave the computer alone) and then you’re done!

Other tips to cleaning up your computer

Now that you have finished defragging your computer, there are more suggestions to clean it up. Please visit my “Harddrive Tutorial” for more tips on cleaning.