Previously called defragmenting disks in previous versions of Windows, optimizing drives is one of the best ways to improve your PC’s performance. Windows includes a tool to optimize your drives. Additionally, you can now optimize solid-state drives (storage devices with no moving parts, used in place of hard drives) in Windows 8. By default, Windows will optimize drives weekly as part of Automatic Maintenance.
To bring up the tool, go to the Start screen, and type optimize drives.
Locating the optimization tool
Tap or click the disk you want to optimize, and click Analyze. Analyzing will tell you how fragmented the disk is. The fragmentation percentage will be displayed under the Status column. If the disk is more than 10% fragmented, it should be optimized. To optimize, tap or click the disk you want to optimize, and then tap or click Optimize. You might be asked for confirmation.
Depending on the size of the disk and how fragmented it is, optimization will take anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour or more.
If a drive isn't appearing in the list, it might be because:
- You can't optimize network drives
- You can only optimize NTFS FAT or FAT32 drives
- The drive might need to be repaired before formatting. To repair the drive, right-click the drive in Computer (Windows 8) or This PC (Windows 8.1) and select Properties. Then click on the Tools tab, and then click on check. Provide confirmation if necessary.