A faster hard drive

Have you uncovered the secret to a faster drive yet? It's removing unnecessary files and defragging your drive. I've got the tools and tricks, so read on...

The Hassle: I ran the Windows Disk Defragmenter, but when I tried another defragging tool, it said that my drive was still mostly fragmented. Which one should I believe?

The Fix: Windows, right? Please. For one thing, the Windows tool misses Restore Points - files that are created and deleted each day, take up 13MB each (on my PC), and are scattered all over the drive. Also, third-party tools permit you to decide how to defrag - say, by packing the files tighter.

One defragger I recommend is Golden Bow Systems' Vopt 8. This program is compatible with Vista and XP, and it defrags Restore Points. Among Vopt's neat extras are tools for deleting temp files; a slick feature that closes unnecessary apps, including Windows Services; and a way to automatically defrag multiple drives and then shut down the system. Get a trial at www.vopt.com/nuvopt8.htm.

No matter which program you use, get a better defrag with these simple tricks:

• Defrag early and often. Theoretically, defragging improves performance. PC World's lab hasn't found that to be consistently true. But here at Bass International labs, it's a different story. I didn't defrag my drive for six months and had thousands of fragmented files scattered about my hard drive. After defragging, my system seemed faster.

• Open applications don't get defragged, so close them all before you begin. Ditto for tools that reside in the system tray.

• Delete Temporary and Internet cache files using Cleaner, a free tool.

Quick Tip: No matter how neat you are, I guarantee your drive has duplicate files. Ferret them out with Duplicate File Finder. It's free (www.funduc.com/dupfiles.htm).

The Hassle: I have a huge file (hiberfil.sys) on my drive. I can't delete it, and it doesn't move when I defrag my system. What gives?

The Fix: That monster is a Windows file created automatically if you've ever closed down your PC while in Hibernate mode. So here's a good way to get rid of it. From Control Panel, choose Power Options, then select the Hibernate tab and uncheck the Enable Hibernation check box. Click OK when done. If you want to use Hibernate after defragging, repeat these steps above and check the Enable Hibernation check box.

The Hassle: I was playing around with a program that examines my hard drive and saw tvDebug.log, a gargantuan 2GB file. What's the file for, and can I delete it?

The Fix: It bugs me no end that ZoneAlarm stores log files that can grow into useless behemoths and slow down defragging. (They're stored in the Windows/Internet Logs folder.) Deleting the files is a pain because I can't do it while ZoneAlarm is running. Since I'd rather not close that program, I use a little batch file to do the job for me automatically. Get my zipped file with a how-to and batch file at find.pcworld.com/56149.



Windirstat is a nifty tool that creates a graphical depiction of the contents of your hard drive; it's ideal for finding big files. Windirstat (available free at windirstat.info) scans your drive and produces a treemap showing each file as a coloured rectangle proportional to the file's size - for example, a big purple rectangle on the left filled with small rectangles is a slew of MP3 files; a green blob on the right signifies images. Click on a file name in the left panel to see where that file is on the colour grid below. To jump to a file, select a large block on the colour grid for it. Toolbar buttons let you zoom in on a cluster, copy a path, open the file, and more.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steve Bass

PC World
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Roam freely in the digital world. Critically acclaimed performance and security at your fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?