You can defragment a hard drive using the disk defragment program that comes with any Windows laptop or desktop computer. This program works to compact data together and increase the speed in which the hard drive accesses files. Tools needed to complete this guide include Windows 7 or 8 and a hard drive. Though Windows 8 automatically defragments the hard drive, you can do it manually when necessary.
- Open the defragment program
In Windows 8, swipe in from the right on a touch-screen computer to access the search menu. Alternatively, press the Windows and S keys on the keyboard. Type "defragment" in the search field, and select the Disk Defragmenter program.
- Select the hard drive
Look for Current Status in the new pop-up window. Select the disk you want to defragment. Click Analyze Disk to check the status of the hard drive. If you cannot see any figures under Current Status in Windows 8, press Analyze to check the hard drive before defragmenting. If the hard drive is a solid-state drive, do not defragment it because it won't increase speed and may shorten the drive's life.
- Defragment the disk
If the analyzed fragmentation is above 10 percent, click Defragment Disk. Type your password if prompted. Wait for the process to complete, and close the window.