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Configure Disk Defragmenter Schedule in Windows 7 or Vista

Windows 7 or Vista automatically configures Disk Defrag to schedule defragment to run once a week, usually at 1am on Wednesday. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually awake at 1am on wednesday, and I’d rather schedule it for a different time.

To open up the defragment utility, just type defrag into the Start menu search box, and hit enter. Vista users will have to click through a UAC prompt, but you should see this screen:

defrag-vista.png

Windows 7 users will see a very similar dialog, and will need to click the Configure Schedule button:

From this screen, you can disable automatic defrag by unchecking the box. You can also modify the schedule by clicking the Modify schedule button (no surprise there)

defrag-vista-modify-schedule.png

Much better..  Not like I’m ever awake at 8am.

If you are on Vista and using at least Service Pack 1, you can also select which volumes will be automatically defragmented during this scheduled defrag. (Windows 7 users can select the volumes from the start screen).

defrag-vista-select-volumes.png

I only have one drive in this computer, but you would see the list of all the drives here.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/21/07

Comments (62)

  1. zoxor

    You might as well power down your computer when you sleep ? (Unless you’re downloading or something)… What’s the use of a computer that powered on when you don’t even need it…

  2. ollie

    does it still defragment your pc if you’ve shut it down?

  3. The Geek

    No, if you have the computer off it will not defragment.

  4. Danie

    Ok here is the situation. In my program logic & design class my home work asn 9 was to perform disk defragmentation on my disk drive. Explain the steps to perform the process. Note thefile system an operating system of my computer. provide and account status of my drive after the process. Then click view report button, press save as. open the file I save and copy and past its contents into my report document that I will be turning in. PROBLEM, VISTA never gave me that option it just stopped when the defragmentation process was over it went back to the box above. So now what do I do to get the results that I need???? HELP!!!!!!!!!

  5. Stephanie Rand

    Can I schedule my computer to do disk defrag when my computer has been shut down. For example what if I wanted to schedule disk defrag for 12:00 am every Sunday. I know I’m not up at that time and my computer has been shut down

  6. Peter

    I run defrag on a schedule on my laptop. The computer is on, but in the “Switch User” status, and the cover is closed. The defrag has been running at 1 AM on Wednesday each week in this mode. If the computer is completly shut down, it will not run.

  7. Rick

    OK .. defrag is now dumbed down .. no estimate of time, no progress to date.

    Q. how can I chosse what drive to defrag ?

    Q. How can I tell if it’s defragging all drives and not just sys drive

  8. John B

    It doesn’t work this way any more. With the install of SP1, it’ll still try to do an analysis on a USB disk, even if this box is unchecked.

    Nice, Microsoft. Happy to have that lovely addition– NOT!!

  9. Keystroke13

    I finally made the leap to Vista and I must say the disk defragmenter application is really dumb down; just as others stated! In the past I’ve used disk keeper, which was okay until I found Perfect Disk. If those of you that want a better application I would suggest Perfect Disk. Do what I do and download the trial and run it for 30 days and then uninstall it.

  10. rajasekhar

    Hi,

    You had given in your blog that using defrag will give you the dialog to start defragmentation. But its not the right command to use in run command. dfrgui is the command to get the GUI interface to start defragmentation in windows vista

  11. The Geek

    @rajasekhar

    Typing in defrag will still find it, with the Vista start menu search.

  12. Robert

    I accidently deleted windows version of Disk Defragmenter.
    Can you give me the site or the link where I can download disk defragmenter back on my computer?

  13. Eddie Monge

    If you want the XP style of disk defrag then right click on your ‘My Computer’ icon and select Manage. In the lower section of the left menu you will see Disk Defragment. There you have options to analyze and defrag.

    I didn’t even realize my disk was automatically. Its nice that it does though.

  14. joy

    I just heard from a friend about this defrag thing I am not so familiar since I have just learned few things about defraging. Is it possible to open and use my pc while in the process of defragging????

  15. The Geek

    @joy

    Yes, but the computer will be slower while the defrag is going.

  16. Treasa L Smith

    I have a problem, I was running the disk clean up and then started to click on disk defrag but when i try to open it, it wont, I cant get it started. I dont know if its missing something thats stopping it from opening.. a black screen (as dos) pops up but disappears so fast I’m not able to see what it says. Any ideas? I would really be greatful for the help..

  17. Varadero

    I have a 160 GB and I tired defrag. in Vista. I let it run for a day and it is still running. I can’t see the progress. I don’t know where it is at and why is it taking so long? Help!

  18. Rick

    Vista defrag is useless .. I let mine run for 2 days .. it still did not complete … I downloaded AusLogics Disk defrag … it’s free, fast & gives a good progress report … all the things the VISTA one does not do.

  19. Varadero

    Rick, thank you very much for the info.

  20. Varadero

    I used “Auslogics Disk Defrag” and it’s so simple and I used “CC Cleaner” to get rid of Junk file. Somple to use and it’s fast.

    Go to download.com to get it. Free!

  21. Stacey

    Is there any way to set windows vista to automatically shutdown after it has finished defragging?

  22. Matthew

    Eddie Monge said:
    “If you want the XP style of disk defrag then right click on your ‘My Computer’ icon and select Manage. In the lower section of the left menu you will see Disk Defragment. There you have options to analyze and defrag.”

    No you can’t and no it isn’t. You’re getting mistaken with Disk Management….where you can format, partition or change drive paths and letters, but Disk Defragmenter is not there.

  23. eileen liu

    sorry, i am a IT MORON. just bought a WINDOWS VISTA PC. i am trying to do defrag. i see that there are 2 DRIVES – C DRIVE & D DRIVE.

    it says the D DRIVE stores the RECOVERY PROGRAM and when i click to open the programme , there is a warning message to say i should not tamper with this folder.

    since i should not tamper it, should i still defrag D DRIVE ?

    and can i schedule my defrag when PC is off, not possible right? sorry this qn sounds very idiotic but i know almost nothing about computers.

  24. chad

    when i go into my defrag and set a time for it automatically defrag and then close the window and then go back into it, it always says that the next scheduled run is “never”, why? the run on schedule box is checked but it always says the next scheduled run is never. does anybody know why it is like this?

  25. JesseJJA

    I have a serious situation! I put all of my icons in my start menu, so you could see the pic of my kitty. And all of the sudden, I can’t find “disk defragmenter”,”trash bin”or”Rollercoaster Tycoon”!!!! I need help!

  26. Michael J

    I hate the Vista defrag, can’t see anything, and with a 500 disc it has never come back with a message saying complete when on at night, maybe it goes to sleep too when the screen goes black. Any good software out there from freeware that works, lets you see what is going on, estimation of tiem to complete?
    tHANKS

  27. luther

    I have Vista but it won’t defrag automatically. I set the schedule but it never runs. It will allow me to defrag manually.

  28. Big Daddy

    I have Vista but can’t get defrag scheduler to work. I can set the schedule and Nextg Scheduled run will indicate the day and time that I entered. However, if I close the Disk Defragmenter and re-open it, the Next Scheduled run is “NEVER”. Also, sometimes when I run the defrag manually, it runs, runs and runs some more…doesn’t stop. I have to manually cancel it.

  29. saurabh

    i have vista but i can’t see a defrag window when i type defrag and hit enter. a window just get flashed and it closes then. i have no idea if the disk is getting defragged. how can i actually see it like in good old XP.

  30. mrbean

    If defragging will not take place when your PC is off, why would Microsoft, by default, schedule defrag to take place at 1:00 AM?

    I’m not asking a rhetorical question. I genuinely would like to know.
    Thanks in advanced.™

  31. jay

    Hi!
    About getting status on Vista…..

    There is a log of the scheduled tasks that shows how long the defragment runs.

    To get there – at least on Vista-Home (other versoins may be different….):
    right click on My Computer
    select ‘manage’.

    In the left pane expand the ‘System Tools’ item
    (If there is a ‘+’ mark next to System Tools, click on it and it should show ‘-‘
    And ‘+ Task Scheduler should then show up)

    In the left pane, select (left-click) on ‘Task Scheduler’.

    Then, the middle part of the right pane should show the Task Status.
    (You may ave to click on the task status bar to expand it.)
    It should then show the columns:
    – Task Name
    – Run Result
    – Run Start [time]
    – Run End [time]

    On my PC, it showed:
    “ScheduledDefrag (last run succeeded at 5/20/2010 9:52:32AM

    I have it set to run daily and it took about an hour for a 500GB disk.

    Have a great day..

  32. jay

    ========= A response to MrBean ==============

    I looked around about scheduling defrag on Vista and found this:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942092

    It says:

    Scheduled defragmentation
    You can now use Task Scheduler to schedule defragmentation.
    Therefore, you do not have to manually start defragmentation.
    By default, a task is created and is set to run at
    1 A.M. on every Wednesday.
    If the computer is turned off or if the task does not
    run at the scheduled time, the task will run
    the next time that the computer is idle.

    ==================
    I set my defrag to run every day at 10:00AM.
    I run BOINC and it was set to run 100% of the time – leaving no time for the defrag to run…..
    So I set up BOINC to be idle for an hour and a half at the time the defrag starts.

    This seems to work.

  33. Elaine

    My first computer would actually show the defrag operating, going thru and filling in all the little boxes. It seems Microsoft got worse over the years, not better. Vista stinks! I shut down my computer every night, so it shouldn’t show the last defrag was on the Wednesday it is scheduled, but show it wasn’t completed. I have it running now, and all I see is that little circle going round and round which tells me NOTHING. TIme for a new computer, an Apple.

  34. olga

    Does anyone know if dust inside the computer will make it to freeze? Takes 2-3 times of forcibly starting the computer and then it works awhile, after an hour or so, it freezes again, unexpectedly. But there is a noise coming from the cpu as well. Then I disconnect again, and again, and again . . . Tired of Vista. Let’s begin a revolution all the Vistas’ people, we want our money back !! :-))

  35. Eew

    Olga, theoretically, dust could cause your computer to freeze, but its unlikely. If your problem is hardware, a bad fan could possibly be causing the CPU to overheat, and the computer freezes in response. Most likely, you have a software conflict, or some type of maleware that is causing your issue.

    Solution? Windows7. It really is a ton better than vista. It is more reliable than XP and has more features and an easier interface. I really recommend it.

    RE: Defrag. By setting your computer to wake on a scheduled event (in power plan advanced options), And modifying the already present defrag task in task schedular to wake the computer on start, you can get the computer to wake from sleep mode and defrag.

  36. Ray

    I went to use my defrag on my Windows XP Professional and it came up with the following:

    Microsoft Management Console

    Not Registered

    I just used it yesterday because I defrag every day

  37. mwasi ally kaherewa

    i want 2 learn more about disk defragementation

  38. Brittany

    when you scheduled a disk defragment? how do you know if it is been disfrag on that scheduled time?

  39. lucky

    after that task is completed it will show the last run time of defrag task

  40. Fred

    I have Windows 7 and have my defrag scheduled to run at 3:00 A.M. on the 15th of every month. The history will only show defrags that I have manually done. It does not automatically defrag. However, the next scheduled run always updates to the next one. When I look at the manual history results, it will indicate 0% defragmented. My question is, “Is the auto defrag not working because there must be a minimum amount of defragmentation needed before the process starts, otherwise, there is no actual process?” Does the system automatically analyze before proceeding? I’ve noticed that I can manually analyze also. Thanks everyone.

  41. Ashley

    I have a question…. Is it a good idea to use the Disk Degragmenter on a regular schedule? If so, Why?

  42. maurene church

    how can i get chkdsk to stop coming up on startup?

  43. HCamper

    @marurene church
    The most common reason or chkdsk starting up with windows
    is system was shutdown incorrectly. The chkdsk program is designed to
    maintain integrity of files and programs.
    Windows is trying to make sure your
    “Stuff” is safe and usable.
    1.) A loss of power while computer was running will cause chkdsk to run.
    2.) Pushing and holding power button til power off will cause chkdsk to run.
    3.) Stopping a software install using power button will cause chkdsk to be run.
    4.) Problems with a hard disk(s) will cause chkdsk to be run.

    @Ashley Yes, good idea to run Disk Defrag on regular basis. Defragging puts files in proper
    order for faster access on hard disk. When you add or remove files the order gets scattered. Defragging returns the proper order of files.
    I hope this helps.
    LOL :-)

  44. msfig

    glad to know that my problem with defrag setting reverting to say “never” for future defragging, is shared by others…all techs that I contacted say they never heard of this…there must be a fix..

  45. Thanatos52804

    I am trying to set the defrag to go on a weekly basis. After I set it for the day and time I want and hit ok, when check to see if the changes took they don’t it says next scheduled: never when i go back into it. I’ve tried to run it as admin and change my privileges but for some reason the changes won’t stick. Any idea on how to get it to stay on the schedule?

  46. Thanatos52804

    Sorry I forgot to say that I have the Vista Home Premium OS

  47. Robert

    After a couple of years – I finally got Defrag on Vista figured out. Do as others have said – right mouse on Computer and select Manage.
    In the left tree, expand System Tools, Task Scheduler, Task Scheduler Library, Microsoft, Windows, Defrag. Intuitively obvious…

    With Defrag selected in the tree, the main window shows ScheduledDefrag. Mine was disabled. Right mouse and select option Enable.

    Scheduled defrags work now. Vista Ultimate.

    Robert

  48. Eddie

    I got Windows Vista I modify my disk defragment schedule to run on a daily basis but it doesnt I always have to run it manually does anybody have a solution for this problem.

  49. Lyle

    Thanks for the instructions Robert! I’ve had Vista Home Premium for two years but scheduled defrag has not worked. It would show, next scheduled run “Never” I followed your instructions and Enabled the scheduled defrag. Lyle

  50. Patricia

    I am trying to find out why my comp wont let me defrag…I have a windows vista

  51. mahi

    does disk defragmenter make your laptop/computer faster?

  52. Alex M

    How do you access this through the control panel or whatever? I don’t have the normal windows 7 start menu and don’t have the search thing, so I can’t just type “defrag” into it and have it pop up. What’s the alternative way to get there, please? I can’t figure it out.

  53. Barbara

    Thank you, Robert– just the answer I needed!

  54. rosie morgan

    thankyou; now defraging ; been 10 minutes so far not sure when its gonna end. let you know when its done!

  55. Charlotte

    If I close my laptop (which puts it to sleep) will the Disk Defragmenter still run?
    I don’t want my laptop shining all night while I try to sleep.

  56. Lucy

    While the computer is defragmenting, how will you know? and will you know if it is done????

  57. Mark Smith

    It’s incredible to me the people who ask here if you can defrag while the computer is shut down.

    People, basically a computer is like a coffee pot. You push the little buttons on the front of it until you get it scheduled to make your coffee every morning at 8am. Then you unplug it. Don’t worry, your coffee will be ready. Trust me. You scheduled it.

  58. dee

    um, Mark- so it can defrag while being shut down?

  59. rick

    Thank you Robert for the defrag help. Who would have known!

  60. george

    my ” next scheduled run ” says ” never “….. I have tried to modify the scheduel, but no luck. It returnes to ” never “.. Any ideas ??

  61. Ken

    I just had the Geek Squad remove a virus from my computer. Now I can’t find the Defrag or Disk Cleanup utility under “Accessories/System Tools”. Do I need to reload it and where will I find the downloadable programs? Thanks.

  62. Ginger

    I agree with the vista sucking. I tried to download the Auslogics from download.com and my computer wouldn’t let me go to page 3. Simply would not load. Instead I had to search the product and found that it is only a 15 day trial. I was given the suggestion of Defraggler since to apparently cleans the larger files allowing the original Defrager on vista to move faster and work only on the small files. I have not tried the product yet. However, it is worth the shot.

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