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How to Defragment Unmovable Files in Windows

Updated April 17, 2017

When tuning up your hard drive with a disk defragmentation, you may notice groups of files labelled "unmovable files". Disk defragmentation works by collecting and compressing fragmented files to free up disk space and improve performance, so why does it ignore these so-called unmovable files? Unmovable files tend to be files that are either in use during the defragmentation process (the paging file and the master file table, or MFT) or "system files"-files that can only be defragmented as the computer boots up. Unfortunately, the disk defragmentation program included with Windows operating systems does not allow users to do this. Luckily, there are utilities that can be downloaded for free, such as PageDefrag that enable you to run the boot defragmentation process and clean up your system files (see Resources).

Go to Microsoft Technet and download PageDefrag (see Resources).

Open the PageDefrag application from the desktop. If you are unable to open PageDefrag from the desktop, go to the Start menu, select "Run", type in "pagedfrg.exe" and click "OK".

Select the option "Defragment at next boot" and click "OK".

Restart the computer.

Allow the defragmentation process to begin. PageDefrag gives you the option to abort the process when the computer reboots-ignore the prompt to allow the defragmentation to continue. When the process is complete, Windows should then load normally.

Tip

This type of defragmentation should not be used as a substitute for regular disk defragmentation, as it only defragments unmovable files.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Windows operating system
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