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Defragmenting in Safe Mode

Question : Ever since installing Norton AntiVirus on my Windows 98 computer, I cannot defragment my hard drive because the Disk Defragmenter program never finishes. What can I do?

Answer : Defragmenting your computer's hard drive, sometimes called "optimizing" the hard drive, can help improve your PC's performance because it internally reorganizes the way files are stored on the hard disk so the operating system can find and use them more quickly. (What looks like a single file on the screen may actually be made up of several "fragments" stored in different locations on the hard drive, and defragmenting the drive puts everything back together in one place.)

Other programs open, running and writing new data to the hard drive while Disk Defragmenter is working can interfere with its ability to operate, though, and may cause it to run endlessly. Even if you close all your regular programs, like your Web browser and e-mail program, the antivirus program is still probably running in the background, as it was designed to do to protect your PC from malicious software.

You might try opening the antivirus program's settings and turning it off manually while you run Disk Defragmenter. Symantec, the company that makes Norton AntiVirus, recommends restarting the computer in Safe Mode before running Disk Defragmenter or ScanDisk, Microsoft's other built-in Windows utility for hard-drive maintenance.

Safe Mode, a function that allows only essential Windows programs and drivers to run, is helpful for troubleshooting software conflicts and other system problems. One way to get into Safe Mode is to restart the computer and hold down the F8 key until a text menu appears on screen that gives you the option of using Safe Mode.

Safe Mode looks different from your regular Windows desktop, and your monitor resolution may look a bit odd, but you can run Disk Defragmenter and other Windows utility programs. You will need to restart your computer to get out of Safe Mode and back to your normal Windows system.

Utility and maintenance programs typically need some room to operate, and a jam-packed hard drive may be interfering with Disk Defragmenter. Deleting unnecessary files and programs to clear off some hard-drive space could also help the defragmentation process.


Scratch around for disk space

Refresh your Windows Explorer

Switching PC boot-up from C: to A: drive

Avoiding storms in your ports

Defragmenting in Safe Mode

iDisk on-line file storage

Rescue your hard drive

Safely removing reluctant hardware

The hard life of a hard drive

Still pining for floppies

Wiping old hard disks

Dead Drive

Spurious "Disk Full" message from USB drive

Unreadable hard drive

Drive name oddity

HD recordings need more storage space

Wipe your PC for safety's sake

Resize drives for extra room


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