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?
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.