“Some Files Could Not Be Defragmented…”

Fred, I am a plus subscriber and love your articles. I have a question for you. I have a Compaq Presario 2100 laptop. Whenever I run the defragmenter at the end it says "some files on this volume could not be defragmented. Please check the defragmentation report for the list of the files". I check the report but it is always blank. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Bob

Could be any of several things. Defrag needs some free space to maneuver, for example; typically, it needs about 15% of the total drive capacity to be open, so files can be shuffled around during the defragmentation. If your drive is very full, you may not be able to defrag it. If this is the case, try deleting some files, moving files to another partition or drive or to backup, etc; and run a thorough cleanup: http://langa.com/cleanup_bat.htm

Errors on the drive may also cause this. Try running Scandisk or Chkdsk, and fix any problems that turn up.

In-use files may not be able to be defragged, either, because they’re locked and in use. You can minimize the number of such files by running Defrag only in Safe Mode, or from the Recovery Console. If you’re really desperate to achieve near-100% defragmentation, you can run defrag several times in a row; each pass may squeeze out a few more percent.

But in NT/2K/XP, some files just won’t get worked on much at all because they’re always in use or protected in some way. You’ll probably never achieve 100% defragmentation. But that’s OK; a low single-digit percentage of fragmented files doesn’t matter much, performance-wise; you could beat your brains out trying to get everything perfect, and not see any meaningful performance improvement when you’re done.

So, if you defrag and end up with a few percent of files left fragmented, don’t worry about it. Just defrag regularly— every week or so is usually fine— and you’ll be OK.

More info:

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.