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I'm going to reinstall Windows XP on a used machine soon. The data on the hard drive is heavily fragmented at the moment.

I'm going to format the drive when reinstalling Windows so is there any sense in defragmenting the drive now?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

No. Don't bother. The format will wipe everything. A defrag is a complete waste of time.

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And also, choose "full format" when installing windows... – Janfy Feb 14 '11 at 11:56
Can you provide a reason to do so? – oKtosiTe Feb 14 '11 at 11:56
Only reason to do that is checking physical disk for errors. Old files do not matter, even with quick format. Disk won't be more fragmented with quick format. – Olli Feb 14 '11 at 11:56
also when you do a quick format, you're not really formatting the whole disk, just creating the structure of the new disc. All of the data on the disc is primarily left alone and if you're worried about security, a 12 yr old w/ some available tools can get at your data. – g19fanatic Feb 14 '11 at 12:19
@g19fanatic: I'm not sure that's the case. According to Microsoft ( the only difference between Full and Quick format is that "If you choose the Quick format option, format removes files from the partition, but does not scan the disk for bad sectors" – Siim K Feb 14 '11 at 13:37

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