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Why we have to manually start the disk defragmenter in Windows XP?.

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Because it is very disk intensive and it can slow down your system a lot. If an operating system did that without my intention I wouldn't buy it.

Although if you want you can schedule it to run.

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I guess you'll never buy Vista or Windows 7. They both defragment in the drive in the background. The trick is that they only do it when your computer is idle. – Dan Walker Jul 20 '09 at 6:34
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Let me rephrase: If an operating system defragged while I was using the computer, I would not buy it. No computer near me is ever idle ;) – John T Jul 20 '09 at 6:46
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I hate hearing the hard drive working, when I'm trying to. – Lance Roberts Jul 20 '09 at 6:49
    
Same, if my machine suddenly starts thrashing the HDD, I wonder what's wrong, and go to find out what the hell it's doing.. – Dentrasi Jul 20 '09 at 7:10

You don't have to. You can make the computer automatically start it for you.

Here's Microsoft's page on how schedule defragmentation with XP.

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If you use JKDefrag or Mydefrag you can set defragmentation as your screensaver and it will start whenever your not busy. That solves all your problems!

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Check out:

Allows you to select individual files to defrag, can be configured to execute in the background, can be scheduled to run automatically at specific times.

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