View Full Version : FAQ #34 - Why does scandisk/defrag stop after only 10%?

26-08-2004, 06:08 PM
FAQ #34 - Why does scandisk/defrag stop after only 10%?

The contents of this FAQ were contributed by:
Chilling Silence, Graham Petrie, Graham L, E.ric, tweak'e and Kiwitas.

The first 10% of the system defragmenter is dedicated to scandisk, if it is enabled. It will stop after that if there are other programs running in the background.

Performing a scandisk and defrag can be likened to changing the oil in your car - you don't get to use your car while the oil is being changed. Likewise, you should not use your computer whilst performing a scandisk or defrag.

Most computers start with programs loaded in the background as well as have screensavers, anti-virus and indexing services, including FindFast**, programmed to start when the system is "idle" or at pre-determined times. These programs will interfere with scandisk and defrag if they start up whilst the maintenance is being performed. For this reason it is important that all programs and screensavers be closed down and/or disabled before scandisk and defrag begin. If this is not done those programs still running will write to the hard disk and scandisk/defrag has to start again to check for any changes which causes scandisk and defrag to begin again... and again... and again every time something is written to the hard drive. No wonder it never gets past 10% !

An easy way to prevent programs interfering with scandisk and defrag is to perform the maintenance in Safe Mode. To get into safe mode restart the computer and tap the F8 key as it is booting up then choose Safe Mode from the menu. Because the monitor's drivers are not loaded your screen will look pretty ugly but at least you will be able to get the job done. Refer to FAQ #31 - What is safe mode? How do I restart in Safe Mode? if you are having problems getting into safe mode.

If you would prefer to run scandisk and defrag from within Windows you will have to close down all programs running, including your anti-virus, screensaver and anything else that is visible in the System Tray at the bottom right of your monitor by the clock. Either use Ctrl+Alt+Del and End Task all running programs except Explorer and Systray or right-click on the items in the System Tray and choose Exit. Make sure you are disconnected from the internet and any networks before closing down your firewall and AV program. After your maintenance has been completed you can reboot and the programs will restart themselves again.

**FindFast is often found on Windows versions prior to Win XP. It is generally considered unnecessary and should be removed/uninstalled.

Some other reasons why scandisk and defrag stop after only 10%

• One other cause of scandisk and defrag being unable to get past 10% is because the hard drive has become too full. Windows needs at least 15% free hard drive space to do the job. If you have less free space than that you will need to make more room by deleting files or uninstalling programs.

• Swapfile resizing will also stall a scandisk and defrag in Windows versions prior to Windows XP. You may need to increase your minimum virtual memory, eg 100MB or more depending on the amount of RAM you have.

• Sometimes whilst defragging it may appear that it is "stuck in one place" for longer than usual and nothing is happening except your HDD is still chirping away.

The answer to this is to be patient as it might be a large file being moved to where it can be optimised for faster recovery. If this is the case a defrag that normally takes 20 minutes could possibly take two hours or more. As long as your hard drive is still busy be patient and give it more time.

Original FAQ available from here (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=21514&message=56711&q=faq+%235#56711).