12 ways to start the Disk Defragmenter in Windows

The Defragment and Optimize Drives utility in Windows has a long history. In the older versions, like Windows 7, it was called Disk Defragmenter. Even though it has a new name in Windows 10, the tool is essentially the same, and it performs a critical role in maintaining the health and performance of your system. Files get created, changed, and deleted all the time in Windows. The result is that the storage space allocated to each file gets messy and the Defragment and Optimize Drives utility is the one that puts the files in better order so that the next time you need them, they are easier to find and open. This is how to open the Defragment and Optimize Drives app in Windows:

NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?.

1. Open Defragment and Optimize Drives by using the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7)

Defragment and Optimize Drives is available in the Windows 10 Start Menu. Click Start, scroll down the list of apps, and open the Windows Administrative Tools folder. There you find the Defragment and Optimize Drives shortcut.

The shortcut for Defragment and Optimize Drives in Windows 10

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu, click All programs and open the System Tools folder where the Disk Defragmenter shortcut is located.

The Disk Defragmenter shortcut in Windows 7

2. Open the Disk Defragmenter by using Search (all Windows versions)

You can search for the word "defragment" in Windows 10 and Windows 7, and click or tap the "Defragment and Optimize Drives" search result in Windows 10, or Disk Defragmenter in Windows 7.

Search for Defragment and Optimize Drives in Windows 10

In Windows 8.1 type "dfrgui" on the Start screen. The typing activates the search function, and in the results that appear click or tap dfrgui.

Search for dfrgui in Windows 8.1

3. Pin the Disk Defragmenter to the taskbar, the Start Menu or the Start screen (all Windows versions)

If you use Defragment and Optimize Drives frequently, the convenient places where you can pin it for quick access are the taskbar, the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7) or Start Screen (in Windows 8.1).

Find the Defragment and Optimize Drives shortcut in the Windows 10 Start Menu, as shown earlier. Then, right-click or tap and hold the Defragment and Optimize Drives shortcut. In the menu that opens, choose to "Pin to Start" or go to More and choose "Pin to taskbar."

Pin Defragment and Optimize Drives to Start or the taskbar in Windows 10

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu, click All programs and open the System Tools folder, and right-click the Disk Defragmenter shortcut. In the menu that appears choose between "Pin to Start Menu" and "Pin to Taskbar."

Pin Disk Defragmenter to the Start Menu or the taskbar in Windows 7

In Windows 8.1 use search to find the Disk Defragmenter, as shown earlier in this guide. Right-click or tap and hold the dfrgui search result. In the menu that appears, choose "Pin to Start."

Pin Defragment and Optimize Drives to Start in Windows 8.1

From now on, you can open Defragment and Optimize Drives from the shortcut that you have pinned.

4. Open the Disk Defragmenter from File/Windows Explorer (all Windows versions)

Open File Explorer in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 or Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and select the drive that you want to defragment. Right-click or tap and hold on its name. In the context menu, select Properties.

Open the Properties for a drive in Windows

In the drive's properties window, go to the Tools tab. In Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 click or press Optimize.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from the properties of a partition

In Windows 7 press the button "Defragment now…" to open Disk Defragmenter.

Open Disk Defragmenter from the properties of a partition

5. Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from the Control Panel (all Windows versions)

Open Control Panel and search for "defragment". Click or tap Defragment and optimize your drives from the search results in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. In Windows 7, click Defragment your hard drive from the search results.

Search for defragment in the Control Panel from Windows 10

Alternatively, you can go to System and Security. Then, in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, click or tap the "Defragment and optimize your drives" shortcut from the Administrative Tools section.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives in the Control Panel from Windows 10

In Windows 7, click or tap the "Defragment your hard drive" shortcut under Administrative tools.

Open the Disk Defragmenter from the Control Panel in Windows 7

6. Open Defragment and Optimize Drives using Cortana (Windows 10 only)

If Cortana is enabled on your Windows 10 computer, you can ask her to open Defragment and Optimize Drives for you. After you activate Cortana by saying "Hey Cortana" or by clicking or tapping the microphone button in her search box. Then, say "Open defragment." Cortana executes the command and displays "Opening Defragment and optimize drives."

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives using Cortana

The same result can be obtained using the phrase "Open optimize".

7. Create a shortcut on your desktop or other places (all Windows versions)

If a desktop shortcut is your preferred way to start apps, you can create one for Defragment and Optimize Drives (Windows 10 & Windows 8.1) or Disk Defragmenter (Windows 7).

Use the Create Shortcut wizard, by following this guide: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows. In this wizard, type the destination: dfrgui.

Create shortcut for Defragment and Optimize Drives in Windows

8. Use the Run window (all Windows versions)

Press Win + R on the keyboard to open the Run window. In the Open field type "dfrgui" and press Enter on the keyboard or click OK.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from the Run window

9. Open the Disk Defragmenter from the Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)

You can use Command Prompt or PowerShell too. In any of these apps, type dfrgui in the command line and press ENTER.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from Windows PowerShell

10. Open Defragment and Optimize Drives by using Task Manager (all Windows versions)

You can open the defragmentation utility by using the Task Manager. Start the Task Manager (a quick way is by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC). In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can get the compact view of the Task Manager. In this case, click More details in the bottom left corner of the Task Manager. In the File Menu, click or tap "Run new task" in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 or "New Task (Run…)" in Windows 7. In the window that appears, type dfrgui in the Open field and press ENTER or click OK.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from the Task Manager

11. Open the Disk Defragmenter by using the address bar in File/Windows Explorer (all Windows versions)

Windows Explorer from Windows 7 or the File Explorer from Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are convenient ways to start the defragmentation utility. Type dfrgui in the address bar and press ENTER on the keyboard.

Open Defragment and Optimize Drives from File Explorer

12. Open Defragment and Optimize Drives by running its executable file (all Windows versions)

The executable file for the defragmentation tool is found in the System32 subfolder of the Windows folder. You need to identify the file dfrgui.exe and then double-click or double-tap on it.

Execute dfrgui.exe from File Explorer

How do you prefer to open the Disk Defragmenter?

We have given you a wide range of options for starting the defragmentation utility so that you can select the best method suitable to your needs. What is your preferred method to start Defragment and Optimize Drives or Disk Defragmenter? Let us know with a comment below.