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If you are using a regular hard drive with a spinning disk, over time it may get cluttered and fragmented. This fragmentation reduces the responsiveness of the hard disk. This is especially true if you are using the hard disk for a long time without defragmenting. To deal with this, Windows automatically defragments your hard drive once a week when you are not using your computer. Of course, it doesn’t defragment your SSD as it doesn’t need it.

Note: before making any changes to the Windows Registry Editor, make sure that you have a good backup. It helps you roll back if anything bad happens in the process of editing.

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:

Name the new key runas and press the Enter button. After you create the key, this is how it will look.

Once you are done setting up the value data, this is how it looks in the Registry Editor.

Now, name the new value as “Extended,” and press the Enter button. There is no need to add any value data for this value. Just continue to the next step.

Name the new key as “command,” and press the Enter button to save the changes.

Since we used the verbose switch (-v), you can see all the details in the command window as Windows defragments the selected drive.

Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.

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How To Defrag Your Windows Hard Drive

Due to the difference in technology, HDDs are inherently slower than their SSD counterparts, and their performance decreases over time as you store more and more data on them. This can be attributed to data fragmentation during the writing process. However, there is a simple fix for it called defragmentation. In this article, we will go over a few simple methods to help you defrag your Windows hard drive and get a significant performance boost.

What Is Defragmentation?

To understand what defragmentation is, you need to know how a hard drive works. Think of the latter as a train where the coaches store and carry data. Every time you add more data to your hard drive, it’s broken down into smaller pieces or fragments, and a new coach is added to the train to store that data. These coaches are added in a sequential manner.

Now, during the process of storing more data, the hard drive fills up the empty coaches with some fragments of data and creates new coaches for the remaining pieces. This results in data being scattered all across the hard drive. Even though it seems efficient that those empty spaces are finally being used, that’s not the case.

The issue here is that whenever data fragments are stored farther away from each other, it takes a while for your computer to recollect it all before it can be presented to you again. This slows down the overall reading speed of that hard drive. This is another reason why hard drive-based computers tend to slow down when your storage is almost full. The process of reversing this breakdown and reorganizing the data on the hard drive is called defragmentation.

These days Windows automatically defrags mechanical hard drives. However, it only works for drives that are physically connected to your motherboard. So, if you have an old or external HDD, it’s always a good idea to defragment it yourself for a smoother performance.

How To Defragment Your Hard Disk in Windows 10 and 11

Now that we know what defragmentation means, we can begin with the steps to do it manually on your PC.

1. Use the Disk Optimization Tool

Open the disk optimization tool – search for the “Defragment and Optimize Drives” program in Windows Search.

Check the percentage of fragmented files in the results.

Note: There’s no hard and fast rule regarding how fragmented your drive should be before you can defrag it. However, you should try to maintain the fragmentation level below 5% so that the defragmentation process doesn’t take too long.

When Windows is finished with the process, the Optimize Drives program should show your drive as 0% fragmented.

2. Schedule Optimization

You can put this whole defragmentation process on an automated schedule from the same location.

3. Use the Command Line

Press Win + X and choose ”Windows Terminal (Admin)” from the pop-up menu.

To defrag that drive, use the following command, replacing X with your drive letter:

defrag X

Wait for the defragmentation process to complete.

If you want to defrag your whole system except for your main drive, use this command instead: defrag /E X:. Here, X is the letter of the drive you want to exclude.

4. Use a Third-Party Defragging Tool

Instead of using the inbuilt defragging tool, you can also use third-party defragmentation tools like MyDefrag or Auslogics Disk Defrag to achieve the same results.

Depending on your drive size, it can take a while to defragment your HDD.

Once the process is complete, you will get a message that says “Defragmentation Complete.”

Close Disk Defrag.

Frequently Asked Questions Are there reasons not to defrag your computer?

If your computer has a mechanical hard disk installed or you have an external hard disk, you always want to defrag those disks. The only exception where you never need to defrag your computer is when it’s using only a Solid State Drive (SSD) or an M.2 NVMe Drive, because those are modern versions of mechanical drives and automatically defrag themselves without requiring manual intervention. If you defrag these drives, at best, it will do nothing, but it can also cause unnecessary wear and tear if done multiple times.

How often should you defrag a hard drive?

For most Windows users, defragging an HDD once a month should be fine. You can use your PC’s inbuilt “scheduled optimization” feature to set a monthly cleanup cycle for your hard drive. Not only does it reduce the need to do it manually, it also improves the performance of your HDD. However, if regular defragmentation of your hard drive does not speed it up, you should consider upgrading it to an SSD.

Image credit: Pixabay

Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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Mia For Gmail: Access Gmail From Your Mac’s Menu Bar

For a popular email service like Gmail, there is no shortage of third-party apps to extend its functionality and productivity. Regardless of the operating system (or browser) you are using, you are sure to come across a few Gmail apps and extensions that claim to improve your productivity. Mia for Gmail (Mac only) is one of them, and it allows you to check and manage your Gmail account right from the menu bar.

Mia for Gmail is a Mac only application that sit quietly in the menu bar and notifies you when there is an incoming email.

1. To get started, simply download Mia for Gmail from its website. The free version only allows you to connect to one Gmail account. You can upgrade to the premium version for $2, and it will allow you to connect to multiple Gmail accounts.

2. Open the .dmg file and drag it to the Applications folder.

3. Launch the Mia for Gmail app from the Launchpad.

4. Once launched, you will find a Gmail icon in the menu bar. It will also prompt you to add a Gmail account.

5. Once connected, you should see the MIA Gmail icon lit up and showing the number of unread emails in your inbox.

Preferences

In the Preferences section, there are a few things that you can configure:

Notification – Get notified for every incoming email. This can be a disturbance if you have plenty of incoming emails every day.

Open at login – This will make MIA for Gmail run every time you log in to your computer.

Hide status mail counter – This will hide the unread count beside the MIA for Gmail icon.

View only unread emails – Only display unread email in the drop-down list.

Check every xx mins – You can configure how often the app checks your Gmail inbox.

Conclusion

MIA for Gmail is a nifty app that allows you to manage your Gmail account(s) without a browser. It is not a complete replacement for your Gmail web account, as it doesn’t come with many of the useful features in Gmail like search your email, label sorting, etc. Also, it only displays the top ten emails in your Inbox, and there is no option to configure that which is rather disappointing. However, for those who can’t live without leaving their email inbox open, and yet still want to kick the habit of peeking into their Inbox every few minutes, this app is worth trying out.

Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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Back It Up: Most Dead Hard Drives Fail Within 3 Years

In the original report, Secure Data Recovery came to its discovery by cataloging the details of 2,007 faulty drives from six prominent manufacturers, with capacities ranging from 40GB to 10TB. Backblaze’s latest release of drive statistics (which the cloud storage and backup service publishes quarterly about the storage powering its data centers) paints a similar picture.

In fact, for the Q1 2023 info drop, the company purposely dug into its own data from the past ten years, after seeing the Secure Data Recovery info. Turns out that Backblaze’s 17,155 failed drives clocked an average age of two and half years—or a little bit less than the average of two years and 10 months in the SDR report. The longest-wearing drives survived for almost five years while the shortest lived bit the dust in less than a year.

Need to back up your files? If so, check out our roundup of the best Windows backup software available right now.

Backblaze

Backblaze also breaks out the dead drives by their model numbers and capacities, providing a deeper glimpse into individual drive reliability—sort of. The company cautions against making assumptions about capacity influencing potential lifespan, especially the data initially suggests that smaller drives last longer than larger ones. Backblaze’s data centers have completely retired lower capacity storage while the fate of some bigger models remains to be seen. But in case you were curious, the average age of Backblaze’s failed drives no longer in operation is…two years and seven months.

Backblaze just drove a stake into any assumptions that a bigger data pool would soften or disprove Secure Data Recovery’s results. If your drive is going to bite the dust, it’ll happen sooner than most people expect—though the chances of it happening aren’t as high as some people might fear. Backblaze found that of 236,893 drives and 30 different models, they had a 1.4 percent lifetime annualized failure rate (or general rate of failure within any given year of service since Backblaze began tracking this data). So the likelihood of your storage dying is pretty low, especially considering the drives in Backblaze’s data centers is being run much harder than in an average person’s computer.

Backblaze

Still, 1.4 percent of the millions of drives out in the world is still a big number and you won’t know if you fall into that unlucky group until your drive stops responding. And that’s a point that Secure Data Recovery stressed in its post, recommending the classic 3-2-1 approach. (See, tech journalists aren’t trying to scare you unnecessarily). That translates to three copies of your data on at least two different forms of media (e.g., two separate drives or one drive and the cloud), with one copy stored off-site.

One of the best backup programs

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office

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Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating and maintaining that many copies of your data? It’s actually not much work if you use the right tools. Our guide walks you through the basics of setting up a backup system. We’ve also got suggestions for the best automated backup software, external hard drives, and cloud backup services. Remember, a drive having a short natural life isn’t the only reason to back up. You could end up on the wrong side of ransomware, your computer getting destroyed by an act of nature (or man), or someone making off with your PC.

How To Erase Your Personal Data From Your Old Windows Pc

Getting a new PC, laptop or smartphone is always something to look forward to. Upgrading from your old machine to a new one allows a fresh start and a better user experience from a faster processor, more memory or a better graphics unit – and above all lets you plan out how to set up your machine to your liking from a fresh slate.

Before you get too caught up, it’s important to remember to think about your old device. You’ll need to make sure you wipe all the data from it by formatting the hard drive – but unfortunately that doesn’t always wipe all data, including personal information, as this can still be recovered with good data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Windows.

To make sure all your data has been completely removed from your former device, you’ll need some powerful and easy-to-use software that makes sure nothing is left buried in the corners of your old machine – and this is where BitRaser comes in.

BitRaser is a powerful software tool that will quickly, safely and securely wipe all data permanently from a selected hard drive, beyond recovery. The software is extremely easy to use and even easier to deploy as it runs from a USB stick – so you’ll just have to plug the USB stick into the machine, select the drive you’d like to wipe and let it do its thing.

The software works for all manner of devices from Windows PCs, Laptops and Macs through to Android and iOS smartphones. Bitraser will erase data on your device to make it completely irrecoverable by any data recovery program for your ultimate peace of mind.

This software comes from a professional background. Bitraser is highly scalable and is designed for corporate use, as it can erase up to 32 hard drives at once or up to 65,000 drives for large ITAD while providing a full audit report after it has completed its task. It meets 27 international data erasing standards, including DoD and NIST, and puts this power in an easy to use format. Software designed for large corporations handling sensitive data, made easy and simple enough to use for anyone to get to grips with.

BitRaser’s website offers detailed ‘How To’ guides on how best to deploy the software across a range of different scenarios which you can take a look at here.

Free technical support is offered 24 hours per day, 5 days per week and free managed deployment make BitRaser as simple as possible to deploy into a business environment. BitRaser for file variant allows you to schedule erasure processes and will maintain a detailed log of all the files that have been deleted from the selected storage device. Crucially, the software will also provide a certificate of erasure that the customisable reports remain tamper-proof and helps the client comply with statutory and regulatory compliance needs for both security and privacy, particularly in the wake of GDPR.

BitRaser offers a whole host of products on their website to suit the needs of their customers. Bitraser for files, for example, offers the same high quality service but allows you to target specific files and folders and remove them completely, making them irrecoverable. BitRaser is an innovation of

The Five Forces Of Context Marketing

A book review of Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

This book provides a summary of current thinking in providing effective customer experiences to support commercial goals. It’s not a “how to” guide, but summarises current thinking which should inform digital strategies.  So what exactly is context marketing? Essentially, it’s about combining insight about customers and prospects combined with personalisation to deliver the right content to the right audience of users at the exactly the right time to satisfy the users requirements and as Hubspot states:

‘A decade ago, making personal connections with people on your website was no more than a pipe dream — the technology simply wasn’t available. Today, we have the technology to truly deliver the right message to the right person at exactly the right time. It will fundamentally change the way we do business…’

Hubspot have created a useful briefing on the elements of context marketing available for download if you’re interested in more detail.

In this book, authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have created the 5 Forces of Context Marketing in their book, Age of Context.

They identified the convergence of five key components helping to fuel the growth of context marketing and helping to set the stage for a future digital world that will be re-defined through these 5 forces of: mobile devices, social media, big data, sensors and location based services.

5 Forces of Context Marketing

1. Mobile Devices

Mobile devices outnumbered humans in 2012 according to a report by Cisco. Author Mitch Joel refers to the The One Screen World where we should stop counting screens and create our content, products and sales channels for the one device in front of our customer’s eyes, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Our digital strategy should be encompassing all of these together, not treating each one in a silo.

We are also witnessing mobile by its very definition to begin to redefine and flourish into new and innovative products such as the growth in wearables and the launch of Google Glass being the classic example. Juniper Research estimate the unit sales of wearable’s will rise from 15 million in 2013 to 70 million by 2023.

It is estimated by Gartner that apps were downloaded 45 billion times by 2012.

2. Social Media

Social Media provides the basis for real-time, online conversations. It is expected that social will further integrate with these four other forces, providing a real time platform for people to connect, interact and share personalised content which can be distributed through your social connections based on your location and what you’re doing.

Market research Company Forrester predicted that investment in social networks will increase by 300% over the next 5 years, a growth fuelled by the desire of individual and organisations to distribute timely content with their community.

Social Media has ‘matured’ to become a channel that directly supports and complements other digital tactics employed by organisations, in particular SEO where the social signals are becoming a more important source of information to search engines to define the relevancy. As with the growth in mobile devices and the explosion in Apps, most if not all successful apps contain a social media component.

 3. Data

IBM estimates that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years. This perhaps fuels the phrase, ‘Big Data’.  But it isn’t Big Data we should be addressing, it should be about how to dilute the size of the data and make this actionable data, i.e. data that can provide insights, forecasting and opportunities for your organisation.

The ability to disseminate, extract and segment data are the skills required by organisations in ensuring the data being monitored and measured is the data, data-sets that can have a positive impact on the business.

The demand for analytics provides a level of quantitative analysis on key data sets impacting a business and more importantly, where informed decisions can be taken.

For example, measuring data to understand how effective an organisation is in engaging and driving a reach objective through digital channels is essential in order to understand which channels need to be resourced and invested in. Avinash Kaushik, author and founder of Market Motive defined web analytics as ‘the objective of tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative internet data…for marketing initiatives’.

With the explosion of data so there required organisations to provide data storage centres but at the same time, an ability for ‘Joe Public’ to easily access and identify what data sets they were looking for, enter Google. What Google quickly realised was the requirement for this data to be categorised in a logical manner and PageRank was born, a complex grouping of algorithms to determine the relevancy of search engine pages.

We’ve seen more recent entrants into this data market which have looked to create a niche and exploit opportunities in different ways to categorise such data with the arrival of Facebook and their focus on data sharing between groups of people and using your friends understanding of social behaviour patterns.

 4. Sensors

Simple little things that measure and report on change and in doing so emulate the five human senses. Although having been in existence for more commercial, industrial requirements such as in factories, it wasn’t until 2007 and the launch of the Apple iPhone which introduced a sensor to provide the facility of a touch screen. Other sensors were also included such as the ability to change to horizontal or vertical view and finding Wifi.

Since 2007 the growth in sensors has exploded through mobile apps using sensors to understand where you are and what you’re doing, mobile apps which alerting shop stores when a loyal customer walks through their doors, when your running shoes need replacing or even tracking shark movements in the water to alert surfers of imminent danger

 5. Location

The authors view Google as the ultimate contextual company. Recalling some of the innovative products Google has launched, it looks as though this is their ultimate goal, e.g. the development of their own Android operating system will provide them with the ultimate research in data sets of what audiences are doing, using it for, downloading and engaging communication with.

A similar approach to why Google launched Google+, it is not wanting to compete head on with Facebook as the lead social network, more so, it is used as a vehicle to support the ever growing list of digital products developed by Google and in turn to create a rich data set on who and what their audience is e.g. Gmail, YouTube, Google Shopping, Personalised Search – Google wants to answer the question: “We can predict what you’re going to do next”

Google Glass could prove to be the ultimate product in determining a suite of location based products in further building a complete picture of their audience.

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