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Advanced Computer Systems

Networking, Help Desk, & Custom Software

Can’t Defrag Or Scandisk? Try “Safe Mode”

In "Let Windows Get Organized" we discussed how you can defragment your hard drive  Unfortunately, there are often background programs that stop the defragment process or cause it run endlessly.  The problem is usually caused by background programs running on your computer. Most of them usually have an icon near the clock.  By Right-Clicking on them and selecting “exit” or “disable” you can “turn them off” before defragmenting begins.  This usually allows the defragment utility to run.  If that doesn’t work for you then you’ll need to switch your computer to “safe mode”. When a computer is in “Safe Mode” it will not run memory resident programs and certain special drivers for your computer. “Safe Mode” is often used when your computer is acting up as a means of removing malfunctioning startup programs and damaged device drivers. You don’t normally want to operate your computer this way because you video won’t look as good and certain devices won’t work, but it’s just fine for the defragment program.  After defragmenting you’ll want to reboot the computer again to let it start in “normal mode”.




   Because maintenance utilities push the computer and the hard drive to work harder than they normally do, it is possible (although unlikely) that existing hard drive problems might be uncovered during their operation. Microsoft recommends that you ensure you have a backup of important information before running disk utilities.  We agree.  Be sure any important information you have on the computer is backed up before running any disk maintenance programs!


How To:

1)      Close all open windows.

2)      Click Start->Shutdown->Restart.

3)      Begin tapping the “F8” key as the computer restarts.

4)      If it boots all the way to windows go to step (2) and try again.

5)      If you get a black screen with menu, select “Safe Mode”.

6)      Double->Click on “My Computer”.

7)      Right Click on your drive (normally C:) and click “Properties”.

8)      Click on “Tools” tab.

9)      Click on the “Defragment Now” button.


   After the defragmenting is done you can click Start->Shutdown->Restart.  The computer will normally restart in normal mode.