Unsatisfactory Disk defragmentation (Windows XP)

Windows system tool (Disk defragmenter), upon analysis of my 'C' drive tells me "I should defrag".

When defragmenter is about 20% completed, I receive the message "Some files could not be defragmented, Check report for list of files".

Body of defrag. report,  tells me '1 folder, 2 files fragmented'.    But the 'List of files box' below, does not list any files at all.

Can anyone tell me how to resolve this issue?

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nader alkahtaniConnect With a Mentor Network EngineerCommented:
The Disk Defragmenter utility does not fully defragment the drive.
A volume must have at least 15 percent free space before the Disk Defragmenter will completely defragment the volume. If you have less free space available, the operation will run, but only partial defragmentation will result. Check the value at the right of the drive entry in the Defragmenter console to confirm current free space values for the selected drive. If necessary, delete or move files to make extra room.

You cannot defragment a volume that Windows has marked as possibly containing errors. To troubleshoot this possibility, enter chkdsk c:/f at any command prompt, substituting the letter of the drive in question.

The Disk Defragmenter does not defragment files in the Recycle Bin. Empty the Recycle Bin before defragmenting.

The Disk Defragmenter does not defragment the following files: Bootsect.dos, Safeboot.fs, Safeboot.csv, Safeboot.rsv, Hiberfil.sys, and Memory.dmp. In addition, the Windows page file is never defragmented. (See the text following this sidebar to learn how to work around this issue.)

With some large files, it takes several passes to fully defragment the files in question. If the View Report option shows one of these stubborn files, try moving it to another drive before running a full defragmentation pass. After defragmentation is complete, move the file back to its original location. You should be able to copy the file to the newly optimized drive without any problems.

Disk Defragmenter will pass over any files that are currently in use. For best results, shut down all running programs first. For even better results, log off and log back on (using an account in the Administrators group) before continuing.

Hi Bigarty,

I would check the disk for errors,


Scandisk is now Error-checking (chkdisk).
Open My Computer, double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop.
Right click your hard drive | Properties.
On the Tools tab, under Error-checking, click Check Now.
Under Check disk options, check both boxes.
You have to reboot for Error-checking to run.


Then try to do the defrag.

Olso you might want to try and do the defrag in safe mode to see if that makes any difference.

There are some files which are best not defragged...   These could be the ones it is referring to..:


Moving the following files (if present) can cause desktop problems:

The following files are unmoveable system files. They are always displayed in green in the defragment analysis display:
NTFS Master File Table (MFT) and Reserved MFT Zone: Usually contiguous at the very beginning of a NTFS volume but can become fragmented if many files and folders are added to a volume.
NTFS Master File table Mirror (MFTMirr): Usually located in the middle of a volume and is already contiguous.
Virtual Memory Paging file: Used for temporarily swapping pages of memory to disk.
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BTW:  the first thing to do is run chkdsk on that drive as per IceRaven..!!  This may clear up your problem...  

nader alkahtaniNetwork EngineerCommented:
The command-line Disk Defragmenter does not provide any status indicator except for a blinking cursor. To interrupt the defragmentation process, click in the command window and press Ctrl+C.

Using Disk Defragmenter’s Analysis Report, you can determine whether your page file is fragmented. (For an explanation of how the page file works, see "Making the Most of Virtual Memory.") Although page file fragmentation is normally not a serious issue, a severely fragmented page file can reduce your system’s performance. Disk Defragmenter cannot consolidate your page file, because Windows holds it open while you work. However, if you have more than one volume available (even if the second volume is on the same physical hard disk as your system drive), you can work around the problem as follows:

Open Control Panel and double-click the System icon.
On the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box, click the Settings button under Performance.
On the Advanced tab of the Performance Options dialog box, click Change under Virtual Memory.
From the list of available drives, choose a volume other than the one that holds your current page file. This drive will hold your temporary page file.
Choose the Custom Size option, enter settings in the Initial Size and Maximum Size boxes to match your current page file, and click Set.
Select the drive that contains the fragmented page file, set the Initial Size and Maximum Size boxes to 0, and then click Set.
Reboot to allow your system to stop using the old page file and begin using the new one.
Defragment the drive that previously held your page file. This consolidates the free space on that volume so that your new page file will be stored in contiguous space.
Repeat steps 1 through 6, this time creating a page file on the original disk and eliminating the temporary page file you created.
Reboot to allow the new, defragmented page fil
BigartyAuthor Commented:
Issue resolved.

My thanks to NADIR for a very very easy to follow detailed answer.

Thanks also to others who contributed.

nader alkahtaniNetwork EngineerCommented:
You are welome
sorry this comment after 10 years
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