Applies To: Windows 10, Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel), Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012

Locates and consolidates fragmented files on local volumes to improve system performance. Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to run this command.


defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes>    [/H] [/M [n]| [/U] [/V]]
defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> /A [/H] [/M [n]| [/U] [/V]]
defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> /X [/H] [/M [n]| [/U] [/V]]
defrag <volume> [/<Parameter>]*


Parameter Description
<volume> Specifies the drive letter or mount point path of the volume to be defragmented or analyzed.
A Perform analysis on the specified volumes.
C Perform the operation on all volumes.
D Perform traditional defrag (this is the default). On a tiered volume though, traditional defrag is performed only on the Capacity tier.
E Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.
G Optimize the storage tiers on the specified volumes.
H Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).
I n Tier optimization would run for at most n seconds on each volume.
K Perform slab consolidation on the specified volumes.
L Perform retrim on the specified volumes.
M [n] Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background. At most n threads optimize the storage tiers in parallel.
O Perform the proper optimization for each media type.
T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.
U print the progress of the operation on the screen.
V print verbose output containing the fragmentation statistics.
X Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.
? Displays this help information.


  • You cannot defragment specific types of file system volumes or drives:
    • You cannot defragment volumes that the file system has locked.
    • You cannot defragment volumes that the file system has marked as dirty, which indicates possible corruption. You must run chkdsk on a dirty volume before you can defragment it. You can determine if a volume is dirty by using the fsutil dirty query command. For more information about chkdsk and fsutil dirty, see additional references.
    • You cannot defragment network drives.
    • You cannot defragment cdROMs.
    • You cannot defragment file system volumes that are not NTFS, ReFS, Fat or Fat32.
  • With Windows Server 2008 R2 , Windows Server 2008 , and, Windows Vista, you can schedule to defragment a volume. However, you cannot schedule to defragment a Solid State Drive (SSD) or a volume on a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) that resides on an SSD.
  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run As to perform this procedure.
  • A volume must have at least 15% free space for defrag to completely and adequately defragment it. defrag uses this space as a sorting area for file fragments. If a volume has less than 15% free space, defrag will only partially defragment it. To increase the free space on a volume, delete unneeded files or move them to another disk.
  • While defrag is analyzing and defragmenting a volume, it displays a blinking cursor. When defrag is finished analyzing and defragmenting the volume, it displays the analysis report, the defragmentation report, or both reports, and then exits to the command prompt.
  • By default, defrag displays a summary of both the analysis and defragmentation reports if you do not specify the /a or /v parameters.
  • You can send the reports to a text file by typing >FileName.txt, where FileName.txt is a file name you specify. For example: defrag volume /v > FileName.txt
  • To interrupt the defragmentation process, at the command line, press CTRL+C.
  • Running the defrag command and Disk defragmenter are mutually exclusive. If you are using Disk defragmenter to defragment a volume and you run the defrag command at a command-line, the defrag command fails. Conversely, if you run the defrag command and open Disk defragmenter, the defragmentation options in Disk defragmenter are unavailable.


To defragment the volume on drive C while providing progress and verbose output, type:

defrag C: /U /V

To defragment the volumes on drives C and D in parallel in the background, type:

defrag C: D: /M

To perform a fragmentation analysis of a volume mounted on drive C and provide progress, type:

defrag C: mountpoint /A /U

To defragment all volumes with normal priority and provide verbose output, type:

defrag /C /H /V

Scheduled task

Defrag's scheduled task runs as a maintenance task and is usually scheduled to run every week. Administrator can change the frequency using Optimize Drives application.

  • When run from the scheduled task, defrag has below policy for SSDs:
    • Traditional defrag (i.e. moving files to make them reasonably contiguous) and retrim is run only once every month.
    • If both traditional defrag and retrim are skipped, analysis is not run.
      • If user ran traditional defrag manually on an SSD, say 3 weeks after the last scheduled task run, then the next scheduled task run will perform analysis and retrim but skip traditional defrag on that SSD.
    • If analysis is skipped, the Last run time in Optimize Drives will not be updated. So for SSDs the Last run time in Optimize Drives can be a month old.
  • This maintenance task might not defrag all the volumes, at times because this task does the following:
    • Doesn't wake the computer in order to run defrag
    • Starts only if the computer is on AC power, and stops if the computer switches to battery power
    • Stops if the computer ceases to be idle

Additional references