Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Defrag organizes the data on your disk for faster and more optimal access. If it crashes it's probably a problem with the disk's data.
I am unable to defragment my computer. I used to be able to do this but some 6 months or so ago, I noticed I could no longer do so. I could start the process but every time I got to around 10% defragged the computer would reboot. Sounds silly I know but I run XP on a Celeron 26000 and have tried everything I know to fix, short of re-installing. I am at a loss. Could you please shed some light on my problem? Have you come across this before?
I do have some ideas, yes. My guess is that there's something wrong with the data on your hard disk or the disk itself. The good news is that in all likelihood we should be able to repair it.
I would guess that the most common cause of the defragmenting software crashing is a "logical" problem on the disk. By "logical" I mean a corruption of the data on the disk, like the directory entries or the disks lists of areas that aren't in use.
My first step would be to run CHKDSK. Specifically, "CHKDSK /F".
Fire up a Windows Command Prompt (usually in Start, All Programs, Accessories, and type in CHKDSK C: /f (I'm assuming C: is the drive you want to defragment). It'll probably ask if you want to schedule the CHKDSK for the next time you reboot, to which you would say yes:
Reboot your machine, and allow CHKDSK to run to completion. Once your machine has completed booting back into Windows, try to defragment again.
If it still fails, I would next re-run the CHDSK command, this time using the "/R" switch (CHKDSK C: /R). This should perform a more thorough scan of your hard disk looking for errors and repairing them if it can.
If it still failed, I would next run the System File Checker to make sure that the files that comprise Windows itself are intact. Since the disk defragmenter is a part of Windows, if some component of this tool has been corrupted, this should repair it.
Finally, if things are still failing, then I'd seriously consider a hard disk repair and recovery tool such as SpinRite. It's not free, but it has a stellar record of repairing hard disks that have or are on the verge of failing. Since I believe that the disk defragmenter is most likely crashing because of problems with the disk, a run of SpinRite, followed by another run of CHKDSK, would be close to my last best guess at repairing this situation.
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