Originally posted on TCAT Shelbyville - Technical Blog:

You may be able to improve your hard drive’s performance in Windows 7 by using this registry tweak.   Like any registry tweak, you should have all of your files backed up and make a restore point before trying this out.

Computer hard drives are connected to the controller on the motherboard of the computer.  A lot of computers today may have the hard drive configured to use the older IDE interface protocol to communicate with the SATA drive.

If your new hard drive supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing)you may see a performance increase with the drive by following the tweaks below.

An easy solution to switch between IDE and AHCI is to change the following registry key.

Before doing this see if your BIOS has AHCI capabilities

  1. Open Registry Editor and move down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci.
  2. Right click on the Start DWORD and click on Modify.
  3. Set the value…

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Defraggler 2.09

I’ve used Defraggler before and gave up on it because of its performance.   Now Defraggler by Piriform may be worth another look.   With benchmarking, defragmenting and drive health, this may be one of the best defrag utilities available.

What makes it different?  You can physically see data move to the beginning of the drive and it DOES take time.  I truly believe it works better than other defrag utilities when we used it as a test on a virtual server where the defragmentation was only 1% – but data was scattered across the drive.   During its defragmentation process, it moved the data and took over two hours aligning the files to the beginning of the drive.   The speedup and performance could be seen.

Note: Before defragmenting a drive, utilities such as CCleaner should be used to remove any unwanted files.

Piriform’s most recent version 2.09 is loaded with dozens of options and is available for free at Piriform, the home of CCleaner.

A Quick overview is provided from the main menu screen.  This allows you to see your drives quick health, map and space information.

A more technical view is provided below including health, firmware, serial number and exact model number of the drive your are defragging.

Action Menu

  • Analyze (allows you to see the fragmentation status of your drive)
  • Defrag Drive (Full defragmentation of  drives – very thorough – prioritizing files and access – can take hours)
    If you want a truly defragged hard drive, this is the best option
  • Quick Defrag Drive (Defrags your drive moving files quicker – within minutes)
  • Defrag Folder (Used on folder that may contain many files that often change)
  • Defrag File  (Usually used on huge files that may be split or fragmented)
  • Advanced – Allows the Hard Drive to be tested and allows for defragmentation of Freespace

Settings Menu

  • Drive Map (Styles and Colors)
  • Schedule    (Once, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Startup or Logon)
  • Boot Time Defrag (Options for defragging on boot)
  • Priority
  • Shutdown



The scheduling goes above most defrag programs.   Defraggler allows for advanced configurations for individual drives and allows further options that allow limits and options that can conserve power.

The benchmarking program allows you to quickly benchmark your drive at any time.   To see how defragging your hard drive affects user experience, you should benchmark before and after.


After a Quick Defrag

This quick defrag shows a reduction of 513 fragmentations however, the fragmentation remains at 6%.   A full defrag is of course more thorough and requires more time.   To finish my computer the final time was around two hours.  Did it make a difference?  Yes.   I could see a significant improvement (in my case) with VirtualBox.  Over a period of time while testing operating systems in VirtualBox, the .vdi files (2 Gb to 6 Gb) had been fragmented on my computer’s hard drive.

Here’s an example of the power if you have patience to wait during the defrag.  The hard drive below could be quickly defragged with other defragmentation software.   As you can see the data is all over the place and reported by other software as defragged but during defragmentation with Defraggler, it  is aligned.


Related article -

Test Your Hard Drive Speed With Windows 7’s Device Manager