Incomplete Defrag?



Running Defrag on a Dell Inspiron 6000 with WinXP in both normal and safe mode it gets about 25% complete, stops and gives message that some files on this volume could not be defragmented giving a list of files that couldn’t be defragemented. Is there a way to defrag those files running Defrag or another defrag program that will defrag those files?


Just curious, how much free space is left on the drive? You can try one of these free ones. You can defrag individual files.


Defrag needs some free space to maneuver, typically it needs about 15% of the total drive capacity to be open, so files can be shuffled around during the defragmentation. If your drive is very full, you may not be able to defrag it.



There’s 23% free space on the drive.


The thing is it may not be contiguous, meaning it might not be one big chunk of free space.


Some space is reserved for recovery


Does “The thing is it may not be contiguous, meaning it might not be one big chunk of free space” mean the drive may be unable to be defragmented?


Yes that is correct.

Dependent on the size of file the pc needs to temporally reallocate during the defrag process.

Do you not have the ability to free up some more space?



Some files could be moved to external USB drive. Would doing that allow Defrag to complete?


How big is your USB drive?

Try and move a descend size amount of files. Then try it. This will answer weather or not your hard drive is to full to defrag.



Try running chkdsk on the volume to see if there are any issues with the file system.


The files are probably in use by another program but that shouldn’t be 75% of them.Try a good Disk Cleanup .Shut down as many programs as possible.
As Nemesys posted try chkdsk first.
I have Vista & some files can not be opened bt my defragger Diskeeper.Such as:
Fragments File size Most fragmented files
130 2,352 KB \Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\index.dat [Cannot open]
3 48 KB \Users\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies\index.dat [Cannot open]
68 1,505 KB \Windows\System32\LogFiles\WMI\RtBackup\EtwRTDiagLog.etl [Cannot open]
8 128 KB \Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History\History.IE5\MSHist012009010220090103\index.dat [Cannot open]
14 256 KB \Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History\History.IE5\index.dat [Cannot open]


SmartDefrag and JkDefrag were tried with same results, i.e. incomplete defrag with analysis showing drive still needs to be defragmented. This seems to indicate there may be insufficient contiguous free space as suggested in Post #5 here. The external USB drive is 320GB or 8 times the size of the 40GB Dell drive. Disk Cleanup was run first, and Defrag was run in safe mode which would have minimal apps running. I’ll try chkdsk to see if that helps.


C:\ chkdsk /f



Chkdsk was run and gave message “Windows has found problems with the file system” and suggested running chkdsk /f which was done. However, running chkdsk again gave same result with same message and same suggestion. This was repeated numerous times (a half dozen or more times) with the same result. Apparently chkdsk finds problems and is unable to fix them which is likely the reason for the incomplete defrag. Is there another way to try to fix the file system problem?


I would suggest backing up some important material off the HD and free up some space. The more the better. Allow room for files to be shifted just in case your hard drive has bad sectors. The room is need so that if there are bad sectors it can flag them off and will never be used again This is what we need to find out the number of bad sectors on the HD. If the HD is starting to show a significant amount of bad sectors, this is a sign of a failing HD.

Try and download perfectdisk and use the it, I believe its a 15 or 30 day tiral version anyways that does not matter. If perfectdisk is able to run a complete scan it will give you a report on the number of bad sectors that your hard drive contains.



Are you running chkdsk from the command line or from the GUI tools option for the hard drive? If from the GUI, try to use the command line instead. You just need to enter the drive letter like so:

chkdsk C: /R

Try the R switch (it implies F also) and see what results you get.

I forgot to mention that you can temporarily disable the windows restore service to free up some more disk space when trying to defrag and also, using the disk cleanup wizard, you can delete the restore points already on your disk.


If you have 23% free space on the drive and yet unable to fully defrag it, most likely the fragmented files are system files or system restore points. It’s not unusual to see this happen.

Get the free trial version of Diskeeper 2009 pro, install it and leave it on auto defrag mode. It will defrag the files in the background. Run a boot-time defrag if the paging file is fragmented. I use the full version of Diskeeper and it’s pretty awesome; the trial version is the same…just that it works only for a month.


Chkdsk C: /R was done after which chkdsk was again run, again found errors and again suggested running chkdsk /f which seems to mean errors were still unable to be fixed. I suspect the file system problems is cause of incomplete defrag and that it’ll likely be a waste of time to attempt defrag until file system problems are fixed. Are there any other suggestions on how to fix file system problems found by chkdsk?


Have you tried the programs suggested by Platinumsword and Nightscribe? Other than those there is DFT (drive fitness test) and I believe Seagate’s Sea Tools will work on other manufacturer’s drives.
If you know the make of your hard drive you can see if the manufacturer provides some downloadable diagnostic program.
If none of the above work and you believe this drive is worth saving, you might have to do a reinstall of windows (not what most people want to do, I know, but when all else fails it’s usually the best choice).