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Windows 7: Defrag won't start

20 Sep 2010   #11
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello again.

Windows 7 will not defrag an SSD, it's off by default for SSDs, so don't be concerned about that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2015   #12

Windows® 7 (64-bit)

( 1786 days later . . . )

So I came upon this thread looking for a solution to my particular situation, which is simply that I absolutely cannot run the Windows®7 defragger from the command line, despite everything looking to be normal and in place.

The specifics in my case:
  • Firstly I do NOT have a file called defrag.exe in Windows®7; what I have is dfrgui.exe Well. I mention that because I have seen, on web pages that discuss the Windows®7 defragger, images where the author is clearly invoking defrag.exe from the command line, not dfrgui.exe. If it matters, this is Windows®7 Pro -x64.
  • When I run dfrgui.exe from an elevated command shell absolutely nothing happens, by which I mean I just get another prompt. If someone were to open a cmd shell, type just a colon ( this→ : ) at the prompt, and hit Enter, they would see exactly what I see when I type dfrgui in place of a colon.
  • The Disk Defragmenter service was, and is, set to Manual on my system, so that isn't the problem.
  • The HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\DefragPath registry key is set to %systemroot%\system32\dfrgui.exe, so that's as it should be as well.
  • If I try running the Windows defragger from the GUI, it does in fact run fine, in that if I point to a drive, call up its properties, select the|Tools|tab, and click the [ Defragment now… ] button, I get the little Windows®7 Disk Defragmenter pop-up window ( with Disk, Last Run, and Progress columns ), and all functions like [ Analyze disk ], [ Defragment ], and [ Configure Schedule… ] work fine.

It appears I simply cannot run it from the command line, but everything is in place as you can see, and it should also work from there.

I'm not expecting a plethora of answers (always wanted to use that word          ) because, somewhat understandably, I expect most folks to be of the "leave well enough alone" persuasion, but I still want to fix this, so if anyone has any ideas not already covered by my bulleted list above, I'd love to hear them.

* * * * * *

Message to the OP (McDougal)

You can, in fact, schedule defrags with the auslogics® defragger as well. And here's a secret : a lot of commercial defraggers are really just front ends for the Windows®7 defragger, meaning they give you a much nicer user interface to see what's going on, but use the Windows defragmentation "engine" to get the actual work done… and auslogics® is one of these. If you find this surprising or even hard to believe ( I did at first ), try this :

  • open up the Windows®7 defragger and turn OFF the scheduler… make sure it isn't set to run automatically at any time on any day
  • start up the auslogics® defragger, and configure that one to a schedule… doesn't have to be very involved, just set it to something specific like, say, having drive C: defragged daily at 2:00 AM… then close it, making sure your scheduled settings were saved
  • lastly, open up the Windows®7 defragger again… you had turned off scheduling, right?… so why does it now say at the top Scheduled defragmentation is turned on… run at 2:00 am every day… next scheduled run: yyyy-mm-dd 2:00 am, lol  ?!? Point being that, since scheduling exists in the Windows®7 defragger, all a 3rd party defragger has to do is include a menu for the user to set scheduling preferences, since those parameters will just be passed along to the Windows®7 defragger as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2015   #13

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Okay on my machine Windows 7 HP:

I have the following files:
Defrag won't start-defrag_dfrgui.jpg
Note: I don't actually use the built in windows defrag.

However it would seem that defrag.exe exists in WINSXS so it's a missing system file on your machine (unless it's set to "hidden" view)

I'd suggest attempting to replace the file in system32 using the copy in WINSXS. I personally use software in order to replace system files so maybe wait for other suggestions on this. If nobody helps I can post the method that I use.

Note: dfrgui.exe would seem to be the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for windows defrag. That's my guess.

My System SpecsSystem Spec


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