EDIT: Update on 3/18/2011: The instructions below still work, however, I would now recommend that you try the free programs Smart Defrag 2 and Game Booster 2 (which can defragment game directories), both by IObit
, to do this for you instead. Link to download page here
. They also have several other good programs, some are free, some are not, however the free versions are reduced functionality versions of the product that do work quite well (such as Advanced SystemCare Free, which I highly recommend). No I don't work for them.
Slow FS2 loading or lags during gameplay can be caused by fragmented files in your FS2 directory. If you don't want to take the time to defrag your whole hard disk (sometimes it can take 4-6 hours, depending on how large the drive is, and when you last did it!), you can use Contig (short for "make Contiguous") to defragment just your FS2 directory and subdirectories.
1) Download Contig
from Sysinternals (Microsoft)
<- click this link for some more info if you're wondering why Sysinternals is now going Microsoft.
Contig.exe where you want it (if you put it in your Windows directory, you won't have to switch directories when executing from command prompt)
3) Download Power Defragmenter GUI
from eXcessive Software.
Power Defragmenter GUI.exe to the same place as Contig.exe
5) Create a shortcut to Power Defragmenter by:
a) Right-click on the Desktop, go to New > Shortcut
b) Browse for the location of Power Defragmenter GUI.exe, or type it in, eg:
c) Hit "Next"
d) Enter the name you want to use for the shortcut, eg Power Defragmenter Contig
e) Hit "Finish"
6) Open Power Defrag, click "Next"
7) Choose "Defragment folder(s)...", click "Next"
) Browse for, or type the folder(s) you want defragmented. (Sub-directories of specified folders are automatically defragged.)
9) Click "Defragment"
- You can also copy or move this shortcut to anyplace you'd like, eg the Start Menu; just open the location in Windows Explorer or My Computer, and press and hold your right mouse button on the Power Defrag shortcut as you drag it to the desired location.--You can also use PowerDefragmenter on the folder of any program you'd like to speed up. (Hmm, C:\Windows, C:\Program Files\...)---If you want to defrage your Hard Disk, instead of using Windows' Defrag, open Power Defrag and select "Power Mode(TM) Disk Defragmentation"
I posted this, because I don't know about anyone else, but I get problems with my FS2 install after installing big new mods, playing for a while, moving them around etc, not to mention my other progs eg FireFox, and my HD takes hours to fully defrag... so here you go! Have fun!
PS Here are the old instructions, in case you want to run Contig manually from the Command Prompt.
1) Hit Start>Run, type "cmd" without the quotes, then press Enter.
2) switch to the directory where you put Contig.
and hit enter to switch drives, unless you're already in the correct drive. (C: = drive contig was saved to, eg, for drive D it's D:)
If you saved to your "My Documents" folder, type:
cd "\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents"
-that is with the quotes included, and replace "User" with whatever your username in Windows is (see top of your Start menu usually its there)... it's easier to save Contig somewhere else, such as "\Downloads" or similar and use that; or, if you unzip it to your Windows directory, you don't have to use cd at all (cd = changedir or change directory)
3) run Contig by typing
Contig "C:\Games\FreeSpace2" -s
where C: is the hard disk you put FS in, \Games\FreeSpace2 is the directory you put FS in, and the switch -s is to make sure that all of the given directories' subdirectories are processed.
You can even make a batch file to do this with one click (assuming you don't have batch files disabled)
1) Open Notepad : Start->Run, type notepad and hit Enter.
2) type in the commands as you would if you were at the command prompt.
contig "c:\games\freespace2" -s
3) Hit "File-Save As..."
4) enter the name you want, make SURE it ends with ".bat" (without the quotes); also make SURE the "Save as type" is changed to "All Files"; otherwise, your file will be named "<name>.bat.txt" and won't run. (in which case, you could rename it, but...)
5) Hit "Save"
Now, when you run that file, it will defragment for you!
- You can also put a shortcut to the batch file you created in your StartUp folder, to defragment every time the computer starts up.
-- You can use Contig on anything, eg
contig "c:\windows" -s
contig "c:\program files\mozilla firefox" -s
Don't worry; contig doesn't take lots of time defragging at each startup; I posted a picture of contig when I ran it on my FS2 dir after already defragging it with contig... it took all of about 2 seconds (actually less) to go through 3.25 Gigs of FS2 goodness and declare that all was well and good.
Update: you can also use PageDefrag
to defragment system files that aren't normally able to be defragmented, eg, the Windows pagefile, hibernation file, and registry, among others.
Simply unzip the program to a directory of your choice, then select your options (Defrag at next boot, Defrag at every boot, or cancel a previously scheduled Defrag, aka "Don't defrag (uninstall)") as well as your desired abort countdown time (the time in which you can press any key to cancel the scheduled defrag upon system restart... really only useful with the "Defragment every boot" option).