Defrag does make a difference. Another important aspect is having the right size Windows Disk Cache. In WinXP, I use Cacheman to set the Disk Cache to "Maximise throughput for File Sharing" with 512MB of RAM. In Win9x/ME I would recommend for most users a cache of Min/Max 16384KB. See my sig for my machine specs. I haven't done anything special aside from using the tools listed in the posts above. What are your HDTach results?