Defrag S/W Review

September 17, 2009 at 08:48:26
Specs: Windows XP, 2.5GHz Duo / 4GB
I have found that the defrag programs are not working as I expected. They don't seem to consolidate. In order to determine which defragment does what I tested them. Since my drive is 640 GB this is a new challange for this software since most of this software was developed in the day when HDD were no bigger than 50 GB. Some of the defrag s/w was of little use to me because I don't need or want mp3 drives or movie drives orgranised by last access methods etc. These kind of drives are better organised by folder/filename. True big files don't really need to be defragged as much as small files BUT if I do a search on a drive or update mp3 tags then yes it does make a difference where the mp3 files are physically placed on the volume. Large Video Files need the least amount of defrag. If they are split in 10 pieces it makes no difference but if they are split in 100's of little pieces then it can start to make a difference.

Windows drives on the other hand benefit greatly from smart file placement methods. So I expect my defrag s/w to be able to defrag both data drives and windows drives. Most defraf s/w either does very little or specializes in Windows drive defrags. Oh yes, I am defragging FAT32 and NTFS in Windows XP. FAT32 is most compatible with my MAC so I am forced to use it.

I still think the easiest defrag is to copy all data to another drive and then format and copy back.
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Power Defragmenter 3.0

TriplePass
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: DEFRAGS FILES BUT DID NOT DEFRAG FREE SPACE PROPERLY
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Disk Defragmenter 1.0

Defragment
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: DEFRAGS FILES BUT DID NOT DEFRAG FREE SPACE PROPERLY

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Auslogics Disk (Good Simple Program Little or No placement control)

Defragment
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: DEFRAGS FILES BUT DID NOT DEFRAG FREE SPACE PROPERLY

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Piriform Defraggler (Good Simple Program Little or No placement control)

Defrag
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: DEFRAGS FILES BUT DID NOT DEFRAG FREE SPACE PROPERLY
Result: Nice but it FRAGMENTS FILES TO FILL THE FREE SPACE which is clever because it is fast but stupid because it fragments more files!!!

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PerfectDisk 10 (You have ONLY one choice for File Placement - SMARTPlacement Method) (TSR Ability and Boot Defrag)
(Some Strange Results)

PerfectDisk's ability to defragment all NTFS metadata
Consolidate Free Space
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: DEFRAG FREE SPACE WORKS strangely copying files to the end of the driver and leaving them there. Moving files that are fine.
Result: PerfectDisk is different from other programs like UltimateDefrag since it places the least modified files at the outside edge of the disk (which is the fastest place according to UltimateDefrag). It makes no sense they can't both be right.

"PerfectDisk treats files created or accessed in the last 31 to 60 days as Occasionally Modified, and places them next to Recently Modified files (but closer to the outside edge of the physical disk where access times begin to increase). Finally, PerfectDisk treats files created or accessed more than 60 days ago as Rarely Modified and places them next to Occasionally Modified ones, but even closer to the outside edge. Boot files go all the way to that edge, where they are easy to locate during boot time (and unused thereafter)."

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UltimateDefrag 2008 (1st PLACE - once they fix the huge number of BUGS)
(Respects Layout.ini)
This otherwise brilliant defrag suffers from major bugs and this makes it hard to evaluate properly. For example when it defrags in a totally unexpected way is this due to bugs or configuration problems. Either way they need to fix the bugs and change the configuration options which are very badly layed out. It is like they made the config options as hard and as confusing as possible by splitting them into two different locations. It becomes very hard to configure because you don't know for sure which config options the defrag is using or not. All intuitive use of the config is totally lost, I found myself endlessly refering to the manual which is something I almost never do. Of Course if you ONLY want to do a basic defrag then it is fine but when you want fine control over what UltimateDefrag is doing believe me it gets confusing as hell.


"Then take the remaining 20% (the files that you use the most) and place them on the outer tracks of your drive where performance is 180 to 240% that of the inner tracks. You then consolidate them closely together (i.e. maximize seek confinement) - the result is that the data that you actually access - booting your computer, loading programs, frequently used data files are on the area of your disk that is 200% faster"

File/Folder with MFT and Respect High Performance ON Strict Placement (Sorted)
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data
Result: This mode goes COMPLETELY MAD at about 35%, after doing hours of work it starts UNDOING the perfect work that it has ALREADY completed!!! MAD!!!
Result: BADLY BUGGED PROGRAM.

Auto on C: with MFT and Respect
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data on C: and order with High Speed Auto
Result: This mode finishes with 25% fragmentation remaining on C: This totally sucks even if UltimateDefrag does not think these files need to be defragmented. The program did not do what I asked it to do. If I complete the defrag and immediately ask it to defrag C: again, it takes forever. So the question is, if it did it correct in the first place then the second time I run it, it should have nothing to do and finish very quickly. I can only come to one conclusion.
Result: BADLY BUGGED PROGRAM.
Result: Another time it left gaps... It is definately badly bugged. NOT IMPRESSED BUT NEXT VERSION MIGHT BE VERY COOL

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O & O Defrag (2nd BEST - Pretty Decent Program)
(Respects Layout.ini)

COMPLETE\Name
Goal: Defragment and Consolidate ALL data (Order Alphabetically)
Result: If you have to stop and restart it always restarts at 26% no matter how far you were with the defrag. Very Annoying. UNDOING perfect work. But you can work around this by excluding directories that have already been done!

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Diskkeeper 2009 (You have ONLY one choice for File Placement -
Advanced Last Accessed Method)
(TSR Ability and Boot Defrag)

Seems to be totally focused on most accessed method on all drives. Very little choice to defrag any other way.

Does not show you the drive that it is defragging graphically (in order to save CPU usage) which is fine if you are a IT Admin person but totally irritating. I want to see what the drive looks like and I want to know which files are being moved and where. Plus I want to be able to click anywhere on the drive and get info displayed about which files are there and what there status is.

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Paragon Total Defrag

Did not use it much. Uses direct disk access.

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#1
September 18, 2009 at 02:02:02
Remember that the logical disk does not correspond exactly to the physical disk (think in terms of multiple platters and recording surfaces), so manual file placement as advertised by some of the utilities is not really true.

I've tried a few defraggers, finally settled upon Diskeeper a while ago. Now I use the 2009 Professional version and couldn't be more pleased with it. It's automatic operation is excellent - just install and forget, it's got intelligent file sequencing (benchmarks the filesystem and sequences the files accordingly), it defrags system files, runs with even 5% free space, and it uses barely any resources while doing all this. That's the way defrag should be: an automatic background process that is transparent to the system user. Manuallly 'optimizing' file 'placement' and defragmentation on the logical disk in the hope of mirroring it on the physical disk, is merely a waste of time.


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