Hardware

Diskeeper 7.0: Your new weapon in the fight against fragmentation

When you can't trust your users to routinely defrag their hard drives, check out the latest version of Diskeeper to remotely perform and schedule defragmentation tasks yourself. Steve Pittsley has the details.


Support techs often handle the defragmenting of user hard drives, which takes a considerable amount of time to do on a regular basis. However, Executive Software has just released their Diskeeper 7.0 defragmentation utility, which allows you to defragment client workstations from the comfort of your administrative workstation with its new push technology, remote execution, and scheduling functionality. Let me tell you about a few of the new features that make Diskeeper 7.0 a cut above its predecessors.

Introducing Diskeeper 7.0
Diskeeper 7.0 can be used on Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, and XP platforms. Its patented algorithm makes the defragmentation process run extremely fast. Before writing Diskeeper 7.0 off as just another third-party utility, you should know that Executive Software worked with Microsoft to write the API hooks that all of today’s defragmentation utilities use with the Windows platform. In addition, Executive Software collaborated with Microsoft to develop the Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter utility. If you're familiar with this utility, you'll notice that Diskeeper 7.0 bears a striking resemblance to it, as illustrated in Figure A.

Figure A
Although it was developed with Executive Software and looks similar to the latest Diskeeper version, Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter doesn't offer all the features of Diskeeper 7.0.


The appearance is the only similarity between the two utilities. Windows Disk Defragmenter allows the administrative user to defragment a local partition, and that's all. Diskeeper 7.0, on the other hand, is chock-full of options and functionality, including three powerful new functions that allow you to remotely install Diskeeper 7.0 on client workstations, defragment their hard drives, and then create a defragmentation schedule that will run on a routine basis to keep the volumes fragmentation-free. These three options set Diskeeper 7.0 apart from all other defragmentation utilities.

Remote installation
One of the highlights of Diskeeper 7.0 is the ability to push an installation of Diskeeper 7.0 to virtually any Windows workstation on your network, which allows you to install and run the utility from your administrative workstation.

To remotely install Diskeeper 7.0 on a client workstation, you must log in to a server using an account with domain administrator rights. The server you log in to can be another Windows workstation, or in the case of our example, it can be a Windows 2000 file server.

Start the remote installation wizard by selecting Diskeeper 7.0 Remote Install from the Start menu. When you click Next at the Welcome screen, the remote installation program will query the network for workstations available for installation of Diskeeper 7.0, as illustrated in Figure B.

Figure B


When the search completes, a screen will appear showing a view of the network. To select a workstation for Diskeeper 7.0 installation, select the check box next to it, as illustrated in Figure C.

Figure C
To remove Diskeeper 7.0 from a workstation, click Remove, in the upper-right portion of the Diskeeper Remote Installation dialog box.


After selecting the workstations that are to receive the remote installation of Diskeeper, click Next. The installation routine will remotely install Diskeeper 7.0, and you can check the progress from the screen showing which workstation the software is being installed on. The client workstation will not be affected by the installation, and the users will hardly notice the software being installed on their computer. When the installation is complete, Diskeeper 7.0 will be available on the workstations' Start menus without requiring a system reboot.

From the installation log, shown in Figure D, you will see on which workstations Diskeeper 7.0 installed successfully and which ones had problems.

Figure D
After viewing the installation log, click Next to proceed to the final screen and then click Finish to complete the installation.


Running Diskeeper 7.0 remotely
Once you have installed Diskeeper 7.0 on a client workstation, you can remotely run the utility. Choose Select Computer from the Action menu, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E


You'll see the Select Computer dialog box, where you will be asked to select the computer on which to run Diskeeper 7.0, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F


The next screen will reflect the attributes of the system whose drive you want to defragment. From this point on, you'll be working with the remote computer system's volume. For example, when you click Analyze, you will be analyzing the remote system's partition. When you click Defragment, you will be initiating a defragmentation of the remote system's hard drive or partition.

When you begin a remote defragmentation of a volume, the system at first will be quite slow. However, once the Diskeeper 7.0 engine is started, the remote system will run normally, and the process will be nearly transparent to the user. The only indication that something is happening on the client computer is the tray icon showing that Diskeeper is active (see Figure G).

Figure G


Set It And Forget It
Diskeeper 7.0 includes Executive Software's Set It And Forget It technology, which allows the defragmentation to be scheduled and run as a background process with absolutely no interaction from you or the user.

Set It And Forget It has two modes in Diskeeper 7.0. The first is Disk Volume Scheduler, which allows you to schedule the defragmentation of partitions on the local system. This option isn't new to Diskeeper 7.0, so I won't cover it in this Daily Drill Down. However, the Network Scheduler functionality is new to Diskeeper 7.0. It allows you to schedule regular defragmentation of a client workstation.

To configure Set It And Forget It scheduling, select the Network Scheduler option, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H


Once you select the Network Scheduler option, the Network Scheduler dialog box will open (see Figure I).

Figure I


All client workstations with Diskeeper 7.0 installed will be displayed in tree format, allowing you to select and schedule drives and partitions for regular defragmentation.

Next, you must select and schedule each volume on the client workstations for defragmentation. You have two options for this: set all volumes for the same schedule, or create individual schedules for each volume. To schedule an individual volume for defragmentation, you must click the Selection option, which is on the right side of the Network Scheduler dialog box (see Figure J).

Figure J
The default choice is ALL, which sets all of the volumes to the same schedule.


Next, highlight the appropriate volume and then set the schedule. To do this, you have four options to define: Run, And, When, and Between. The first one, Run, allows you to define how often you want Diskeeper 7.0 to run. Run options include One Time, Continuously, Every X Hours, and Smart Scheduling (see Figure K).

Figure K


For my example, I chose Smart Scheduling, which allows Diskeeper 7.0 to determine when it is necessary for the volume to be defragmented. Each time a defragmentation occurs, the software keeps track of how many files are moved. When the number of files moved increases, the defragmentation frequency also increases. Conversely, as the number decreases, so does the frequency of defragmentation.

After selecting how often Diskeeper 7.0 will run, determine on which days you want Diskeeper 7.0 to run. The default selection is Every Day. This might be a good option to set for a busy file server, but it might be overkill for the average client workstation. For my example, I selected the Except Weekdays option. This will cause Diskeeper 7.0 to run only on weekends, when there are fewer people in the office.

Next, determine the time that Diskeeper 7.0 will run. The default option is All Day, but again, this option seems a bit too much for the average workstation. I chose Between 6:00 A.M. And 2:00 A.M. This means Diskeeper 7.0 will not run between these hours. So, in my example, Diskeeper will run sometime between 2:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. To apply your schedule selection, click the Volume Set button.

The final schedule selection is shown in Figure L.

Figure L


According to the settings in this image, Volume C will be defragmented when necessary, between the hours of 2:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M., and Diskeeper 7.0 will only run in the background on the computer system on the weekends. As you can see, Diskeeper 7.0 is scheduled to run next at 3:03 A.M.

Conclusion
I’ve used previous versions of Diskeeper 7.0, and they are all excellent products. However, Diskeeper 7.0 adds more remote functionality. To try Diskeeper 7.0, you can download a 30-day trial version from the Executive Software Web site download page. On this page, you'll also find a neat little Test-For-Yourself Defragmenter Comparison utility, nicknamed Fragger. It fragments a 9-GB partition so you can test Diskeeper 7.0 and compares it to other defragmentation products. I’ve used this utility and found it helpful for comparisons because it will fragment the hard drive the same way every time, allowing you to get a true comparison between products. The results convinced me that Diskeeper 7.0 is worth the investment.

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