Software

Five Apps for disk defragmentation

So long as we continue to use and abuse our platter based drives, we will continue to need defragmentation apps.

With the prices of SSD coming down like a falling rock, more and more folks are ditching their hard disks and moving towards this faster medium of storage - at least as an operating system drive. Unfortunately, for the storage hounds among us, SSDs that are over 512GB can be prohibitively expensive while good old-fashioned platter drives are still king when it comes to acquiring massive capacity on the cheap. Because of this, the chore of disk defragmentation will still be with us for the foreseeable future, so long as we use and abuse our platter based drives to no end. To accomplish that task, here are five apps that will safely defragment such drives thoroughly and efficiently.

Five Apps

1. Defraggler

Defraggler from Piriform Software has to be my personal favorite. It's extremely lightweight and doesn't impact your system's performance too much while running. Defraggler has the ability to not only defrag whole disks and partitions, but also individual files. This can be quite useful if you just want to sort a few large files and leave the rest of the drive alone, which would save you time. There is a free version of Defraggler with basic functionality, additional features are available in Pro ($24.95) and Business ($34.95) versions.

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2. Diskeeper

Although a commercial software product, with a starting price of $29.95, Diskeeper has a proven track record, which it has established over the years, and the latest release is no different, delivering the same reliability and performance as it always had. Diskeeper offers an intelligent background defragmentation mode that quietly sorts files whenever the computer is idle. Also, those still running Windows on the flagging Intel Itanium architecture can take solace in the existence of an Itanium build of Diskeeper. A trial version of Diskeeper is available.

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3. MyDefrag

Formerly known as JkDefrag, this little application might not look as polished on the surface, but does still manage to pack files in nice and tightly. Within the initial options area that you view when you first start MyDefrag, in addition to the standard defragmentation options, there is a choice for defragging an SSD, using a special script. Given the limited write cycles count that an SSD has, the author recommends only using the option sparingly. MyDefrag is free.

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4. Auslogics Disk Defrag

There's not much to it. This no-frills product, Auslogics Disk Defrag, offers basic defragmentation without any fancy features. For some folks however, simpler is better and has less to get in the way of the user. When I investigated the settings area, a VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) compatible mode switch is available, which can be used to prevent excessive changes being made to shadow files in the event of adjusted bits on the disk. There is a free version of Auslogics Disk Defrag, but you can also purchase a subscription for $29.95 which will keep the application up-do-date.

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5. Puran Defrag

Puran took notice of the competition, particularly in Piriform's Defraggler, and made an attempt to deliver a useful product, with the ability to defrag individual files in addition to whole disks and partitions. Additionally, a boot optimizer is available which is said to shave a few extra seconds off your Windows loading times. Puran Defrag is free.

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An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

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