Windows

Review: UltraDefrag tool

UltraDefrag is an open source defragging tool that is superior to the default Microsoft tools.

The steps necessary to defragment a Windows hard drive is one of the first things users should learn how to do. Before you blame a virus or malware for a slowing PC you should determine whether drive fragmentation is the culprit. Since most of the defrag utilities that come with the various versions of the Windows operating system are less-than-stellar, it's always a good idea to have a choice. UltraDefrag is an open source defragging tool that is superior to the default Microsoft tools. And UltraDefrag offers command line tools, as well as a micro edition that can be installed on a USB drive. The inclusion of UltraDefrag in your toolbox is a no brainer.

Supported Windows releases

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7

Additional UltraDefrag information is available from Sourceforge.net

For a closer look at UltraDefrag, check out the TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

UltraDefrag is for anyone who needs a more powerful, reliable, faster replacement for the standard Windows defragmenting tools as well as the administrator who could use a portable version for on the go troubleshooting.

What problem does it solve?

UltraDefrag makes defragging a hard drive a task that doesn't have to be handled overnight. With the size of hard drives getting ever-larger, the defragging tools of the past (especially those that ship with the Windows operating system) just won't cut it. UltraDefrag drastically cuts down the time necessary for the defragmenting process. And with the "micro" version you can have a version of UltraDefrag with you at all times.

Standout features

  • Lightning fast defragmenting
  • Light weight
  • Ability to defrag at startup
  • Single file or entire directory can be defragged
  • Logging and debugging
  • Easy to use GUI
  • Uses MS Defrag API so file moving is safe
  • Built-in filters

What's wrong?

The one problem that might cause many administrators take pause when considering this tool is that it is not digitally signed by Microsoft. For most users this isn't a problem, but for some administrators in larger-scale environments, the MS digital signature is quite important (even if only for liability sake). The other issue is more user-based, in that most users neglect to regularly defrag their Windows hard drives. It would be nice if UltraDefrag included with a suite of tools that would make users more inclined to defrag on a regular schedule.

Competitive products:

Bottom line for business

UltraDefrag is a tool that every administrator should use based on one simple need: speed. UltraDefrag is one of the fastest (if not THE fastest) defragging application I have used. And when you are dealing with a large number of machines, speed is crucial.

User rating

Have you encountered or used UltraDefrag? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

80 comments
conndrst
conndrst

Auslogics Disk Defrag Is Way Better Faster and More Reliable UltraDefrag is a waste

arcom
arcom

Installed on a relatively fast Vista business machine with a 650 gig HD of which 8 gigs were used. Analyze showed 12% fragmentation. I ran the program. Next day (7 1/2 hrs later), it showed being only 30% done. Trash can!

denkile
denkile

All applications, especially security software, must be closed/shutdown otherwise it is slow and does not do as well. Do the trials on the full defragmenters like PerfectDisk, O&O, Diskeeper and compare with this (I did). The "compact" function takes an hour, rearranges the files, and improves performance. (The other full defrags take longer; stay shorter.) I use the "compact" monthly; the boot defrag and XP defrag at startup daily. It works for me. THIS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVES PERFORMANCE -more so than registry repair -on P4E, SATAI(1,5), DDR1-400 2x1GB CL3 T2 (Where it is needed and makes a difference; on AM3 or i7 it may not show) -improved performance esp in IE8 web pages, and McAfee scann

rsbrux
rsbrux

Since XP, Windows has offered disk optimization as a background process. I thought that using this was supposed to eliminate the need for periodic defragmentation with a separate tool. Comments please?

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

no one has mentioned Diskeeper. I've been using it since NT4.0 with great satisfaction. V10 changed the UI in an unpleasant manner, and I'd be interested to see you evaluate DK's latest offering.

Jessie
Jessie

Formerly known as JKDefrag, which another TR member posted about previously. It's got delightful command line tools and a very pretty GUI. Using it in Vista or Windows 7 you would have to turn off UAC to use the screen saver option (because UAC will of course prompt you if you want to allow it to access your drive). I use MyDefrag with PageDefrag to defragment the system files on boot. Keeps my systems running smooth... that and NOT installing all those freaking toolbars that are FREE with any piece of software you may need on your computer... I hate those freaking free toolbars!!!

rhettotten
rhettotten

I tried Ultra Defrag on a WinXP machine, and it was very slow. I stopped it before it finished. Smart Defrag 1.2 is much better!

Fionnmaccumhailus
Fionnmaccumhailus

Won't install properly on Win7 64bit (no icons to executables). Puts all it's stuff in the windows system32 folder and the executables won't run manually either. Also caused a one-time boot failure. Maybe installed a virus (I'm hunting)? POS and/or dangerous?

Mark.Moran
Mark.Moran

I tried out this tool recently on 2 laptops I was servicing. When using the consolidate space option the defrag driver caused a system crash/reboot on both laptops. If it had just been 1 laptop I would have put it down to the machine, but 2 out of 2 makes me somewhat wary of this app.

Eric
Eric

I find the user interface limiting and lacks feedback. Almost childlike in it's design.

ComputerFieldsInc
ComputerFieldsInc

--------------------------- Error! --------------------------- Can't load ultradfg driver: c0000428! Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. --------------------------- OK ---------------------------

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

Speed, huh? It took UltraDefrag almost 45 minutes just to ANALYZE a 150GB partition that had 35% free space. (Running Vista Business) Actually, I STOPPED it when it reached 70%. Yeah, it only got to 70% complete in 45 minutes. I'm not talking about the freakin' defrag time... no no no... just to A-N-A-L-Y-Z-E the drive. There was no way in hell I was going to actually run a defrag after waiting 45 minutes... and even at that point it was only reporting 3 fragmented files. WTF?!?!? If I didn't know any better (and if it wasn't September) I'd say this was some kind of sick April Fool's joke.

cant_drive_55
cant_drive_55

One problem I have with any defragger is that if you use it while using an incremental image backup program (like Acronis or StorageCraft), you will blow the next incremental out of the water with changes since the deltas are based on block changes.

msawyer91
msawyer91

I am quite picky about digital signatures, and I often find it annoying when developers don't digitally sign their software. While I am employed full time for an IT company, I do freelance software development and I take the time to secure an Authenticode digital signature. Sure they can be expensive--starting at about $200/year from the more reputable, well-established CAs, but they convey a much more professional, polished look--and can certainly help you boost sales if you sell software you develop. Getting such a signature, however, is not for the faint of heart. Reputable CAs like VeriSign, thawte and GoDaddy do not issue code-signing certs to individuals--at least not by name. Some may argue that something that is open source, freeware, public domain, GNU licensed, etc. cannot be digitally signed. Hogwash. The licenses for such software may preclude you from commercializing it; in other words, making it your own proprietary code and charging people for it. But a digital signature does nothing more than these two things: 1. Verifies that you/your business signed it. 2. Proves the code wasn't tampered with after it left your hands. So it certainly gives a warm and fuzzy feeling to people. And since "fly-by-night" rogue companies likely won't get a digital signature, since no reputable CA would want to tie their reputation to a rogue entity, a digital signature tells people that you're (most likely) legit. So if you get your hands on some open source and make your own changes to distribute, sign that code! Users will thank you for it. Matt

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

I have been a fan of SmartDefrag for a while now. How does UltraDefrag compare to SmartDefrag?

Aragorn7
Aragorn7

You already posted this product on Aug 5th 2009 on http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/window-on-windows/?p=1397 and got a great deal of feedback. So, why post this again? As to "What's Wrong?", again you have not told users that in Vista and Windows 7, the UAC must be turned off, which will diminish their protection against malware. This info is still posted on the author's website. I think administrators will have a huge problem with disabling the UAC and so should most consumers.

RechTepublic
RechTepublic

Not being able to schedule defrags in Windows is a myth. I have used scripts to automate defragging in XP and Vista. Windows 7 defrag has built-in scheduling which should make it even easier to keep systems defragmented. Perhaps there will even be a GPO setting for defrag. Best yet, Windows defrag is approved and supported by Microsoft.

wkorfhage
wkorfhage

I'm trying UltraDefrag on a well-fragmented hard disk (36% fragmented), and the UltraDefrag GUI leaves me unsure if it is doing anything or not. It has been up for an hour and a half, and the display hasn't changed a pixel since it displayed the original analysis. The progress bar on the bottom still shows 100%, so that is obviously meaningless. The process explorer shows that it is taking up CPU and an increasing amount of memory, but I still can't tell if it is actually doing anything. I think it is time to uninstall it and move on.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Can't learn how to use it; UD does not even install on Windows 7. So, it is worthless for me.

rubmop
rubmop

Or might I say still having same problem since two hours has passed and it is not through yet. Anyone have any ideas why this might be? I don't think the author would have said lighting fast if the program took so long to work. By the way the machine I put it on has been idle except for running the defrag. As someone else mentioned, I like Auslogics, it really is fast.

ErickTa
ErickTa

Its a tiny freeware defragger that has both 32 and 64 bit versions, doesn't need an installer and works great.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

So which defragger would you recommend? I'm looking for Product Spotlight ideas.

computechdan
computechdan

why would anyone attempt to back up while defraging?

warnerpeter
warnerpeter

Vopt has a special vss compatible defrag which eliminates the problem with incremental backups. For a PAID program, I have used Vopt (used to be VoptXP) for many years. For the free program, I use Smart Defrag ( I install on systems I build for Clients). Vopt is fast, thorough and has been around a long time even though they don't spend as much money in marketing as the "Big Boys".

The Computer Doctor
The Computer Doctor

I also am a fan of SmartDefrag. I am installing it on all the machines where I'm the administrator. There are a few things SmartDefrag's setup could do better that would greatly enhance it. 1. Not delete a previous installs settings! 2. An MSI install would help automate install greatly. 3. Being able to install a newer version in the background remotely. 3.This is a wish that probably won't ever come true in a free product. A means to centrally manage all the installs of SmartDefrag on a network for authenticated administrative users.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I just downloaded smartdefrag, but so far I like it. Ultradefrag took almost 2 hours just to analyze. Smartdefrag took about 2 minutes to analyze then it suggested which option to choose Awesome, thanks for this bblackmoor.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I asked Jack to write a Product Spotlight review of UltraDefrag so I could get some feedback on it as a product. The previous blog post was in the Windows blog as a How do I. The feedback I receive here will lead to other defragging tools that we should consider for Product Spotlight reviews.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

While there may be a few legitimate problems that can be addressed by UAC, for the most-part UAC is a ridiculous farce--its targeted at people who aren't aware they're logged in as Administrators. It serves no purpose other than to annoy people that know how to do their jobs. And the same (or similar enough be a negligible difference) amount of gain could be achieved by having (for example) Microsoft's all-powerful Web-browser default to running as an unprivileged account. Finally having a working privilege escalation is a "good-thing"--but Windows is still miles away from having a USEFUL privilege escalation scheme, specifically one that doesn't equate "Security" with asking for double and triple-confirms of things. In short, make it work more like Linux and less like MS' philosophy is "everybody is too stupid to remember to breathe on their own."

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

"again you have not told users that in Vista and Windows 7, the UAC must be turned off, which will diminish their protection against malware." Poppycock. UAC is meaningless. Like any "security theatre", it serves no purpose other than to inconvenience legitimate users. However, I do think it's odd that the same author has written two blogs on the same product in such a short time. It's an open source product, so it's not like he is getting kickbacks or anything. I guess he just REALLY likes it.

geo
geo

I find Auslogics to be the best. Simple and easy for most people to use. No warnings when you download it either. And it does look suspicious when you write about and push the same product twice in such a short time. (nscave.com)

duwayne
duwayne

I have used and compared both UltraDefrag and Auslogics' Defrag. I fin Auslogics faster but UltraDefrag more complete and like UltraDefrag's ability to defrag free space which is much more difficult to accomplish under Auslogic's Defrag tool.

carlosk2005
carlosk2005

Perfect Disk from RAXCO SOFTWARE (Microsoft Certified Gold Partner) is the only defrag. tool I know that defargments not only the file system, but also the Master File Table, the Paging File, the Hibernate File, the Metadata & also Directories; this is done at boot time. Only with PD you can get the best performance. Scheduling, unattended & individual defrag fully supported also. Add to this a Registry Defragmenter (Glary Utilities for ex.) & you'll get the best tuning you've ever dreamed of for you machine.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

"Best yet, Windows defrag is approved and supported by Microsoft." That means absolutely nothing. The whole "digital signature" thing is nothing more than security theatre. It means as much as Homeland Security making you throw your shampoo in the trash at the airport -- if they REALLY thoight it was a bomb, do you think they'd have you put it into a trash can right next to them? NO. They know it's a farce. Everyone knows it's a farce. The only people who are fooled by security theatre are the people who believe that the nice man in Nigeria needs help getting his money out of the country. The "digital signature" farce is no different.

warnerpeter
warnerpeter

I'm a sick person. I get great joy watching my System defrag. I've used most modern defrag programs both paid and free and on my personal system, I use Smart Defrag and occasionally Defraggler when I need very fast defragmentation only. Both are free programs which work extremely well. I have used Auslogic and UltraDefrag and Ultimate Defrag and O&O and PerfectDisk and Diskeeper and several others and I still prefer Smart Defrag. It can create a schedule, optimize and even shut down your system after it completes (if you want). That part I really like. I can start a defrag--and go to bed. When I wake up, my system is ready to go.

rpr.nospam
rpr.nospam

I would recommend DirMS (which stands for Do It Right Microsoft :-)) - www.dirms.com. I use dirms.exe ver. 1.2.2.0 that was free (like free beer). It is a command line utility, works fast and does the job right.

Royc_1
Royc_1

But that was my question. I do not understand why anyone would run anything else let alone a defrager while running an image program.

gar123
gar123

Have used Smartdefrag for a few months now. Works great and hasn't corrupted any systems that I have installed it on.

Royc_1
Royc_1

Thank you for your explanation. Because of it I will give Ultradefrag a try. Over a year ago I found a shareware program Prefect Defrag, that I tried and registered. But with 4 other computers here I had to find some thing cheaper. :) I found Smart Defrag and after trying it on one of the other systems I am using it on all 5 of the systems here. It is as fast as Perfect Disk and seems to do as good a job too. I am looking forward to reading your next post about the defrag utilities.

Aragorn7
Aragorn7

Thanks for the explanation? Makes sense. I hope the feedback will prove useful.

Aragorn7
Aragorn7

Obviously you and bblackmoor do not work with residential customers and SOHO clients. Therefore, I can appreciate your positions. However, I cleanup numerous PCs and laptops from malware infections for those very clients and I can speak from experience in this arena. The following are my comments from the other blog on Ultra Defrag: Is life easier without the UAC? Yes. But to say that turning off the UAC poses no security risks is just plain false. I clean up infected systems all the time. Infected XP machines (by the time the customer calls me) can take up to 3+ hours to fully clean the system, clean the registry and repair damaged or missing files. On Vista PCs where the UAC has been left active, infections are dramatically reduced and when they do get infected, the clean-ups generally take no more than an hour because the UAC limits the extent of the OS exposed to malware. Say what you like about the UAC being annoying, it does work. Also, on the signature issue that the Ultimate Defrag site demeans. I, personally, like the idea of having all drivers digitally signed. If Microsoft would also exercise this policy for all of their drivers, as well, systems could be even further protected from malware drivers posing as Microsoft drivers. If you want a secure system, some sacrifices have to be made. XP is versatile, but not near as secure as Vista. Vista is more secure but not as friendly to open source programs like Ultra Defrag. So let the User beware and pick his own poison.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

I've been using both Auslogic and Ultra for at least a year, now. My experience is just the opposite. Auslogic is twice as fast as MS, and Ultra is twice as fast as Auslogic, tho' not as thorough. Maybe it's my _old_ systems.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

Why would anyone want to defrag the PageFile? Oh, wait,...because they left it the C: partition where it constantly causes the fragmentation of other files. I find that one of the simplest things is to put it in its _own_ little Swap partition.

Aragorn7
Aragorn7

People who don't clean-up malware for a living don't realize how helpful digital signatures are. I routinely use Process Explorer to find malware infected processes. Processes with Digital Signatures may be safely disregarded. One exception to the benefit of signed digital signatures is rootkits. But rootkits don't show up as a process anyway and therefore must be dealt with differently. Dollars may be involved, but there is a current benefit and enhanced security with digital signatures. To say otherwise is to ignore the studies that have been done showing the improved security of Vista over XP and for that matter my own personal experience. To be sure crackers will eventually learn to circumvent this protection completely, but for now it is indeed helpful.

Realvdude
Realvdude

If it is part of windows, MS has to support it. As for digital signatures, those merely prove that a file was signed with a security certificate, which is supposed to guarantee the identity of the author. Also don't be confused between a digital signature and MS certified; an author does not need MS to sign their files and installations.

blarman
blarman

The digital signature has almost zero to do with security and 99% to do with money. In order to get a digital signature from Microsoft, you have to pay them absurd amounts of money and wait months for them to "test" your application before you can receive the signature. It's a money game, pure and simple. If it were really about security, Microsoft would create an automated website where you could upload your code, it would run the test, and then return the signature - all for a _small_ fee (

rubmop
rubmop

I too have always enjoyed watching a defrag, a registry fix, etc etc. I am a sucker for a free utility albeit some have questionable effectiveness.

Royc_1
Royc_1

Thanks for the info. I am in the process of evaluating it and will try to put it on my users systems next week.

macgvr
macgvr

I have tried Ultra and Smart defrag. Must say I prefer Smart Defrag. It is faster, more stable and has more features. What's not to like?

carlosk2005
carlosk2005

Nice workout, assuming you have established a fixed size for your paging file, or put it in a partition with enough free space, but... in a PC with Windows preinstalled I just don't like to mess around with new partitions, I've had bad experiences doing that, like loosing my Windows install & having to format whole HD & reinstall everything from zero ... and, you still need to defragment MFT, Folders, Hibernation file (if you use it) & Meta Data.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

I agree with blarman; it is a lot about money and a little about compliance. Everyone wants certified to work with windows so the OS will just run it. It doesn't mean a lot; it just means the OS can get screwed up by a certified app. Diskeeper told me to buy a more expensive version defrag a home system with 1Tb, Defraggler took over 10 hours to run the drive before I stopped it unfinished. SmartDefrag told me it would finish in less than an hour (we will see how that matches in about a half hour), UltraDefrag will not run on Win 7 RC with UAC turned off (it must have a digital sig to run period.), and the native Win 7 defrag is just lame. Although you can use it on a schedule. I have used scheduling on xp and 2003 server for defrag with success and am happy I don't have to do that with task schedulers any more. I like to use Open Source when possible when an open source can actually work like MS. I have a real problem with the money you do have to put out with MS and the other change features for profit orgs. We all live in a capitalistic society where you can profit off anything as long as there is limited competition. I will try UltraDefrag on an XP machine, but SuperDefrag seems to work well.

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