Software

Video: Four free defragmentation tools for power users

Bill Detwiler examines defrag tools that are popular with TechRepublic members, including UltraDefrag, MyDefrag, Smart Defrag, and the Defraggler.

When IT pros encouraged users to defragment their hard drives, they often recommend utilities that are built into the individual's operating system. But when it comes to defragmenting their own machines, IT pros all seem to have their favorite third-party defrag utility. During this TR Dojo episode, I'll look at four, free defragmentation utilities that are popular the TechRepublic members, including:

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Mark Kaelin's article, "Review: Roundup of file defragmentation apps," on which this episode is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

89 comments
angel10896
angel10896

Vopt is another defrag tool that i normally use on a weekly basic. Vopt defrag does a very thorough job to a pc.

koby@disklace.com
koby@disklace.com

As a part of our research, we found out that there are many deframentation tools that improves the data quality of the disk - Some of them are better than the others. The main answer to deframentation, is not HOW to defrag, bun WHEN to defrag. The problem is that people does not defrag until they start having slowdown symptoms - and it is already too late, and at this stage all deframentation utilities does not help any more. Our tools for entry users are free, and you can measure the fragmentation status of your disk, and use the free utility to improve your situation. Koby Biller http://www.disklace.com

rexrzer1238477
rexrzer1238477

RE Ultra Defrag Tool: I had a rather nasty experience with that one, after "trying it out" once on a 320GB HD with only minimal fragmentation, and just 54GB populated by a new install of Win 7 HPremium 64-bit. Let me tell you all I am NOT impressed, rather I am totally pissed at that utility and its authors! After it "defragmented" my HD, it turned a perfectly good install into total crap, with only 14% free space...that from 87% free space before it did the damage to the HD partition with Win 7 on it! I was fit to be tied! Thank God I backup regularly, and had a fresh Archive of the installation on external HD, albeit a slow USB 2.0 external HD. I had to use Paragon's Drive Backup 9.x and restore the volume to its previous status, 87% free space, and a 54GB install of Win 7 HPremium 64-bit off the Archive on the USB 2.0 HD...what a Royal Pain in the ARSE! I am going to rate Ultra Defrag Tool with a big ZERO! Be careful with that one, I'm telling all of you reading this, because it just might turn your perfectly good HD/partition into total crap like it did to my fresh installation! Nothing could save that partition, nothing could bring it back to its former state after Ultra Defrag Tool screwed it completely to Hells Half Acre! I have no idea how or why it did that, but it sure as Hell did do it. BEWARE of Ultra Defrag Tool...it SUCKS! Renders a perfectly good partition into total crap, that's what it did to mine.

BrianGSiwik
BrianGSiwik

auslogics free defrag blows away the four you commented on

dennis1234
dennis1234

To whom it may concern!? Friday February 5th,2010.I couldn't answer the above question,do I use Windows built in defragger, or third party defraggers, the answer is, I use both! from: Dennis P.Gignac at dennis1234@techemail.com

T Mike
T Mike

Auslogic BoostSpeed is free for personal and non-commercial use. There is an optional pro version (paid one) which you can purchase which will provide you some additional features like Duplicate file finder, Internet optimizer and startup optimizer etc. Download BoostSpeed Free Version on this site I get daily tips @: http://www.technixupdate.com/speed-up-your-computer-using-free-boostspeed-4-tool/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TechnixUpdate+%28Technix+Update%29

jackie40d
jackie40d

haha I use Linux . . Except for using it under Virtual Box for some programs like Pinnacle Studio for movies and Corel Draw EVERY THING else is covered with Linux no need to go back . . to Windblows stuff !

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

I just know this is going to be unpopular, but I use the Windows' built-in tool, and it works for me. Ease of use: 10 out of 10. One button to press - "defragment". Speed: 10 out of 10. The 298GB drive on my laptop with 71% used was defrag'ed in under 5 minutes, whilst I was reading the other posts here. No apparent loss of performance whilst it was running. Anti-clog factor: 10 out of 10. No additional software to install, no extra DDL's, no checking for more recent versions on startup, no additional drivers or services using resources, no advertising attached, no additional space used on my drive, no extra items in the programs menu, no hooks into Windows Explorer. I use lots of virtual machines so that I have a clean software development environment for every project. The performance of these degrades rapidly on a fragmented drive, so I defrag my machine every week.

khransdell
khransdell

I use SmartDefrag. It is best for my system, and I've compared to lots of others. KR

AcousticNut
AcousticNut

Thanks for the informative video. I've been using ioBit SmartDefrag for about a year at both home and office and it works like a charm. Really don't need anything else.

Joe_Wulf
Joe_Wulf

Its small, lite and can do 20+ drives at the same time. I rarely use anything directly from Micro$loth when there are other products/tools available.

DDay3061
DDay3061

I use Diskeeper Home edition and it does a wonderful job.

michael.pc
michael.pc

I currently use Power Defrag. No installation required, and can be set to do a triple pass.

Ocie3
Ocie3

is well-named. It has kept the primary HDD on my computer optimized for the past three years. After the initial defrag run, it has been running in the background about once per week, usually when there is no other software that is intensively using the CPU and/or HDD. If memory serves, version 11 was developed to run on virtual machines as well as actual machines.

Jeff7181
Jeff7181

The built-in tool in Windows is good enough. A fragmented hard drive is not the problem it was 10 years ago. I can't see spending money on something like this except in server applications where disk performance is critical.

3dBloke
3dBloke

Been using Defraggler for about two years. Does a good job. I like its ability to selectively defrag individual files and folders.

koby@disklace.com
koby@disklace.com

Being clever means to choose the correct tool. Being wise, is to know when to Defrag, and then all tools are almost th same. You can measure your disk fragmentation level before and after defrag. It is free for disks up to 80GB and give a partial measurement for disks with a higher capacity. (10$ to buy) Try it yourself at http://www.disklace.com/ . Koby.

aharper
aharper

The screensaver defrag feature forces my users to keep everything in top shape. I load it as part of my support package.

robroy73
robroy73

I'm not sure why Auslogics Defrag is not getting more serious consideration? I saw one poster state they use to use it but moved away from it, I find it to be one of the best and its been majorily improved since it first hit the scene, I'm on version 3.1.2.90 and the older versions use to bug you about the Optimization Module, well guess what, its included in the latest releases of the free tool and there is no nag screens unless you click on their speed boost and virus protection links in the menu bar. Also, the installation itself is portable b/c I use it on my Swiss Army app on flash drive. The newer gui has side menu options for idle scheduling as well as normal scheduling in the menu bar in Program Settings. The optimization utility makes it stand out better than the ones shown in the video. I suggest checking out http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/ and giving it serious consideration if you've used the older versions in the past.

XTapia
XTapia

From time to time I need to optimize and compact Virtual PC disks. Then moving files to beginning of disk is a must. MyDefrag does it through the 'Consolidate free space' option.

jglim1994
jglim1994

Is it me or is the email header typo'd? [TechRepublic] Four fragmentation tools for power users?

rabear
rabear

that is what i need since our IT policy does not allow anyone to have admin rights.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

Tho' it is just about as good.

robroy73
robroy73

I see you were posing the answer to the author, I was thinking of another reply.. sorry :).

robroy73
robroy73

and OK then, no need to shout. :)

robroy73
robroy73

if you click on the menu shortcut, it sends you to the trialware site, I wonder why they don't have a link for the "totally free" version? Thanks for sharing. Does this installation of Boost Speed include the disk defrag as well since most of us already have it installed? I'll check it out, I made the mistake and downloaded the trialware... I absolutely hate trialware b/c 9 times out of 10, you can never fully test the application without a CC for the full monte. Another good application for checking registry inconsistencies is Ccleaner, it's pretty nice little utility to have... check it out.

Paper_boy558
Paper_boy558

I love diskeeper. It has a number of interesting features that i think alot of power users will find interesting.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

If you're using Vista or 7, Windows defrag runs all the time. That might explain how it defrags in 5 min, because your drives are already pretty much defraged. Win defrag is certainly better than nothing, bit I doubt it's as thorough as some of the better 3rd party apps. Knowing windows I also doubt it's using any less system resources than the 3rd party apps. And I seriously doubt it has the ability to move programs to the outside of the disk for more speed like Smart defrag and some others. But I don't know about that for sure, maybe someone else on here knows.

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

That was a nice small roundup. I don't use the free programs. Someone introduced my to Perfect Disk after using Diskeeper and I've been hooked ever since.

voyager529
voyager529

I don't work for Raxco, but they make one heck of a utility. $40 for a single license (or a 3-pack for 80) buys among the nicest defragmenting utilities I've ever used. The killer feature for me is that it works with as "little" as one percent of free disk space. Since drive space is at a premium for me, the Windows Defragmenter and DiskKeeper would tell me to delete stuff until I had 15% free. On a 40GB drive, that's understandable. on a 500GB drive, a 95% full disk still has 23GB free - no reason for a disk utility to give up. PerfectDisk will do a pretty thorough job on a full disk, it just takes a while (defragging the aforementioned 500GB drive that was 95% full took about 6 hours). The drive was noticeably faster when I was done; its performance boost seemed in line with the performance graphs the app also provides. The two other features which I find to be extremely useful as well are the Space Explorer, which tells you what files and folders are hogging your disk space, and the Duplicates Finder, which helps eliminate file redundancy. Honorable mention goes to the Boot Time Defragger, which optimizes the files on your disk that are accessed on startup. I *almost* bought DiskKeeper. I'm so glad I didn't!

wicked_breaks
wicked_breaks

I have been using it for almost 3 years now, since ver.8..it a makes a BIG NOTICABLE DIFFERENCE every time it is run. I prefer the 'portable' edition, not a big fan of adding programs to start up.

andamas
andamas

Defraggler does a great job, but tends to be a little slow. That is not such an issue because I run it overnight on classroom PCs. For "quickies" I use the portable version of JKdefrag.

Zwort
Zwort

OK, that's it. I've test driven Auslogics and it seems to match up to the task. My only problem is that it sees two drives that were there earlier today, but were removed even before I installed the package. (It'll be amusing to watch it defragment these ghosts.) It schedules; defrags and/or optimises; shuts down on completion; doesn't hog resources; has a manual pause function; can be instructed to auto pause when CPU usage exceeds a specified percentage; can start with windows; can auto defrag after a specified interval of inactivity; has a separate screen saver (ah) available from same site; can be integrated into explorer context menus so that a chosen file can be defragmented; can clean up temporary files prior to defragmenting; can defrag all drives simultaneously; can be scheduled [...]. Because it's not hogging resources that seems to have clinched it. There is still the problem of phantom drives, and it will be interesting to see if this occurs in two other machines tomorrow. I'll uninstall the commercial packages if it continues to perform so well.

Zwort
Zwort

This could be what I have been looking for. I have used the older portable version in the past, but drifted away from it. Would you say that the scheduling and automatic defragging and other new features make it comparable with commercial packages such as what is left of Peter Norton's baby?

cutting
cutting

I use the Auslogics Defrag and have it set up so that when I shut the computer down for the night, I start the program and check the box that will automatically turn the computer off when it is finished doing its thing. I shut the monitor off and when I activate the system in the morning, all is in order for the day. Wonderful free program and easy to use.

MeezerW
MeezerW

Having 'interviewed' and rejected some mentioned in this article, we now run Auslogics Defrag -- it's been best of breed and easy for all clients to use & comprehend.

archie.kubacki
archie.kubacki

I have used three of these, but none, as far as I know, moves frequently used programs/folders--other than the O/S files, so that the disk access time is minimized. There used to be a Norton defragmentation program with this feature. but what program can do it now?

Mobil-D
Mobil-D

... what, you don't frag your hard drives? I frag mine regularly. I find it significantly reduces performance and keeps the users in my organisation frustrated and upset.

The Computer Doctor
The Computer Doctor

"defragmentation tools for users/non-power users only" SmartDefrag allows you to put credentials that SmartDefrag will run under. I haven't tracked down where or how it saves the credentials yet, so be aware of the feature as well as the potential risk of someone being able to get ahold of a local administrative username and password.

robroy73
robroy73

like a price tag. :) Too many freebies to be buying and if Auslogic doesn't do all of what this package does then so be it, at least I'm not buying some $$$$$ license.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

I should have mentioned that I am using Win XP Pro on this laptop. Incidentally, one of the main reasons defrag is quick on my machine is because it doesn't put stuff at one end of the disc. To do so, it would have to move other files out of the way. Turn that feature off temporarily in your app and see how much quicker a defrag is. The more programs you install under Windows that put hooks into the operating system, whether to add to pop-up menus, or to run services at a level not usually granted to programs, then the longer it takes for programs to load, menus to appear, and for pop-ups to, uh, pop up. I have also noticed that Window Explorer can take extra time displaying the contents of a folder or menu because it has to fetch all the icons for the files with extentions "associated" with programs. The whole point of putting frequently used stuff to one end of the disc is for the quicker load times. With regular defrag, and also deletions of file associations that I know I will never double-click on, plus one or two other things that aren't relevant here, I can load FireFox with no web pages, Excel 2007 or Access 2003 in under 2 seconds. Delphi 7 plus large project in 6 seconds. Start a VMWare virtual machine, with XP Pro and Eclipse, ready to start programming, in 19 seconds. It may not be instantaneous, or even blazingly fast, but its fast enough for me. I used to swear by Norton SpeedDisk, and have used a number of others, and wondered why, even with the improvements they gave, my computer was still slow. Then I realised that every program I installed, and I have to evaluate many as part of the job, left my computer a bit slower. So I formatted the hard drive, re-installed the OS, keeping with a servicable one without too many bells and whistles. I refuse to install any program which is not essential to everyday life, and that includes 3rd party defraggers. As well as weekly defrags, I do it before and after installing software, and immediately after removing software.

BrianScattergood
BrianScattergood

Unlike Windows Defrag, I like to see the progress that Defraggler offers me. I use it all the time, as I often download large files/programs, and like to know that it's all tidy on my HD. I don't suffer from OCD - I have CDO (it's a bit like OCD, only the letters are in the correct order, like they should be!)

robroy73
robroy73

does Disk Management still see them? :) lol!! wow... you listed other features like you were going down a shopping list at Walmart.. lol!! j/k There were some things I've never paid attention to like explorer integration. I normally use the cmd line for the task scheduler and it does a pretty good job. From my understanding though, the optimization can only happen during a manual gui instance so I kind of hope they include that in the cmd line version in the future or if I might not have it fig'd right? (which is very possible :)).

robroy73
robroy73

Concerning Norton, when I used it, it was called SpeedDisk, was slightly faster than the intergrated Win tool but definitely was not faster than what I've seen with Auslogics. The latest version (Auslogics) has all the bells and whistles that have been mentioned with the ones in the video and in this blog so far. It has the option to defrag when system is idle for whatever time you specify and to pause if CPU hits a certain %. If there is one option that they could add into this module it would be when disk is fragmented at a certain %, but other than that, the application is pretty much perfect, no need to keep trying different ones. If there was a using point to this one versuses the others (and I have not heard this mentioned with the others) is that Auslogics optimizes the files after defragmentation (its an option and if I am not mistaking, when I first played with it, it was only for pro editions or premium but now its free). Scheduling will insert an entry into task manager with basic options for specific times, but for instance if you want to have it defrag during startup or login, you can edit in Windows Task Scheduler. Even though the website doesn't really spell out "portable", it is. You can just use the installation program to install it straight to a jump drive, the necessary DLL's and other associations with the application are localized and not thrown all over God's creation. :)

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

Smart defrag has deep optimize setting, which moves frequently used files to outer disk

Zwort
Zwort

is extant, but likes to use resources. Except for the now defunction PC Tools for windows (Central Point Software) and a trials with a couple of other packages I've used it since about 91, but no longer rate it as it is (IMNSVHO) a resource hog. For some reason, for almost everything commercially available there is a better freeware equivalent. While I like this, I feel slightly uncomfortable about it.

robroy73
robroy73

and I am not downloading anymore trialware..:P , but that appears to be the case.