Software

Auslogics Disk Defrag offers a solid alternative to Vista's Disk Defragmenter

Many users were disappointed in Vista's Disk Defragmenter because it no longer featured the colorful UI or reports. Greg Shultz introduces a free tool that offers speedy defragmenting plus a disk map and disk use statistics.

When I first began using Windows Vista, I was very pleased to see that Microsoft had finally added scheduling capability to the Disk Defragmenter utility included in the operating system. In fact, right out of the box, Disk Defragmenter is scheduled to defragment your hard disk once a week in the middle of the night.

As you know, disk fragmentation is a normal occurrence that happens over time as you use your hard disk. Chances are that you also know that disk fragmentation can be the source of huge performance degradation if left unchecked. As such, having Disk Defragmenter automatically set up to defragment your hard disk on a regular schedule is a tremendous performance enhancement as this means that the hard disk will never become so fragmented as to degrade performance.

Since Disk Defragmenter is designed to run on its own when your computer is idle, Microsoft decided that there was no longer a need for a fancy user interface that showed colored blocks or lines being shuffled around as the tool reorganized the clusters on the hard disk. Furthermore, there was no need for any kind of reporting to be generated by the UI. In fact, Disk Defragmenter was designed to run without your really needing to know about it at all.

Of course, many, many folks have been up in arms about this lack of feedback. They miss the colored display and the reports. While I haven't felt this loss, I know that many of you have, and I can sympathize with that. However, I have been completely satisfied with this essentially invisible and functional Disk Defragmenter system in Windows Vista. As long as it keeps my hard disk defragmented and my system running smoothly, it's one less thing that I need to worry about.

Then, last week my brother told me about Auslogics Disk Defrag. Upon his repeated claims that Auslogics Disk Defrag is a great a tool and the fact that it is absolutely FREE, I broke down and decided to take a closer look. As I experimented with Auslogics Disk Defrag on my test system, I discovered that it is a very nice utility and it does an excellent job of quickly defragmenting a hard disk.

In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll introduce you to Auslogics Disk Defrag. As I do, I'll point out some of the features that make it a worthwhile opponent to Vista's built-in Disk Defragmenter -- I'll also point out a few drawbacks.

Getting Auslogics Disk Defrag

You can download Auslogics Disk Defrag from the Auslogics Web site as well as from CNET download. Once you download it, installation is a snap, and you'll be ready to defrag your hard disk in no time.

Getting ready

After you have installed Auslogics Disk Defrag, you can use the shortcut to launch it. Of course, you'll have to deal with a UAC first. You'll then see the opening screen shown in Figure A. This straightforward, yet informative, UI is one of the features that I admired immediately -- you get a nice disk usage map as well as specifics on disk usage.

Figure A

Auslogic Disk Defrag

The opening screen features a disk map and disk usage information.
By default, the disk selection drop-down menu will show any internal and external hard disks that you have connected to your computer. As an added benefit, Auslogics Disk Defrag can also defragment your thumb drives and other removable drives. To enable this support, you just click the Settings button. When the Auslogics Settings dialog box appears, just click on the Defragmentation tab and select the Display Removable Drives check box, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Auslogics Disk Defrag

You can configure Auslogics Disk Defrag to defragment thumb drives and specify other useful settings.

If you wish, you can also allow Auslogics Disk Defrag to remove temporary files before it runs. This is a nice touch, since this is something that will indeed speed up the defragmenting procedure -- no sense wasting time defragmenting unnecessary files -- and since this is something that many folks forget to do. You can also specify a CPU setting to essentially set the priority level at which you want the program to run. The default is Normal, but as you can see, I selected the Highest setting.

When you return to the main screen, you'll be able to select a removable drive from the list of drives, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Once you configure it, thumb drives will appear on the disk selection menu.

Defragmenting

Once you configure Auslogics Disk Defrag and select a drive to defragment, just click the Next button. As soon as you do, you'll see the Disk Fragmentation Map and will be able to watch your hard disk being defragmented, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The Disk Fragmentation Map will visually keep you apprised of the defragmentation operation.
When the procedure is complete, you'll see a summary screen, as shown in Figure E. As you can see, because Windows Vista's built-in Disk Defragmenter has been running regularly on this system, there really wasn't much fragmentation to deal with. (Since Auslogics Disk Defrag also runs on Windows XP, I installed it on a couple XP systems and found the defragmentation operation to be very quick and very thorough on heavily fragmented hard disks.)

Figure E

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The summary screen give you a quick overview of the defrag operation.

You can see that this screen also mentions junk files and contains a link to a sales pitch for another Auslogics program called BoostSpeed, which costs $30. While finding a sales pitch in a program is a drawback, since Disk Defrag is free, you have to figure that Auslogics has to sell other products to stay in business.

If you click the Display Report button, you'll see a very detailed report of the defragmentation operation, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

Auslogics Disk Defrag

This detailed report provides lots of feedback on the defragmentation operation.

The drawbacks

While Auslogics Disk Defrag is very quick and provides you with many useful features, it does have a couple of drawbacks when compared to Vista's built-in Disk Defragmenter. First, it doesn't have scheduling capability -- you have to run it manually. Second, it doesn't have a command-line component, which many folks find useful.

What's your take?

Are you saddened by the lack of feedback in Vista's built-in Disk Defragmenter? Are you likely to experiment with Auslogics Disk Defrag? Do you use another disk defragmenting tool? Please drop by the Discussion Area and let us hear from you.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

41 comments
Snurre
Snurre

It also consolidates free disk space and has an option to defrag when system goes idle. I use it and I love it. Please update your review.

terry_bower
terry_bower

Since this piece was written, Auslogic has added a command line option to Disk Defrag. This allows you to set up scheduled scans.

eastfish
eastfish

I am befuddled by Vista's Defrag. After I manually run it, it comes-back to tell me that I could benefit from defragging - immediately after I had run defrag. This leads me to believe that it did not run, or was run imcompletely. Since you can no longer watch the defrag progress, I have no way of knowing if I have actually defragged my hard drive.

tom.arrieta
tom.arrieta

I've tried Auslogic's Disk Defrag and had no complaints. Piriform (CCleaner) also offers Defraggler, which has the capability of defragging individual files.

bdfew
bdfew

I am still using XP but I found IOBIT Smart Defrag which states that it works for Vista. Has scheduling capabilities. I can defrag my two drives and the computer will shut down while I'm sleeping

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

From my past experience and observation people are sensorial and contextually orient themselves through feedback through their senses i.e. sight, sound and feel. In this way (and in many others) Vista lets down users. In many aspects of their lives like the economy or the job market people have had to make peace with being "in the dark" for the most part. Computers however have a spotty record for doing what people want them to do and only a small number of them are happy with the black screen stare of a UNIX box doing "things" mysteriously in the background. Most people want feedback, especially from a PC.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

I have read all of the above comments, and have found nothing that states in what manner one defragmenter is better than another. How do you know "A" is better than "B?" What is the criteria? Do you have a method of determining whether "A" concatenates the fragments "better" than "B?" If you do, how much better does your system run after 17 months of use with "A" compared to an identical computer with identical usage with "B?" Frankly, the Windows Vista Defragmenter has toiled away in the background for the past 17 months. How can I say it is better or worse than any of the others mentioned? It has stayed out of my way, and allowed me to get my job done.

thephpdeveloper
thephpdeveloper

oh well. thanks to Disk Defrag by Auslogics, i lost 2 of my hard drive. they were in perfect conditions but after a few use of Disk Defrag, the disk was damaged physically and i cannot use it anymore. now i am using Defraggler by Piriform.

axeman60
axeman60

I've been using this Defragger for quite a while now, and it's definitely faster than Vista's snail-paced defragger. I don't schedule defrags anyway, nor do I use the command line so I have no issues.

geo
geo

I have used Auslogic for several years and have been quite happy with it.It is very quick, offers a reasonable display and is about as user friendly as you can get. I tried Defraggler as a result of comments written at the end of this article. It was s-l-o-w. After running several hours it still wasn't completed. I gave up and used Auslogic to finish the job. Auslogic normally completes the defrag in less than an hour. I use Auslogic on both XP and Vista machines. Maybe there is an argument of a better job, I don't know, but the length of time involved for Defraggler just doesn't cut it in my realm. www.nscave.com

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Will Microsoft attempt to use a new file-system? I use Linux and Windows at home. If it wasn't for the lack of game support; Linux would rule my household. Anyways, I base my love for Linux on speed and performance. Unlike Windows; I don't have to defrag Linux to increase performance. Has anyone heard anything about anything in development for Microsoft( sorry about the redundancy, LOL )?

slscott126
slscott126

I'm running Vista Basic on dial-up. Ultra Defrag is a nice little program that can be set-up on boot! It's fast and easy.

GRAYGOAST52
GRAYGOAST52

although it looks good and there is no time limit on it i still trust diskeeper 8.0

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I'd like to know about the following statement from the screenshot of the "Welcome" dialog for Auslogics Disk Defrag: "Disk fragmentation causes PC slow-downs, crashes, and freeze-ups. Auslogics Disk Defrag will speed up your computer and eliminate crashes by defragmenting the file system." How can fragmentation cause a "crash", and how can defragmentation eliminate a "crash"? Sounds a bit like fear-mongering... I'd like to see concrete evidence of a crash that is definitively caused by fragmentation.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

The highest rated freeware defragger is JK Defrag. Get it at http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/ P.S. I wrote a script that uses NTRegOpt to optimize the registry, JK to defrag all mounted volumes, and schedules a disk check of each, then reboots the PC. If you are interested, PM me.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

At what VOLTAGE does the defragmenter move files around with?A file fragment is part of an exe?I see file fragments as virus in the electronics.These virus attack anything that moves.It's the same for these RAM defragmenting programs.

luis.santana
luis.santana

We tried Auslogic's in Testing environment and encountered issues crashing some of our proprietary applications. We have been testing defraggler, high marks so far from team.

mikehigdon
mikehigdon

Piriform the people that brought us CCleaner have released a defragmenter called "defraggler". I have used it, and seems to work well. The license includes corporate use. Here is the link: http://www.piriform.com/ Mike

j1shalack
j1shalack

Very informative and well-written review.

spowell
spowell

I have been using IObit Smart Defrag for some time now and have found it great. I use Vista Home Premium.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

without getting in your way then its good enough. I would say in the end, most reputable disk defraggers end up "compacting" about the same amount. Some may have fancy options to move most used and or start up programs to a faster location on the disk, but in mnay cases this is the difference between 45 and 47 seconds boot time. Many people just like to see the progress of the disk defragging. I just want the disk defragged (1 time a month is fine in our environment btw, not weekly).

pctyson
pctyson

Did you lose data or did you have a hardware failure? If you were able to reformat and reinstall then it might be the defrag program. If the disks are completely unuseable then I highly suspect that your hard drives were already about to die.

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

I've used Auslogics Disk DefRag and Registry Defrag for over a year on several systems, I tweak for individuals, mostly on XP. I like them both because they are fast, free, and seem to work well. Having said that, I don't know I'd be willing to try on a corp's critical database or app, but on the OS files of C on Vista and XP, it seems OK

derek
derek

Glad you're pleased with Diskeeper v8.0. Suggestion: Try the 30 day free download of v12 (called Diskeeper 2008). Major enhancements, particularly in the background processing department. -Derek

aajmjeff
aajmjeff

I downloaded Auslogics disk defrag and it showed my sysem was already optimized since I had been usings Vista'a defrad utility running on a weekly schedule. Looks like Vista's utility works. Amazing!

Data Ninja
Data Ninja

As the title says, where did you find the comparison of defragmenters?

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

and lets us all know just a little more of the puzzle! :)

eddtwilbeck
eddtwilbeck

I've been using defraggler on all of my xp and vista installs, and in my mind, its the best freeware defrag tool out there - Better than auslogics, smaller footprint too!

sancretor
sancretor

How exactly is Auslogics disk defrag suited for vista? It lacks automation, it cannot defrag the MFT or page file, it is not shadow copy aware, cannot handle multiple volumes simultaneously, lacks intelligent resouce utilization etc. And it does not even defrag the drive properly. To me, it actually looks like a step backward. If you want a step up from the vista defragger, commercial utilities are the only option. Get something like Diskeeper 2008 which has features and performance far better than vista's defrag. Ofcourse, it ain't free, but you get what you pay for.

dandwg
dandwg

If you have Norton SW you can add speed disk and have the same thing. I looks like what windows vista does is to use less menory to run the DD

WastePotato
WastePotato

... I've got it. Is there any way to schedule it do defrag automatically at a time I want?

ugadata
ugadata

I have used both Auslogic's Disk Defragmenter and Defraggler (as well as others). I like both of them. Defraggler has specific options for defragmenting Free Space (which may account for longer run times). However, neither program will defragment the MFT (Master File Table).

claude-yvan.pecoud
claude-yvan.pecoud

...at what it is supposed to do: defragmenting hard drives. I'm doing a defragmentation about twice a week and have had no problem since the beginning. The rate of fragmentation is usually less than 1%, and the process takes a few minutes (no more!) for approximately 120'000 files that take up 2/3 of my 80GB HD. Claude-Yvan

The Horse
The Horse

I've been using Auslogics on my xp box for about six months, liked it, and so loaded it onto my new Vista machine before I'd realized it had its own automatic defrag utility. But what intrigues me is the product you mention from the makers of ccleaner. If it's as good as that, I think I'll try it out.

jannchi
jannchi

I have been using Auslogic's DD for a number of years on both XP and now Vista and have been completely satisfied.

jpowers
jpowers

Maximum PC recently did a good write-up on degrag utilities. The gist was don't bother to pay for anything. Auslogics didn't outperform Vista's built-in defrag (other than in the speed of the degrag process and a pretty GUI). If you just want to stay defragged, Vista does fine all on its own. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/the_disk_defrag_difference

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

that was agrevated by the defrag. Scandisk should also be used on a regular basis.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

The original article I was thinking of was from the 46 best utilities: http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-disk-de-fragmenter.htm I found some more while looking for that one: http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/2007/06/great-defrag-shootout-all.html http://windowssecrets.com/2008/06/12/05-Two-top-defraggers-speed-your-disk-accesses http://www.anewmorning.com/2008/08/30/the-5-definitive-best-defragmenter-applications-for-2008/ http://www.freewaregenius.com/2007/07/31/jkdefrag-gui/ In all fairness, I did find several pages that favored Auslogics but I think they were all of the forum / non-professional opinion type. edited

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

You're right, I should have provided references. Unfortunately, They're at home and I'm at work. I'll post them tomorrow.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

High voltage electrodes are RAM'd into the disks' thingies, (learned this from Gulf War) causing Borg Nano-virus particles (learned this from the timeship from the future which brings us Voyager episodes on Spike TV daily) to defragment from the platter. These then clog up your system (at best), or cause it to mutate and attach to the CPU (Central Plexus Unit containing the Borg Queen) causing it to repeatedly spout mwa-ha-ha-ha and try to destroy Uni-Matrix Zero which resides on one of your planetary nebula disk platters). Hope this cleared the 'B' master's remarks up for you! No drugs were consumed or harmed to do this translation for you. In fact this will be a new feature offered by Google translator, (we are not supposed to give much detail of upcoming projects, just enuf to hype the stock) where garble-speak is translated into 'sci-fi' speak as one option or 'compu-geek' speak as another option.

Data Ninja
Data Ninja

Thanks for the links, JackOfAllTech. From all the reviews and posts it would seem that the shootout is between JKDefrag and Auslogics. I did like the looks of Auslogic's Booster in one of your links, as it did a lot more than JKDefrag in terms of registry, usage tracking and junk file cleanup - a lot more than just a defragmenting utility. But then I believe that is the pay-for version rather than the freebie. If you combine JKDefrag (or Auslogics) with CCleaner, NTRegOpt and Spybot Search & Destroy, you've got a really powerfull combination!