Defrag while you don't wait

|GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice|

Diskeeper 10.0 Professional

Performance: A

Features: A

Ease of use: A

Value: A

Price: $50

Reviewer's comments: A step above other defragmentation programs, it can find fragmentation problems with master table files and fix them when the system reboots.

Contact: Diskeeper Corp., Burbank, Calif., (800) 829-6468, Awww.diskeeper.com

Recently, an older client PC on the GCN Lab test network was running extremely slow. The problem, it turned out, was that we'd forgotten to install our usual disk defragmentation software when we'd added the system to the network'several years ago. What a mess.

But it gave us an opportunity to test Diskeeper 10.0. Unlike programs that need lots of resources and typically run during off hours, the $50 Diskeeper can run actively as a low-level system process. With low priority, Diskeeper slowly moves files and lines them up for quick access while you're working or when a screensaver is running.

Diskeeper's interface is more user friendly than in previous versions. There is even a set of CD-like controls letting you pause or resume the defragmentation process.

When originally installed, Diskeeper recommended increasing the size of the MFT to keep the system running until the defragmentation could be completed. It also helped us change this for the Windows XP Professional operating system without messing with the OS itself.

Because the system was 55 percent fragmented'the most we've ever seen'we let Diskeeper run first in active mode to get things under control.

The software was very fast: It took only six minutes on a 40GB drive. An analysis showed that we should expect a 40-percent performance improvement after the first cleaning, but the drive remained 25 percent fragmented. So we ran the process again.
It took three runs to get the system back to normal, but four years of file fragmentation erased in 18 minutes is not too bad.

We set up Diskeeper to defragment the drive when the system is in screensaver mode. As a backup, we created a secondary trigger to launch the software on Saturdays at midnight. Finally, we scheduled defragmentation of system files that can't be safely worked over while the OS is active. We set it to run at the next reboot and defragment the MFTs. All worked smoothly.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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