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It’s free and fast but doesn’t improve system performance
|Auslogics’s Disk Defrag skimps on features, but it still offers more than Vista’s native defragmentation client—including a graphical interface.|
Auslogics’s Disk Defrag (free, www.auslogics.com) is a no-frills entry point into the world of defragmentation. It offers just what the name implies: a disk defragger, plain and simple. From a drop-down menu you select the drive you want to defrag and then press a button to start the procedure. (An upcoming version of the app will reportedly feature a scheduler, as well.)
We love the program’s graphical analysis of the drive’s fragmentation level—it’s interesting to see what’s being done to your computer (which allows you to estimate how long the procedure will take). Disk Defrag doesn’t come with a pre-defragmentation analysis tool, though a results screen following the defrag shows what the program “improved”; still, it wasn’t clear to us in our benchmarking that Disk Defrag actually did anything.
The program quoted an initial fragmentation level of 4.21 percent, the lowest figure of the four programs we tested. That said, Disk Defrag still took two hours, 45 minutes to complete its run on our drive. Our test rig’s shutdown time improved by three seconds compared to the shutdown time after a Vista defrag (although it was still slower than pre-defrag), but this was offset by a dramatic 45-second increase in our startup time.
Stranger still, we saw a 5 percent drop in performance as measured by our PCMark Vantage benchmark. There were no noticeable negative effects during normal usage, but we didn’t see a benefit from running the defragmentation either. The only true positive this program offers is speed—it completed the defrag process 45 minutes faster than the built-in Vista client.
|Fragmented Vista Drive||Window Vista Defrag||Auslogics Disk Defrag|
|best scores are bolded.|
For all its options, Diskeeper did nothing to increase our rig’s performance
|Diskeeper’s drive analysis provides plenty of information about the fragmented status of your drive, but no estimate of how long the defragmentation will take.|
Diskeeper 2008 ($30, www.diskeeper.com) comes with a few features that are above and beyond anything you’ll find in a free defragmentation application. For starters, the utility’s built-in automatic defragmentation option negates the need to ever run a manual defragmentation of any sort. The program makes full use of underused resources on your computer by defragmenting your drive in the background. You can let the program figure out your typical computer use and run accordingly or dictate when you want the full use of your processing capabilities.
Since Diskeeper runs inside the operating system, it includes a boot-time defragmentation option which manipulates files that would otherwise be locked by Vista. The program will even lock off your master file tables and paging files to prevent any future fragmentation, a feature unique to Diskeeper. Considering these would be handled by a boot-time defragmentation, it’s nice to see the program making even its own workload easier.
Diskeeper reported a fragmentation level of 14 percent on our test drive, the highest of any program we tested. Of the third-party programs, Diskeeper took the longest to finish its defragmentation routine, but at two hours, 48 minutes it still took less time than Vista’s built-in program. However, we saw no improvement whatsoever in Vista’s startup or shutdown times. In fact, it took an additional minute for the computer to boot compared to boot times after Vista’s defragger ran. Our PCMark Vantage test showed a negligible loss of performance, and we didn’t’ see any differences in speeds when running common Vista-based tasks.
|Fragmented Vista Drive||Window Vista Defrag||Diskeeper 2008 Defrag|
|best scores are bolded.|