May 13, 2009

Diskeeper 2009 - "Set it and Forget it"

An often overlooked "feature" of Windows is Fragmentation. There are much better technical descriptions of fragmentation, what it is and the impacts it can have. In brief, files are stored on hard drives in little pieces called clusters. These pieces are placed anywhere on the hard drive. the operating system keeps track of these clusters for you.

The problem is that when a file is needed, the heads on the hard drive must read the clusters in the order they are needed. If the clusters are spread (i.e, fragmented) over a large area on the drive, the heads have to move a lot and each head movement takes time. This can add up fast and result in significant degradation of performance.

The good news is that with each release of Windows, the file system gets better and better at reducing and slowing down the fragmentation. However, it's like death and taxes... it's inevitable.

Windows has included a utility that will do a basic defrag on a hard drive. It has, though two problems. You pretty much have to decide to run it manually. Needless to say, most of us (including myself) don't remember or put it off until we "have time". The result is that most hard drives are badly fragmented.

There are zealots out there that will talk about deragging as if it will solve every problem you might have with computer performance. I'm not one of them. I look at it as one factor that is important, but only one. If you defrag frequently, you won't see a big performance hit. It when you avoid it for a long time that it can have a noticeable effect.

I've been using Diskeeper for several years now. It's software that has a mission and it does it very well. I like it and keep using it because:
  1. It does a significantly better job at defragging than the built in Windows utility. Windows defrag is limited in what it can do Diskeeper does a much more thorough job and defrags where windows can't.

  2. It's VERY FAST. If you ever tried to defrag a hard drive in Windows 98, 2000 or XP, you know that you can usually take a long coffee break waiting for it to complete. :-(

  3. It will continually work in the background monitoring the situation and defragging as needed to keep peak performance.

If you believe that file fragmentation is a problem that needs to be addressed, Diskeeper should be on your short list. It's a sweet program that excels at what it does. Is it free? No. Is it worth it? Definitely....


Anonymous said...

Another Diskeeper fan here. I run the latest version and agree that its definitely worth the buy. Defrags leaving no fragmented files and is very easy on system resources even in the real time mode.

Avalanche said...

Nice review. I use Diskeeper too 2009 Pro on a XP desktop (games. photoediting etc) as well as a XP laptop (work). DK works great..and especially benefits the laptop since it has a slower drive already and fragmentation only worsens things. As you said, 'not free', but DK is definitely a top-notch utility.

Anonymous said...

I've used Diskeeper professional 2009 since its release last year, and it's one of the best performing and most trouble-free utilities I have on my system. It's unintrusive, doesn't conflict with any other application and simply does a fantastic job of keeping the drives tidy. Highly recommended.

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