November 19, 2009

New edition of Diskeeper 2010 is available

I’ve mentioned in an earlier posting about Diskeeper. I’ve been using if for several years and it does the job it says it will do. The thing I like about it the most is how un-intrusive the automatic defragging is. You really don’t know it’s there unless you can hear your hard drive being accessed or you watch processes in Task Manager.

Well, they’ve just released a new version Diskeeper 2010. I was given the opportunity to try it out (one of the perks of being an MVP) recently. One big change I see is a much more informative and intuitive console. You can see in a single snapshot the state of things and how much defragging the program has done. One graph in particular shows how much of the idle CPU capacity is being used by Diskeeper. You can really see how it reacts and stops working when there is any CPU activity. Customizing how it works (which drives to defrag automatically, etc.) is easy to do and understand

Functionally, the biggest improvement is a process they call “Intelliwrite”. Here’s a description from their release:

“IntelliWrite™ technology. A major Diskeeper Corporation R&D breakthrough, IntelliWrite addresses the cause of fragmentation and prevents up to 85% of the fragmentation that has long plagued every computer.”

Somehow, it works to prevent fragmentation. If you look at the console, it will show you how many fragmented clusters have been avoided. To be honest, I haven’t a clue how it works. According to the console, since I installed it, it has avoided 13,437 fragments. The background fragmentation has eliminated 377 fragments. I’ll leave it to others to dig in and verify how accurate the claims are. What I can tell you, though, is that Diskeeper still has no noticeable affect on CPU or disk performance.

I should point out that there are very widely different views on how much fragmentation affects performance and the benefits of defragmentation. There are folks who believe that it has little impact and frequent defragmentation will actually decrease the lifetime of a hard drive. Others will claim it fixes just about any performance problem.

I’m somewhere in the middle. Fragmentation can and will affect disk performance. At the Hospice I support, I always defrag a computer whenever I have access to it or give it to a user. It’s also one thing you always do to try and improve a slow computer. However, while I consider it an important thing to do, my experience has been that a slow computer usually has other, bigger problems that also need to be addressed.

Having said that, I can say that I think Diskeeper is the best defragging program I’m aware of. It sells for $40 USD ($24 USD for an upgrade). Should you buy it? That’s entirely up to you. I think its money well spent. I like the “Set it and forget it” (acknowledgements to Ron Popeil) part. Folks (including myself) can’t be depended on to defrag drives on a regular basis. Also, defragging a drive can take a very long time. Programs like Diskeeper take care of that.

Should you upgrade? Again, it’s really up to you. If their claims about preventing fragmentation are borne out, it’s a no-brainer. My experience with them has been that updates never impact performance and have always made significant interface and performance improvements. For me, upgrading makes sense. You need to decide for yourself….


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