|Systems Internals PageDefrag
||defrags pagefile.sys file.
||For NT/W2K/XP. Does nothing else besides defrag pagefile.sys Can
only run at boot time. You can almost as easily, and more safely, defrag pagefile.sys by temporarily moving it to another partition in the Control Panel, reboot,
defrag, then move it back, then reboot again. However you need a spare FAT (File Allocation Table)
partition to do that.|
|Built-In Windows defragger
||This is the defragger that comes bundled with Windows.
||It is a stripped down version of Norton Defrag that does not attempt to place most commonly used files
in prime real estate — half the purposes of a defragger.|
||née JkDefrag. Open source, source available. Script driven. Can order by last access date.
||Bare bones. Purely command line driven. You need the -f 0 option or similar
to make it work sensibly. It cannot defrag locked or system files.|
| Auslogics Disk Defrag
||for pro version. Also free version
Last revised/verified: 2013-10-12
|Works on W2K/XP/W2003/Vista/W2008/W7-32/W7-64/W8-32/W8-64. Quick. Comes in
32 and 64-bit versions. Has boot time defrag
to defrag some of the system files which they call offline defrag. It has a
special defrag algorithms for SSDs (Solid State Disks) to avoid wearing them
out with too many writes. It has a special mode to use if you are creating system checkpoints. Allows
simple defrag, free space consolidation, by prefetch layout and by disk zone (last modified timestamp). Has
a wizard that configures various types of background defrags at various times just by answering a few
non-technical questions. You can configure it not to run with a given list of important apps are running.
It will automatically get rid of various types of junk files before defrag. It is straightforward and
quick. Has accurate easy-to-understand progress bars.
||Does not have a way of handling all the locked or system files.|
DiskTrix Ultimate Defrag
They give you a $10 coupon when you download the trial you must use in 5
Last revised/verified: 2012-11-25
- Supports XP/W2003/Vista/W2008/W7-32/W7-64.
- It has come a long way since I first tested it in 2005.
- If you let it do a boot-time defrag, it can defrag everything, even system files like the
MFT (Master File Table), pagefile.sys,
$Logfile, hiberfile.sys, $USN
ChangeJournal… Not only will it let you defrag these files, it will let you precisely
- I have not done a formal benchmark, but this feels like the fastest defragger.
- It claims monitors file use between defrags to figure out which files you use most often. I suspect
this is not literally true. I can see so sign of any service doing such monitoring. I think all they
means in they turn on the OS last-access tracking. They are thus tracking when files were last used,
but not how often. The most used files it moves to the prime real estate near the edge of the disk. If
this were true, it would be an incredibly brilliant feature. I have not noticed any major improvement
in performance after using it. It has a file usage database that it updates each time you run the
defragger. Perhaps it snapshots the last-access dates of all the files, noticing changes to get an
estimate of frequency of use.
- It is quite clever deciding its moves. It avoids having to move the same file over and over because
its ultimate location is occupied. It sometimes cleverly copies files starting at the end to
accommodate a slide toward the center of the disk.
- The defrag is remarkably quick in all of the modes. It lets you look at and start defrags on other
partitions even when it is busy defragging. It is completely responsive even when it is
- It offers you a choice of you five basic algorithms, basically trading off precision for speed. It
has many sub options. You can sort by create date, last access date, last modified date. Its normal
mode is to place files in three zones (outer high performance rim purple, middle blue, and inner
archive green) with the most commonly used files in the prime real estate at the outer edge of the
disk. This is for the fanatic who wants to squeeze out ever last drop of performance. However, it also
has a novice mode, that hides all these techie choices and selects for you. The manual explains quite
well what all the options do, but not so much when you would want to use them. The express version
gives you no choices.
- It stores its configuration as a human-readable XML (extensible Markup Language)
file X:\Program Files (x86)\Distrix\UltimateDefrag4\UltimateDefrag.xml. This
file contains everything to do with configuration, including the definitions of the various numbered
- The manual is
excellent, explaining not only the Disktrix program, but how hard disks and defraggers work. It
explains what defraggers attempt to do and why.
- The GUI (Graphic User Interface) is responsive. You can query
where various files are or what files are in various clusters, even while it is defragging. It does a
number of thing that make it easy to understand just what it is doing.
- The GUI is compact, easy to understand and easy to read.
- If you want, you can precisely control the placement of individual files.
- It, at least psychologically, appears faster than other defraggers, though I have not benchmarked
- It collects the directories and puts them in prime real estate.
- When it is moving files it shows reads in cyan and writes in yellow. This makes its strategy much
clearer. Its strategies are more advanced than the competition, and quite fun to watch. I like the way
it goes out of its way to keep you up to date with what it is doing. It is not one of those
- Certain combinations of options will put it into a loop where it shrinks the blue donut
stripping off the outer layer and moving it to the inner. It claims it has only a minute to go, but
chugs on and on pointlessly. Another time it said there was 0% defragmentation, but it went into a loop
moving the same few files back and forth endlessly. It would not even pay attention to the
button. Until they get this fixed, this is a show-stopper.
- When the background scheduled task starts it gives an error message complaining about a
- When the background defragger is running, you cannot launch Ultimate Defrag. It
immediately exits without an error message. It should join the background instance and let you interact
with it and stop it.
- When I tried the boot defrag option on a previous version it made my computer
unbootable. I was able to recover in an hour or two with my purchased copy of Windows-7. It would not
have recovered with the copy of the OS that came with the computer that has no repair
facilities. I suspect the problem was an incompatibility with Boot-It Bare Metal boot manager or O &
O defragger. When I tried the new version without O&O installed, it said that by D: drive had
no files (not true) and exited. It turns out I had no drives configured to defrag at boot time. It
should have just bypassed the whole countdown. When I configured some drives for it to defrag at boot
time, all went well.
- Sometimes when you set options, then come back, your options are all scrambled. You
have to check all your options prior to each run to make sure they are the way you want.
- Sometimes the to cluster freezes, and the display gradually
fills up with cyan, as if it were moving all the sectors onto one. I trust this is just a display
problem. The disk integrity is still intact.
- If the feature where you click a cluster and see the files in it stops working,
click reset pane positions. The problem is the panel where the results are
supposed to show up has been closed.
- You cannot adjust the boot time settings without stopping the defrag. It gives no
error message, just refuses to respond.
- The number of possible tweaking options for the defrag are overwhelming. The documentation tells
you what they do, but not when you might want to use them. However, you can just ignore them and click
AUTO and still get a very sophisticated algorithm.
- Disktrix refuses to answer emails until you register the product. They don’t seem to
understand that customers don’t register a product until it is working
satisfactorily. It is not as if potential customers can bum free support, get the product working,
continue to use it and then not pay.
- When you defrag multiple partitions, it does them in parallel. It should not do that unless the
partitions are on separate physical drives. It is much less efficient than doing them
- The menu is confusing. It says simple mode when you are in expert mode and vice versa.
- When you select files for special placement, it is not just enough to select them. You must drag
them to the left panel or click the << button.
- It has no official command line interface, though it does have a scheduler. I studied how the
Disktrix uses the Windows scheduler and deduced that the following kludge should let you trigger one of
the predefined scheduled jobs from the command line. It launches DiskTrix in the background. You
can’t watch or interact with it.
- When DiskTrix moved lesser-used files to the inner tracks, it moved them to the absolutely remotest
innermost slowest tracks. There is no need to go to this extreme. It just slows down access. This
version optionally lets you place them just after the other files.
- It spends most of its time tweaking the positions of rarely used archive files. It starts it work
with the archive files, and only after they are done does it work on the important files. This means if
you abort the run part way through, it will not have done the most important work. This is a bit like a
housewife who starts first cleans the attic when guests are coming.
- When DiskTrix does a recency defrag, it puts the most recently used files
along the outer rim. However, it puts all the free space in the center. Newly created files, the ones
you use most, are thus relegated to the sub-prime real estate. It should leave an empty band near the
for JetDrive Professional.
for JetDrive Ultimate.
Last revised/verified: 2012-11-30
- Runs on XP/W2003/Vista/W2008/W7-32/W7-64/W8-32/W8-64
- Extremely fast
- Pretty Toy Story-like 3D look and feel. They use 3D shaded rendering throughout, even for generated
pie charts to show disk usage. Aimed at the naïve
user. Fully automatic, almost no confusing options. Needs no configuration. A defragger is not going to
do any good unless it is used. This defragger would be good to give to someone who is defragger-phobic.
Visually this program stands head and shoulders above the competition. This was quite a surprise for me
for a product coming from a company I was unfamiliar with.
- Your choice of about 30 different colour schemes.
- It claims to defrag all system files including the MFT,.
- It is very quick. When you watch it work, you can see is not using the usual
flat-footed sequential algorithm. However, they alarm you saying the first defrag could take over
24 hours. They are being overly pessimistic.
- It gives you choices of seven ways to defrag including by last-access date, by last-modified date,
clustering files in the same directory which they call sort by file location,
and compacting (space consolidation). The various options tell you with animations how relatively how
long the defrag will take and what sort of speed improvement you can expect. This is a very good idea.
They also tell you the advantages and disadvantages and how often to run each type. Not everyone is a
geek. You can also just leave it up to JetDrive to decide.
- The animated puppy is gone, though you can configure him back.
Cute wears thin for me very quickly. The Microsoft paperclip gives me
apoplexy when I can’t make it go away.
- You can ask it to defrag several partitions and walk away. It will do them all and do one reboot
unattended if necessary to polish the defrags of all the partitions.
- Will also defrag the registry (without pruning junk, just compacting deleted entries), and defrag
memory. I presume by that they mean internally defragging pagefile.sys. It also deletes junk files before defragging.
- The deep optimise option will sort directories internally.
- It internally has a white and black list of SSD (Solid State Disk) drives that can/cannot be safely defragged.
- They respond to bug reports even before you register.
- When I installed it, it immediately crashed. However, when I restarted, it picked
itself up, apparently unharmed and did not crash again. Apparently I am the only person ever to have that trouble. When I uninstalled and reinstalled
it worked fine. It has not happned since.
- The scrolling display to select what to defrag does not show my T: drive. However if I select all, it gets defragged anyway.
- The cluster map is pretty lame. It updates infrequently. It is very coarse. It encodes using only a handful of colours. You can’t tell
very much what is it doing. The author said that fancy displays slow down the defrag and most of the time there is no one watching.
- If you let JetDrive make the decisions, you can start off a defrag with a click or two. However, if you have your own preferred settings,
you must reenter them every time.
- When it reboots to defrag system files, you can’t postpone the reboot. Several times I lost data because I could not put everything to bed
- When you ask it to compact the entire drive, when it completes, the free space is not all in one chunk. It has 12 zones, and compacts each zone separately.
- The legend uses two almost identical shades of green for used and
contiguous. I think used means system files, but they don’t document that. They should label it system files and choose a more distinctive colour. If both colours are present, you can
tell the difference, but if only one is, you can’t tell which it is.
- It has no command line interface to let you control it from a bat
- It does tell you much about what is doing. One mysterious activity is optimising which takes it a minute or two before it starts analysing or defragging a
partition. What is it doing is freeing up breathing space on the drives, moving data temporarily to other drives if necessary. This greatly
speeds up the defrag.
- It does not even clearly label which partition it is currently defragging.
- It will not let you just view the cluster map of any given partition. You can only see it during a
defrag. It won’t even give a few seconds to admire it when the defrag is finished. It covers it
up with dialog boxes. Psychologically it gives the impression it is ashamed of the job it did, and it
is trying to hide it, like child with a bad report card.
- It is missing an About box that tells you the installed version and build and Abelssoft does not
post the current version on their website.
- The extra-cost Ultimate version includes a few toys that have nothing to do with defragging.
Professional with HyperFast
In addition there are at least twelve variants, including ones for Windows, VAX (Virtual Address extension)
Last revised/verified: 2012-01-01
|Condusiv Diskeeper, formerly Executive Software Diskeeper. Note the spelling Diskeeper not
- Particularly good at speeding up file copies.
- Defrags, free space, directories, MFT
- Moves dirs to centre of the disk.
- Has VmWare version called V-locity
- Very slow. Makes no attempt to position files by last access date.
- Directory, MFT and pagefile.sys optimisation can only be done
at boot time.
- Boot time defrag can take 15+ hours and is not interruptible.
- The company has Scientology connections, which may cause trouble if you are in Germany.
- My computer was in my bedroom and it drove me nuts clicking away in the middle of the night after I
installed Diskeeper. The only way I could get it to stop running was to uninstall it.
- Diskeeper claims that a badly fragmented MFT
will double boot time and slow some apps by 50%. Software installs can
take 5 times longer.
- They claim a badly fragmented page file can slow mouse response to 30 seconds. I find that
improbable, unless it were a specially constructed pathological case.
- It claims to improve performance of SSDs by a factor of 6,
but I don’t see how it could possibly do that. Position of files on an SSD
is supposed to have no effect on speed. Perhaps they use a traditional RAM (Random Access Memory)
cache. But what would it do the built-in cache would not? perhaps compression.
| Raxco Perfect Disk
for Home Premium Edition
for Professional Edition
Last revised/verified: 2012-01-01
- Runs on XP/W2003/Vista/W2008/W7-32/W7-64/W8-32/W8-64
- It tells you exactly what it is doing, which file is it moving out and which file it is moving
- It has 5 defragging options: smart placement (bands), quick defrag
only, compress free space, pre shrink (prior to shrinking a partition), and SSD.
- This defragger targets the niche of very large disks where you must be quick and have to be
parsimonious with RAM to get the disk defragged in reasonable time. It is faster than most
other defraggers. It is particularly good at improving boot time. It optionally compresses small files.
Places most frequently modified (not necessarily most frequently accessed) files near the center of the
disk and rarely modified ones near the edges, with the free space in the central band. It will work
with only 5% free space.
- I checked. Its boot time defrag handles absolutely all the metafiles. There is
not a single fragmented file left when it is done!
- IT Pro Magazine gave it their 2008 editor’s choice award. CNET gave
it five stars.
- It unusually good working in the background. It automatically backs off and lets you get work done
in the foreground.
- If you select several partitions and ask it to defrag, it defrags them sequentially.
- It has something they call OptiWrite that is supposed to prevent
fragmentation. They give no details on what it is. It might be a hard disk device driver that modifies
Window algorithm for finding free space. It might be something that leaves room at the tail end of
- Their online store takes credit cards, PayPal, cheque, money order or wire transfer. They also sell
- If you get into the deeper menus, you can leave bands of empty space for files to grow into.
- The pro version monitors the SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) features
of your hard drive to display its temperature and failure rate.
- The user interface is handsome done in nautical colours. Most of it, however, has nothing
whatsoever to do with defragging. I think it would be best if the non-defragging stuff were pruned off
into a separate utility. It is just confusing. The way they show fragmented clusters is ingenious.
- It has a simple command line interface:
"X:\Program Files\Raxco\PerfectDisk\PDCmd.exe" /sp C: D: E: F: G: /w
Unfortunately, it gives you no progress information. Clusters disappear for minutes at a time. You
can’t tell much about what it is doing or how far it has progressed by looking at the display.
You can’t point at a cluster while it is defragging to find out which file it is to learn about
how it works.
- The default colour scheme is well-chosen. I had no problem telling the various classifications
- The pro version has a non-defragging SSD
optimiser, but they
give no details on what it does.
- This is by far the slowest defragger I tested.
- The trial keeps popping up a nag screen over and over as you work, not just when you start. I
don’t think Raxco understands the purpose of a trial. The user is supposed to fall in love with
the product and decide they cannot live without it.
- It gives you little control over how the defragging is done. It is a black box. You get to choose
their proprietary Smart Placement option, defrag only or space compression.
It uses only last modified time and file extension in deciding placement in its own proprietary way. If
you are not a techie, this is a plus. You want it automatic. Deep in the menus you can do some
tweaking, but the options amount to minor variants of the built-in ones. You can’t sort by
last-access date or last modified date, for example.
- It does not fully defrag free space, or all the files. You have to run it two or three times to get
everything defragged. Raxco claims this is a limitation of the NTFS
defrag interface, though I doubt this. It could keep working till it was done, just as its competitors
do. Earlier versions often went into an infinite loop, but it has not done that with recent versions.
Leaves many files undefragged after a single pass.
- The user interface using right click, shift-click etc. is efficient for a programmer, but not
obvious to a novice. You can must things done by clicking buttons.
- Raxco claims it holds a patent on the idea of file placement. This is prior art and I can prove it
to anyone who needs to break the patent. I posted the idea years ago on BIX (Byte Information Exchange).
- When you use the GUI to ask it to defrag several partitions, it defrags them simultaneously.
This is not as efficient as defragging them one after the other.
- It takes two clicks to see the contents of a block (groups of clusters),
and you can only view the contents when the defrag is stopped. It should take only one and it should
work all the time, with snappy response.
O & O
for the single user
Take PayPal, credit cards, wire transfer, cheques, money order.
No upgrade discount. This is a problem since they issue new versions at least every year to fix bugs.
for the Server edition that lets you defrag an entire LAN (Local Area Network)
Last revised/verified: 2012-04-21
- This is what I originally decided to buy for myself. Five magazines gave it awards.
- Comes from Germany. You can let it work in the background waking up whenever the system is idle to
do a little defragging. You can tune the algorithm to use. You can tune it to sort files
alphabetically, to order for fast read access (sorted by last access date, its most logical algorithm
in my opinion) or fast write access, or to defrag with minimal resources. It sorts by ascending last
access date. Ideally it should sort by descending last access date to put the most frequently accessed
files on the fast outer tracks near the beginning of the partition. It supports
FAT, FAT32, NTFS, NTFS5, RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks),
even on drives larger than a terabyte. It has a scheduler so you can run the defrags unattended. It is
clever enough to queue up a request to defrag a partition on the same disk as one being defragged, but
will optionally simultaneously defrag a separate physical disk.
- They take credit cards and PayPal.
- The Complete/ACCESS algorithm has some nice features:
- After the first use, it is relatively quick. It moves a few files you have not used in a while
to the active end of the disk, creating holes. Then it rapidly slides files down to fill the holes.
Often it does not even need to touch the first half of the disk.
- It optimally organises the files so that the ones you use most often are
near the active end of the disk and the ones you hardly ever use are near the beginning, perfectly
sorted. No other defragger does this. Others use approximate bands or base the sorting on last
modified date rather than last accessed date. This is the key reason I chose O&O for my own
use. For this to work properly, you must first turn on last-access date maintenance with the
- You can think of it like a house with well-designed many-layered storage for commonly-used
items, rarely-used items and an attic. Getting rarely-used files off to the attic reduces
- It is equally important to get files used together close to each other on disk as it is to get
the fragments of a files. This algorithm does that.
- It defrags the hibernate file and the registry. It can even defrag the registry without a
- The tech people get back to me within hours.
- You can control it from the command line, e.g.:
rem defrag with COMPlete ACCess : C: D: E: F: G:
It works faster and more reliably in this mode. It stops immediately when you ask it to, unlike the
- In version 12.0 they introduced zones. You can specify three zones and
which files belong in each zone. Zone 1 is for files that will not
likely change. Zone 2 in for your main data files. Zone 3 is for caches and temporary files. It uses different algorithms to defrag each
zone, Zone 1=Complete/Name, Zone 2=Complete/Access and Zone 3=SPACE. This speeds
defragging, since three piles are easier to sort than one giant pile of files. It puts programs in the
prime real estate of the outer band. I suspect they do this because this is where you get the maximum
transfer rate — good for loading programs. The next band is data, and the innermost band is
rarely used files in the least desirable real estate. You go back and forth between loading programs
and processing data. It keeps all the parts of a given program together. It keeps the most active data
together. Its file placement is the most intelligent of any defragger However, the overly wide empty
space bands means needless extra head movement. You could ameliorate that defect by using a tool like
BootIt NG to shrink your partitions to have just
the minimum necessary free space.
- It gives you lots of statistics about the effect of defragging over the last few weeks.
My comments may sound like utter damnation, but I still consider O&O best of breed, though I if I
get some time I will exhaustively retest all the competition to see if I can do better.
Last revised/verified: 2012-09-20
| IOBit Smart Defrag
Last revised/verified: 2012-11-30
|This defragger is remarkably good, especially when you consider it is free.
- Works on W2K/XP/W2003/Vista/W2008/W7-32/W7-64/W8-32/W8-64
- It does boot time, background(what they call automatic) and scheduled
- It use an intelligent quick move algorithm that seems to avoid moving and removing the same
clusters, unlike the competition that use mindless brute-force strategies.
- The user interface is intuitive and straight forward. Everything worked the way I expected it to,
with one exception. You must tick off all the drives to defrag, not just select the one you want to
defrag. It ignores the one you select, and defrags the list with ticks.
- The GUI looks just as good as any of the commercial competition.
- It has a clever feature of allowing boot time defrags no more than once a day or once every two
- You can run a defrag only, fast optimise or full optimise depending on how much time you are
willing to invest.
|It is not perfect, but far from fatally flawed:
- MajorGeeks.com handles the download for them. The site is a
minefield of deception trying to trick you into downloading and installing something that is not IOBit
- You have no control over the algorithm used to place files. For a non-techie, this could be
considered an advantage. I think it sorts by last-modify date. It does not do space compression, even
when you fully optimise.
- There is no command line interface.
- There is no cluster query function to find out what is being stored in each cluster. This makes it
hard to figure out what it is thinking.
- It uses two bands, rather than the traditional three, frequently-used and infrequently-used. It
correctly puts most of the frequently used files in the outer prime real estate, but it oddly puts some
of them in the centre. I am not sure why. There is no documentation on its strategy on the rationale
- It does not internally tidy either the registry or the MFT.
- It used to be extremely slow at analysing disks, but that has been fixed.
SpeedDisk part of the Norton Utilities 15
||includes 3 licenses.
Norton Utilities 360 is the deluxe version with the same defragger.
Last revised/verified: 2012-01-01
- Particularly good at speeding up read access to files.
- Fast since it does not use the klunky official defrag interface.
- It can defrag the MFT, pagefile, dirs etc. without a reboot. It places
frequently accessed file near the start of the partition.
- Moves small files into the MFT which gives them faster access and ensures they take
up less space. (The downside is the MFT needs more frequent defragging.) It is very simple
- Puts frequently/infrequently accessed/modified files in separate bands.
- Places the MFT, then the pagefile, then the directories, then the high access files.
Norton’s placement makes more sense to me.
- The rainbow hued analysis map changes in ways that make sense. Other defraggers seem to have no
method to their actions. They appear to just as often be messing up the disk as defragging it.
- It requires only one session to fully defrag the disk.
- Norton defragger has been around since the DOS (Disk Operating System)
days. It was one of the first.
- There are no options to configure other than the names of files you want put near the beginning or
end of the disk.
- It has the disturbing quality of redefining how much of each kind of file it has as it
- Cannot defrag the first 16 clusters of the MFT.
- It is quite slow when it defrags small files.
- Microsoft claims Symantec’s online defrag of the MFT
is dangerous. This could just be Microsoft getting huffy over Symantec bypassing its official klutzy
defrag interface, or it could represent a true problem. If Microsoft implemented it properly, there
would be no need for bypassing it.
- The defragger is noisier than most, sounding as if it is going to shake your disk to death.
- Two different sets of utilities all on one CD (Compact Disk), a set. For
windows, make sure you manually configure a swap file with Control Panel ⇒
System ⇒ Performance ⇒ Virtual Memory, otherwise SpeedDisk will keep restarting,
fearing writes to the temporary swap file. It moves the swap file and directories. However under
it does not move directory entries (on FAT partitions) and metadata files (on
NTFS partitions). It leaves them where they are, calling them unmovable files, scattered across the drive. To defrag them, you would have to reformat
the drive and reload the files, creating all the directory entries first.