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  Diskeeper 9 Defragmentation Application Review
 
 

Author: Mungler
Editor: Agi

What is Diskeeper and what does it do?
Diskeeper is a program designed to replace the standard Windows defrag application. As anyone who knows a thing or two about computers will tell you, defragging your disk is essential. Over time you write a lot of 'stuff' on to your computers' hard drive. Windows does it's best to put a file into a single sector of the hard disk, but sometimes this is just not possible. The file is then split into several sections and placed in the next available sector of the disk. This is called a fragmented file. Over time, more and more files we become fragmented as they shrink and grow, get deleted or moved. Fragmented files take longer to read than the non fragmented brothers. So, the more fragmented files you have, the slower your PC will get...until you can stand it no longer and run defrag. Only now, it will take about a month to tidy up your leviathan 300GB hard drive!

Diskeeper 9 performs the same defrag function as the standard Windows defrag, but Executive Software has added a whole wealth of features in with the deal that will make keeping your files tidy a far less tortuous ordeal.

Diskeeper main features include:

  • Fully automatic??just ??Set It and Forget It?
  • 10x faster than the built-in defragmenter
  • Smart Scheduling mode automatically schedules background defragmentation
  • Graphical displays show exactly how much performance and reliability is being lost to fragmentation
  • Screen saver mode defragments while your system is idle
  • Powerful, easy-to-use interface

DisKeeper Pro adds the following features:

  • Special Terabyte Volume Engine (TVE) for ultra-large server volumes (Diskeeper Server Enterprise Edition)
  • Advanced ??Set It and Forget It?
  • Boot-time mode to defragment critical system areas of the disk that the built-in defragmenter misses
  • FragShield, Master File Table, your disk??s virtual table of contents, and paging file, disk-based extension of memory protector
  • File Performance defragmentation
  • Laptop power saving mode that suspends background defragmentation while the system is running on battery power

Where do I get it?
Diskeeper 9 is available online from Executive Software for immediate download or for delivery on CD-ROM. Diskeeper 9 comes in many many flavours!

  • Standard Edition
  • Professional Edition
  • Administrator Edition
  • Server Edition

?and finally

  • Server Enterprise Edition

Each version is tailored for different purposes, ranging from the single home user to large server farms and other multi-user set-ups. For the purpose of this review, I have Diskeeper 9 Professional Edition on CD-ROM.

Test System:
Once again, my grlfriends' poor old PC gets used like nothing more than a laboratory rat. But hey, with all the nice software I have been using on it recently it should live well into double-digit figures old ;)

  • Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 installed
  • P4 2.2GHz
  • Gigabyte GX (GA-8SIML)
  • 256MB of DDR RAM
  • 1 x 10GB HD with OS installed
  • 1 x 160GB HD with loads of junk on it

Installation
Installation went smoothly and without incident. The Windows Service pack 2 security centre displayed a message complaining about installing software from unknown publishers, but I have found it says that for almost everything. It took only a few moments for the program to install and I was ready to roll. I started up the program and was greeted with the option to check online for upgrades. A newer build (511) was available and I chose to install it. One 18.6MB download later I was greeted with a screen that confused me a little. It appeared very much like the initial install screen i had already completed earlier. No visible clue was given that I was actually upgrading the software and not replacing it. This worried me slightly. However, once the upgrade completed, Diskeeper fired up nicely.

First Impressions and Usage
The user interface is large and relatively uncluttered. the left hand menu down the side of the screen lets you access all of the functions you need to use the program.

Using the Analyze function, information is given to the user on performance and improvements after defragging in the information pane located near the bottom of the screen.

Main screen showing amount of fragmentation

Dialog box showing amount of improvement

Once a volume has been analyzed, you get results like mine above. Your only good choice is to start a defrag. The defrag process can happily run in the background thanks to an innovation called I/O smart. Defrag operations are paused while any read/write operations are happening. Unlike regular defrag this means that Diskeeper can be running in the background while you are working and, while there is a small slowdown, your machine will not freeze up or hang for hours while the defrag is completing. Diskeeper also has a number of other handy options...for instance you can set it up to run the defragging only while the screen saver is on, truly blissful!


Advanced Usage (Set it and forget it)
Normally a PC should be scheduled to defragment it's drive every month or so, depending on usage. This would keep the drives in top condition for whatever you want to use them for. So I would usually try and set the Windows defrag to run at some silly time in the morning so it doesn't disturb me, but the PC is always off at those times in the mornings. So next time you switch on the PC it tells you that you wanted it to defrag. "Not now" you say as you actually want to use the computer.
So, in steps Smart scheduling. With Smart Scheduling feature set up, you no longer have to decide how often to defragment your disks. DisKeeper keeps track of how many files have been moved each time it runs and will adjust the scheduled to cater for your individual level of usage. This, combined with the fact that it runs in the background, is a winning combo! Your drives will defrag automatically and remain defragmented without having to click a single button.


Conclusion
Diskeeper is a program of far greater use and full of better features than the standard defrag. It is also less intrusive when it is running and will tailor its schedule to your level of usage. All of these things in one package make Diskeeper a great addition to a computers toolkit.

Pros

  • Doesn't lock up your system when running
  • Smart scheduling means it only defrag when it needs to
  • Screen saver mode makes the whole process almost invisible to the user
  • Plenty of useful information given on the screen

Cons

  • The DfrgNTFS system process eats a whopping 41MB of system memory when running
  • It didn't come pre-installed with Windows ;)

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      Posted by: , February 7, 2005, 6:00 pm  

 
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