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  Diskeeper 8.0 Defragmentation Utility
 
 

Diskeeper 8.0

Introduction

It's amazing the almost exponential growth of hard drives in recent years. But no matter how much free space you have left on your drive, when you install programs, save files, or make changes to your hard drive, files are fragmented in the process. Over time, your computer can accumulate hundreds of thousands, even millions of fragments. Accessing data gets slower and slower because the hard disk has to read more and more fragments. For years, Microsoft has included a disk defragmention utility with their Operating Systems. Up through Windows 95, it seemed this default disk defragger was adequate for all but the most extreme conditions. Unfortunately, in recent years, it appeared like Disk Defragmenter just couldn't keep up. Then last year I ran into the following situation.

Recently my PC at work was starting to move in slow motion. Even though it was a P4-2GHz with 512MB of RAM and an Ultra 133 hard drive, it still ran like garbage. So I downloaded Executive Software's Diskeeper Lite and gave it a shot. I couldn't believe how better my system ran after Diskeeper defragmented the drive. It was so much faster and responsive.

However, in a moment of weakness, I ran Windows XP's default disk defragmenting tool. Again my PC ran like garbage. So I used Diskeeper to analyze the drive and found it to now be 27% fragmented!! After I ran Diskeeper a second time, my PC became quicker and responsive once again.

...and I haven't had that problem since. After that good experience I had with Diskeeper Lite, I upgraded to Diskeeper 7.0 Professional. Now Executive Software has updated the utility once again - Diskeeper 8.0.

What's New

  • Faster, more efficient defragmentation engines designed specifically for your operating system.
  • Exclusive Terabyte Volume Engine (TVE) for rapid defragmentation of volumes with millions of files and from 100 GB to 4 terabytes each (512GB for Professional Edition,  up to 768GB for Server Edition, and 100GB and greater for Server Enterprise Edition).
  • Greatly expanded centralized administration. Every Diskeeper 8.0 defragmenter can integrate with new Diskeeper Administrator Edition for full network control, detailed reports and automatic alerts for dangerously low free space and disk corruption problems
  • Completely new user interface designed from the ground up for fast and easier scheduling and access to all Diskeeper features.
  • Quick tabs graphically display performance gains achieved with defragmentation. Also evaluates the condition of your disk against documented factors know to affect reliability and stability.
  • Graphically displays actual performance gains achieved.
  • Power management feature for laptop computers.

Observations

The first thing that struck me was the new interface. It is remarkably better than the version 7.0 interface. The display boxes offer a wealth of useful information.

Diskeeper 8.0

The screen above displays a useful bit of information. While it is taking 1.4 times longer to access the fragmented files, that amount of fragmentation does not degrade the overall operation of the computer.

The interface shows the level of fragmentation and includes helpful explanations (image below).

Diskeeper 8.0

With this image, you can see the performance improvement to the fragmented files as well as the total system improvement after defragmentation.

Disk defragmentation is only effective if it is runs. Simple statement. But many users do not run defraggers on a regular basis. Executive Software really pushes their "Set It and Forget It" scheduling mode. While it is basically just a scheduling program, it does offer a wealth of different options. One caveat...if you need it to run once a week, you will not see that option. Instead, select "Continuous." This is where you'll find the ability to schedule simple once a week defragging.

Another of the features in version 8.0, is "faster, more efficient defragmentation." While it would be difficult for a typical user to quantify efficiency, it is faster than 7.0. You probably won't notice a significant decrease in defragmentation time over 7.0, but when you are defragging a 250GB hard drive, every bit helps. And compared to the default defrag utility, it's much faster. Less time defragging, means more time for fragging ;-)

Diskeeper Drive Map

Another nice feature of Diskeeper 8.0 is a check on the Reliability of the drive. In this case, it isn't checking the actual physical nature of the drive, but rather show you how the level of fragmentation of the drive will affect you computer's reliability.

Diskeeper Reliability Rating

One final feature of Diskeeper that you won't find in the default Windows Disk Defragmenter (or even Norton's Speed Disk which I also had used) is Boot-Time Defragmentation (available in the Professional Edition) which can consolidate directories into a single location. It can also defragment the paging file or the Master File Table (MFT). Because of Windows XP's architecture, this is the only effective way to defrag the Swap File (paging file).

One feature I think is criticial in all software is the ability to have the program auto-update itself. Nothing is as tedious as having to hunt around for patches to keep your apps updated. While it's good to know Diskeeper employs this feature, it's not where one would expect it to be. Most applications (including Windows and Internet Explorer) have the Update utility in the Tool Bar. In Diskeeper, the "Check for Product Update" selection is located under the "Help" Section of the Command Menu (on the left side of the main screen).

Final Thoughts

Diskeeper has been an important component of my "utility toolbox" and the release of version 8.0 has only solidified that position. If you are a hard-core gamer or power user, you owe it to yourself to check it out. You can click here for the latest prices on the family of Diskeeper products.

If you already are a user of an earlier version of Diskeeper, you may be in luck. Users who purchased Diskeeper Home Edition or Diskeeper Desktop/Workstation Version 6.0 or 7.0 on or after May 26th 2003, can request a free upgrade to Diskeeper 8.0 for FREE. Click here for details.

BACK TO THE NEWS

Editor: This review was edited 3-6-04 to clarify statements regarding the "Update" feature of Diskeeper.

 
      Posted by: , February 29, 2004, 6:00 pm  

 
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