Name: Diskeeper 2007 Professional
Usage: Disk de-fragmentation
Platform: Windows 200, XP, Vista
Company: Diskeeper Corporation
Verdict: Highly recommendable
What is Disk fragmentation and do we care?
Due to the Windows file system a file might be broken up in to blocks that are stored scattered around the disk. When a file is scattered we say the file is fragmented. When accessing fragmented files the speed is reduced as the hard drive will need to use several disk accesses to get the data from the disk. Having all data contiguous (defragmented) will allow faster access to the data. When a fragmented file is deleted it will leave ‘holes’ so creating new files will be slower and again the access will be slow. When using Windows many files will be used all the time; this might be files for Windows or user files; so it is VERY likely that files will get fragmented and if no defragmentation happens it will only get worse over time. Another issue with very fragmented files is that it can in theory reduce the life-span of the hard drive as the heads inside the hard drive will have to move a lot more than if all files where defragmented.
So the main goal with a disk defragmentation program is to remove all fragments and make sure all files are stored contiguous; at the same time making sure new files got space to be created without fragments. This will have a big impact on the performance of the whole PC.
In the old DOS days I was a big fan of Norton’s Speed Disk. Not that it was the only disk fragmentation program but it was the one I had most trust to. Things changed when I moved to Windows; didn’t really trust or feel that any of the disk fragmentation programs worked as I wanted. The build-in from Windows worked okay as long as you didn’t use the PC while it was working… So for many years I didn’t use disk fragmentation programs as often as I should.
Time changed and trust came back
So time changed and Diskeeper took over (for me at least). I’m not 100% sure when Diskeeper appeared for the first time; I first saw it when it was at version 6 or so, so several years ago. I did try the trail versions but never really decided if it was what I wanted. I was close to buying it when they got to version 9 and 10 but first bought it when it reached version 2007.
I mentioned trust several times already; the reason for this is that I MUST be able to trust programs that work on the hard drive in a way as Diskeeper does. It does after all go directly to the file system on a lower level than most programs does. This is specially the case when a defragmentation happens at boot time. It gets even more interesting when the program works on the disk WHILE the user is working. After evaluating and testing the trail version of Diskeeper 2007 Professional I felt good enough about the software and bought it.
The edition of Diskeeper that I bought was the 2007 Professional one. They do offer several other editions for home use and some for servers. For me I had to choose between Diskeeper 2007 Home, Diskeeper 2007 Professional and finally Diskeeper 2007 Pro Premier. The reason I decided for the Professional edition was the features it offered that was missing in the Home edition. These are “Automatic Directory Consolidation” and “FragShieldâ„¢”. FragShieldâ„¢ guards against fragmentation of system files; the “Automatic Directory Consolidation” makes file searching and access faster which also helps for backups and virus checks.
The Pro Premier edition offers all the features of the Professional edition but also “I-FAASTâ„¢ 2.0” which I didn’t feel I needed, it also supports larger than 768 GB drives which I don’t have any way. Who knows; maybe I will end up investing in this version when I upgrade to a new PC. Just a word about I-FAAST 2.0 (Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology), it is used to monitor file access and reorganize files for fastest possible access. So files that are often used will be faster to access.
So let me mention some of the features that made me decide for Diskeeper 2007.
- Running in the background (InvisiTaskingâ„¢).
This was one of the main reasons for me to choose Diskeeper. It is possible to have Diskeeper running in the background without it taking any CPU time from other programs. So it will NOT slow down the PC. Often when you work with the PC there will be idle time; this is when the CPU is not working at full power. Example: While you are reading this text the CPU is not doing much but when you open an application or if you are playing a game it will be busy. So the system will use idle time for disk defragmentation. I had a funny experience with this: I had some issues with other programs that slowed the PC down; so I was watching what tasks was running and how much CPU they used. Then suddenly 25% of the CPU was used; I quickly checked what program it was: Diskeeper. Made me laugh a bit as it proved that their system is working. So now I have Diskeeper running ALL the time but it never disturbs me; actually I don’t even think about having it running at all.
- Simple to use.
Start it, configure it… Forget about it. This is the simplest way to use Diskeeper, let it do the work in the background. Of course you can analyze a drive and see the stats of it and force a defragmentation; but you don’t really have to do so.
- Multiple drives.
I have several hard drives with multiple partitions and I have defined them all to be automatic defragged in the background. Works without any problems. Only problem is if a drive is larger than 768 GB then the Pro Premier version is needed.
- Boot-time mode.
This allows Diskeeper to run at the very start of the booting of the PC making it possible to defrag important system files; such as paging file; Master File Table…
- Defragmentation when having low free space.
The system does not require a lot of free space on a drive for defragmentation. The Microsoft defragmentation program has failed to work for me several times as I was low on space. So I had to move data between the drives before I could defrag.
The Future (Windows Vista)
Good news here. Diskeeper Corp announced yesterday in a newsletter that Windows Vista is now supported by Diskeeper. (Not really a surprise that they would). They even offer a free upgrade to people who already bought Diskeeper 2007. I have not tested how well it works with Vista as I do not have Vista installed on any of my PCs.
My experience with Diskeeper has only been positive; I never had lost files; broken files or crashes because of Diskeeper. If I had then I would not have done the review. What I have gained from Diskeeper is hard to say; did the PC become faster… my feeling is yes but I can not say how much faster. Just knowing that it is defragged is enough. I fully trust Diskeeper and will continue to run it; also on all future PC’s. Only regret is that I didn’t get the software earlier.
So if you are a PC user running Windows; if you got a hard drive (I know… you do) and would like the hard drive to work with optimal performance then I recommend you to get Diskeeper.