SpockThePain

Defrag Program Suggestions

39 posts in this topic

I've been a Norton Speed Disk user. I've just learned that Norton defrags the disk using its own method, while most other defrag utilities utilize the XP layout.ini file. Because of that everytime I did a Norton Defrag, XP put files back on the disk the way it wanted them in the idle process. The two were always fighting each other.

Any experience with defrag programs to share? I'd like to consider something else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used the full version of perfect disk without complaint for a couple years now. Works well, and has a scheduler that keeps it automated for me. FWIW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like pprior, I settled on PerfectDisk. Tried demos of PerfectDisk, DisKeeper, and O&O before going with PerfectDisk. Had a problem with a key feature of O&O wouldn't work on my XP Pro system and their support wasn't all that impressive. Too bad, I like O&O. DisKeeper was OK, didn't seem to defrag as well as the others (no facts, just MHO). PerfectDisk worked well, was "set & forget", and has worked well for the last 6 months for me.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using Norton Speed Disk from Norton Utilities 2002 and I have had very good results.

Only thing, from Norton Utilities 2002, install only Speed Disk.

Install "Custom", remove check marks from all other apps, except for Basic files and Speed Disk. Install and you are ready to go. :lol:

I'm testing PerfecDisk 2000 version 5.

So far, I like it. Very good, very good. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have been using Norton Speed Disk from Norton Utilities 2002 and I have had very good results.

Only thing, from Norton Utilities 2002, install only Speed Disk.

Install "Custom", remove check marks from all other apps, except for Basic files and Speed Disk.  Install and you are ready to go. :lol:

I'm testing PerfecDisk 2000 version 5.

So far, I like it.  Very good, very good. :)

jd,

Did you notice the idle disk activity I was discribing? After weeks of trying to figure it out, once I turned off the scheduled Speed Disk the activity stopped. I'll have to look at PerfectDisk, there's a lot of support for it in UseNet, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't leave my computer on 24/7. The scheduler is off. I don't like programs managing my computer when it is unattended. Programs always conflict to each other. The only program that I have active on the startup is the antivirus program. I don't like reminders on the computer. Have you noticed that retail computers have tons of programs in their startup? This is a nono for me. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which program(s) would you suggest for defragmenting the swap file, and moving it to the beginning of the physical disk? I tried Speed Disk, but it didn't seem to recognize my swap file (permanent swap file in WinXP Pro)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't leave my computer on 24/7.  The scheduler is off.  I don't like programs managing my computer when it is unattended.  Programs always conflict to each other.  The only program that I have active on the startup is the antivirus program.  I don't like reminders on the computer.  Have you noticed that retail computers have tons of programs in their startup? This is a nono for me. :)

Well, I do probably have a ton of stuff starting when I start up but I know what all of it is. I have a startup manager and turn various things off that I don't use, etc. Still with bootvis I was able to get the total boot time to 30 seconds and I can start working before that as well.

One thing I've found with PerfectDisk is that the idle defrag seems to take off after its done. I'm starting to think this is just part of the XP api for defrag. I sure wish they'd give us more control over it instead of just running it every three days and at other seeminly random times as well. If you want to read about it MS talks a little bit about it on http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/platform/pe...e/benchmark.asp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll have to look at PerfectDisk, there's a lot of support for it in UseNet, too.

What group(s) have PerfectDisk discussions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll have to look at PerfectDisk, there's a lot of support for it in UseNet, too.

What group(s) have PerfectDisk discussions?

This website has at least one good, recursive thread regarding PerfectDisk, as well as some newsgroup threads on microsoft.public.win2000.general and microsoft.public.windowsxp.general, which can be found most easily using Honold's signature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What group(s) have PerfectDisk discussions?

Ya just have to do the research in Google Groups.

I will say this. First hand just using the demo, they are trying to do it right. They move things other programs won't touch. They try to organize things in an optimal way. Once I did defragmetation both online it just rejuvinated the whole machine. Diskeeper might have 90 percent of the market share but I don't know why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems Norton Utilities would have the largest market share. It'd be great if there were a comparison test of the 3 main players in defrag software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PerfectDisk IMO is overrated.

I tried PerfectDisk at work. Not good. Not only did it take forever to defrag the 70% empty drive, it greatly increased the level of fragmentation which subsequent passes did not correct (from about 1% fragmentation after a day not defragging with W2k's built-in defragger to almost 10% fragmentation). And this was not with a full drive, either. It was 70% free space.

I also have an issue with how PerfectDisk "optimizes" file placement. Raxco programmed it to use the last modified date for the file to determine how frequently the file is modified. Files modified within 30 days are considered frequently modified; those that haven't been modified in the last 60 days are considered infrequently modified. This does not take into account how frequently files are accessed (i.e., those that are read frequently but not written to -- and considering that more than three-quarters of all file I/O operations are reads, not writes, this leaves quite a few files unoptimized). Furthermore, all files are stacked together from the beginning of the disk with all free space appearing after the last file continuing to the end of the disk. This is not the optimal file placement strategy for performance.

Norton SpeedDisk's strategy is superior because it places the most frequently accessed files together at the front of the drive so as to minimize head movement. And, more importantly, it gives the user control as to where he/she would like his files placed. 2 options in particular are very useful in speed disk: (1) the "Files Placed Last" list and (2) the "Files Placed at the End" list.

With list 1, you can specify files that are modified and fragmented frequently (like your Outlook .PST files -- I get 30-40 fragments a day with my .PST files because I categorize all my e-mails by the project to which they refer, which entails moving e-mails between .PST files). Being placed closest to your free space means you can quickly and easily defrag these files (which is PerfectDisk's strategy).

With list 2, (Files Placed at the End), you can specify files that are infrequently used. Being placed at the very end of the disk means that they are not taking up prime real estate at the front or even middle of your disk and means that all your frequently used files/programs are tightly packed together near the front of the disk with no infrequently used files interspersed between them. This makes sense because you only really use 20% of your files 80% of the time.

To sum up, SpeedDisk is superior because it:

- optimizes based on frequency of access not frequency of modification (which excludes files that are mainly read and not written to from optimization)

- allows you to designate frequently modified files for placement adjacent to the free space (so you are also able to duplicate the real claim to fame of PerfectDisk)

- allows you to move all infrequently used files to the end of your drive, which further optimizes file placement of frequently used files (not possible with PerfectDisk)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kreativ,

Ask and you shall receive:

http://www.win2000mag.com/Articles/Index.c...leID=16442&pg=1

After reading this article, I should point out a correction to my previous post:

Apparently, in addition to the ability to specify file placement manually, SpeedDisk will place frequently modified files adjacent to the free space automatically, and will also automatically place infrequently modified files at the end of the disk as well. Oh well, I guess I forgot since I always use my own list of files in each case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After actually having used Speed Disk, the main problem I was having with it was the boot files placement. After every defrag, XP went crazy in the idle process moving the boot files back to where it wanted them to be. PerfectDisk has an option of taking over this process. After having selected it, XP no longer runs the idle defrag process even on its normal 3 day cycle.

Now the question is, if PerfectDisk can turn off the idle defrag then why can't anyone turn it off? If I would have been able to do that, I'd probably still be a Norton Speed Disk user since I'd never have done much more research into the issue.

As far as actual performance goes I don't feel much difference between Norton Speed Disk + MS BootVis as compared to just using PerfectDisk. I've never seen this, but what I'd like to see is some kind of benchmark system that would rate how well XP is working in real time. Then I wouldn't have to go on feel which is terribly unscientific. My only alternative is to bring up all sorts of performance graphs and I really don't want to get into that much detail.

One other question arises. Its mentioned that SpeedDisk uses the access date for its sorting. I've turned off access date updating for NTFS in the registry so how would it ever change anything? I turned it off for a performance tweak, but in reality, every time I did a whole system virus scan (once a week) the access date was made current anyway. For that reason I didn't find much use in the access date so I didn't have any problem doing the tweak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That review is nearly 2 years old. The author tested a pre-release version of Diskeeper v6.0, where that software is currently in the "Second Edition" of v7.0. That's not to say that the conclusions in the review are nessessarily wrong, but a lot has happened in the 22 months since they were written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, Steve. The biggest development IMO has not been with the defraggers, however, but with WinXP. IMO, XP does a good enough job of file placement optimization that you don't really need SpeedDisk or PerfectDisk. In fact, XP's file placement scheme is reminiscent of SpeedDisk's strategy -- it analyzes what files you access during bootup and during application launching and places them in order for faster bootup and application launching. If I had XP, I wouldn't mess with a good thing.

Anyways, for W2k, the clear choice IMO is SpeedDisk. As Spock noted, with XP, Norton hasn't updated SpeedDisk sufficiently to work with the built-in boot optimizer for example, so the choice here isn't as clear cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a SpeedDisk 2002 user (with Win2k), and it doesn't seem able to defragment and place the MFT, defragment directories, and other things that PerfectDisk is able to do.

Is SpeedDisk 2003 any better in these regards?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFAIK, the defragger shipped with Windows 2000/XP is a lite version

of Diskeeper. That may have contributed to its early popularity as a

utility upgrade for the OS. Executive Software (makers of Diskeeper) are

also fairly agressive in their marketing of products.

I'm using the latest version of Diskeeper (Workstation) now (7.0 b422),

and it does seem a little faster that the prior build, with a few

new features that make it a little easier to manage, but I would rather

like some of the file placement features that e_dawg outlined within

SpeedDisk. (IIRC there was a program called "fastdisk" (sic) that

was doing managed file placement years before Symantec got into the

act, but I don't see many other companies applying that as a prominent

feature, which would seem to be a chance at a selling point in my mind.)

However, I think that feature in SpeedDisk was a leftover from the

DOS-Windows9x development days, and the reason other defrag makers have

not looked at such a feature may have come from the assumption that

Windows2K/XP does a much better job of managing the filesystem; so

the ability to selectively place files was not considered as important.

The newer Diskeeper does have the ability to defrag the MFT and directories,

but only as an included boot up step prior to the GUI loading.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't SpeedDisk also have a setting for

files to never move? (like the boot files)?

To me defraggers like Diskeeper are more of the "set it and forget it" variety.

While something like SpeedDisk is the "optimize for tweakers" variety.

PerfectDisk and O&O (while I have not tried them) seem to fall somewhere in

between.

I also have a copy of Ontrack's Fix-it Utilities that I've been meaning to

play around with, and I'll try to report back the results of using its defrag

capability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now