Best Free Disk De-fragmenter

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Introduction

Fragmentation: why it happens

Suppose you are browsing the web, downloading your favorite songs and installing an application all at the same time, how does your system write all these files without any interruption to your activity? Well it's simple: it responds to all applications' write requests (I/O operations) by writing all files at a continuous location on your disk.

Representation of a disk track:

(Fig. 1)

Yellow: Temporary written internet files
Red: Installation (Game)
Blue: Song cache

The purpose of disk defragmenters is to reorganize such files which are supposed to be together. An ideal situation after defragmentation would look like this:

(Fig. 2)

But what happens when you uninstall, delete, or simply clean your temporary files? Imagine yourself uninstalling the application (game) you installed. The disk could look like this:

(Fig. 3)

The white zone is empty space without fragmentation. A disk looking like this will have just a little or even imperceptible impact on performance. In this case defragmentation is needed but not critical.

The last thing you want to see is a hybrid combination. Files very fragmented fig 1 and empty disk space fig3 but instead of contiguous clean sectors you'll find what we call fragmented empty space. And this is what it looks like:

(Fig. 4)

This is the worst case scenario. Overall system performance will be compromised and fragmentation is critical. You should defragment (defrag) or let your defragmenter schedule and execute the defrag process for you.

Standard mechanical HDDs (hard disk drives) will benefit from defragmentation and continuous disk use, because when spinning it keeps remagnetizing the HDD plates. But if you own an SSD (solid state drive) you SHOULD NOT defrag or install any defragmenter application because it will shorten the life of the drive.

So when testing defragmenter software we are going to evaluate it with some parameters:

  • Speed of analysis on fragmented files: Isn't it speed we want from our computer?
  • Speed of defrag
  • Some extras: such as scheduled defrag, shutdown PC when done, etc.
  • Defrag capabilities: why is this placed in last position? Because almost all of today’s defragmenters can perform this task with very similar results.

Well, it's time for action now and let me introduce you to the de-fragmenters.

 
Discussion

UltraDefragUltraDefrag is simple yet has a lot of customizable options through text files and scripts via two mouse-clicks. Not only is the defragmentation super fast, but also you are not going to notice it's working! You can keep doing your things while UltraDefrag does what was born to do… defrag. It performs so well you are going to want to carry it in your wallet. A lot of varied boot defrag commands. If your goal is to optimize your system startup at maximum, this is what you need.

 

MyDefragMyDefrag, JK defrag with a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Bad? No, just awesome!

Unbelievable power user options for everyone without having to configure any script. Just select the option that best suits your needs and it's done. MyDefrag employs an algorithm that places the most used files at the beginning of the disk. This decreases access times because the actuator arm of the hard drive has no need to move to the end of a disk to search a file.

If you don't know what a HDD looks like, please see below:

The trick revealed and a little science.

When you turn off your computer (or Windows shut downs your HDD), the actuator arm has a designated "landing zone" (a specific sector at the beginning of the disk) that remains stationary until the next startup. This is to avoid disk scratch and therefore, data loss (data is read via magnetism, touching surfaces is not required). When turned back on, the closest sector to the actuator arm is already near the "landing zone" (beginning of the disk) so it's faster to read files on that sector than others in outer zones of the disk.

Also, the surface distance travelled is considerably less in the inner sectors of the disk. So, placing files at the beginning of the disk is the best idea.

MyDefrag is not the only defragmenter capable of doing this, as many others include an option. However, MyDefrag achieves this in a much simpler way. This is combined with a good “fast defrag”; the choice of specific options, many others by scripting, and excellent defragmentation methods and simple scheduler options.

 

This little boy, DiskTune, is not exactly a kid. Despite the use of Windows API to do defragmentation jobs, it's incredibly fast, simple and lightweight. Many useful options just a couple pixels of distance. Direct access to usual options such as Analyze, Defrag (quick), Optimize (rearrange) and Compact (defrag free space). The best thing about DiskTune? The ability to create a shortcut to your desktop and then double-clicking it to run a fully customized defrag. Four words—“one size fits all”.

 

Defraggler thumbnailPiriform's Defraggler—The first thing that caught my attention when first opening Defraggler was a green word, GOOD. I quickly realized it was telling me about S.M.A.R.T. Status (information provided by the disk itself, reporting temperature etc). This is a great feature and has its own tab on the program for detailed view.

In terms of defragmentation ability, Defraggler is one of the best choices you could make. It performs a very fast “quick defragmentation” with decent file reorganization but if you perform a complete defrag process, which takes longer, you obtain results that are worthwhile. Your files will be together as they should be as solid as a concrete wall. Defraggler also supports scheduling, low priority and boot defrag. Highly recommended.

 

MyDefragmenterMyDefragmenter, Ultradefrag with a very simple, intuitive GUI plus a full scheduler which has the ability to program defrag while shutting down or starting up computer. Includes a 24/7 support by phone call and online help.

 

Auslogics Disk Defrag thumbnailAuslogics Disk Defrag is another quality disk defragmentation program. During a fresh installation the installer asked if I wanted to install a Tool Bar and/or change my home page. These were easily de-selected before the installation process began. Auslogics Disk Defrag can be ran from a easy to understand GUI (Graphical User Interface) or you can use the command line tool for more advanced users. Auslogics also optimizes defragmented files and space by defragmenting free space and moving system files to the fastest part of the disk. The software is designed to defrag multi-terabyte volumes. If you choose you can defragment a particular folder or a single file by selecting the file out of a list of fragmented files. The program is set-up for automated defragmentation and will allow you to analyze your disks before you defragment. Auslogics also has a portable version available which can be run directly from your USB drive. Both versions are free and are allow for home or commercial use. The developers also have several articles regarding defragmenting your hard drive including How to defrag your drives the right way: 7 defrag tricks to learn today". This article includes topics such as temporary files and how to prevent the loss of your system restore points. The software only supports 64 bit on Windows 7/8 operating systems. The developers have updated this software twenty-four times in the last thirty four months, eleven of those were in 2012. Needless to say continued development of the product remains strong.  I have used this program on all of my computers for the last couple of years without any issues. Operating systems I have successfully operated on include XP 32bit; Windows 7 32 & 64bit.

 

Also reviewed but not included:

-Puran Defragmenter

-O&O defrag free edition

-Others

 

Feel free to suggest any software not already mentioned for review.

 
Quick Selection Guide

UltraDefrag
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
System files defragmentation. Incredibly fast in all tasks. Power (scripting) features.
Some settings only accessible by configuration file (txt).
6.0.2
681.6 KB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
This version will install on PCs running: Windows XP / 2003 / Vista / Windows7 / XP64 / Vista64 / Windows7 64
MyDefrag
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
For average and power users
Not regularly updated
4.3.1
2.035 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 2008, Win7, and for X64.
DiskTune
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very Fast. Can create shortcut to double click customized defrag.
Windows API. Needs to improve system resources usage
1.1.31
1.06 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
This version will install on PCs running: Windows XP / 2003 / Vista / Windows7 / XP64 / Vista64 / Windows7 64
Defraggler
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very solid piece of software. Updated regularly. Now with S.M.A.R.T. monitoring.
No optimization feature yet.
http://www.defraggler.com/
2.13.670
3.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
This version will install on PCs running: Windows XP / 2003 / Vista / 7 / 8 /
MyDefragmenter
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Well recognized Ultradefrag engine. Excellent scheduler.
Not regularly updated.
http://www.mydefragmenter.com/
1.1
1.8 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP

Running on x64 computer requires download and replace DLLs available at Mydefragmenter website
http://www.mydefragmenter.com/help/

Auslogics Disk Defrag
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very fast at analyzing and performing a quick defragmentation.
Optimize function could be faster.
4.1.0.0
5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Win 8 (32 or 64 bit), Win 7 (32 or 64 bit), Vista SP2 (32-bit only), XP SP3 (32-bit only)

 
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Tags
defrag disk, defragment hard disk, disk defragmenter, free disk defrag software.

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Comments

by Anonymous on 5. January 2010 - 4:36  (40280)

Defraggler does the same job as MyDefrag only a thousand times faster. And Auslogics is a joke. I can't believe anything got rated ahead of Defraggler.

by Anonymous on 5. January 2010 - 15:28  (40327)

"Defraggler does the same job as MyDefrag" - it is unable to do that!

Use Defraggler if you like, but you don't need to do frivolous assertions.

by MidnightCowboy on 5. January 2010 - 10:02  (40304)

Auslogics (or any others of these programs) is only a 'joke' for people with no understanding of the product technology. This is of course unless you know something which everyone else has missed?

by Anonymous on 4. January 2010 - 0:33  (40175)

AusLogics Defrag (&) more...

Latest Version: 3.1.2.90 (version history)
File Size: 2.21 MB
Supported Windows Versions: 7/Vista/2008/XP/2003
Release Date: December 30, 2009

by Anonymous on 5. January 2010 - 2:22  (40275)

I'm glad to see the recommendation change. I tried MyDefrag on my laptop, and seemed to have problems when I ran it. I'm giving Auslogics a try, although on my desktop I use Defraggler and find it effective and trouble-free.

by Anonymous on 3. January 2010 - 1:41  (40083)

I just have finished testing the "Disk Defrag" - released by Quicksys (a registered trademark of BMSoftware Informática LTDA), from Brazil.

Even if it is in beta version (1.16/August 2009), it worked "like greased"!
I remained amazed by its performances.

http://www.qdiskdefrag.com/

It is very fast. It consumes few resources. And it is able to detect more fragmented files, than its competitors. For example, in my case, it detected 1783 such files, versus 1781 - detected by UltimateDefrag Freeware Edition (v. 1.72), and 1782, detected by Auslogics' Disk Defrag 3 and by MyDefrag 4.

Unfortunately, it refused to defragment 7 big audio files (.ape), bigger than 100 MB, each.
(MyDefrag "saw" only 5 such files.)

I have not tested, yet, its optimization capabilities. Being still in beta, I was reticent. I do not know how "intelligent" are their algorithms - capable of detecting the best location of the fragments of a file. ("QSICA - Quicksys Intelligent Clusters Allocation")

I also liked the interface - which is well organized. All the buttons you need are easily accessible.

It is a very promising program. When the company will launch the final version, I hope that it will be officially tested by Mister Drewbee.

Quicksys Disk Defrag 1.16 beta has already won "the editors' pick" from softpedia.com! I think it worths to be tried.

Tip: when you install the program, uncheck the option to install the "Ask search-engine toolbar". [File Size: 3.83 MB (Installer) / 1.40 MB (Portable)]

A competent comment, from the Administrator of this rubric, about Disk Defrag 1.16, would be welcomed.

Wolfram

by Anonymous on 2. January 2010 - 11:56  (40026)

I used the "move files to end of disk" function of MyDefrag GUI and it sped up my downloads from 90 kbs to 100 kbs. The only other tool that does this is Defraggler but not as well as MyDefrag GUI.

by Anonymous on 1. January 2010 - 6:31  (39964)

I used Auslogics for months. Very satisfied.

by Anonymous on 30. December 2009 - 17:54  (39837)

What is the best Registry Defrag?

by Anonymous on 31. December 2009 - 13:58  (39902)

try free registry defrag I am using it

by Anupam on 31. December 2009 - 11:42  (39892)

Don't know about the best, but I know of some registry defrag softwares. They are Eusing Registry Defrag, QuickSys Registry Defrag, and Registry Defrag from iExperts.

by Anonymous on 31. December 2009 - 11:13  (39889)

for xp still prefer diskkeeper lite from majorgeeks

by Anonymous on 31. December 2009 - 11:15  (39890)

sorry this is for disc defrag but registry it was auslogics until they started charging for it

by Anonymous on 30. December 2009 - 18:33  (39840)

NTREGOPT

by Anonymous on 5. January 2010 - 2:27  (40276)

I'll second that. The same folks also make ERUNT, a very nice registry backup and restore program I've used several times.

by Rizar on 23. December 2009 - 15:06  (39229)

It looks like the MyDefragGUI is quite out-of-date. It still uses MyDefrag 4.1.0.1.exe. Too bad, it looks excellent and reminded me of good old JKdefrag.

by Anonymous on 30. December 2009 - 22:28  (39855)

My suggestion: please wait for MyDefragPowerGUI: http://www.emro.nl/freeware/

by Rizar on 31. December 2009 - 18:10  (39928)

Thanks for the info. It looks excellent!

by 4einc on 22. December 2009 - 4:02  (39136)

Hey guys I couldn't help but notice MyDefrag got dethroned well with that being said I have came across a lovely defragger Ashampoo Magical Defrag 2 I know your sayin you have to pay for it... well through this site:
http://www.techno360.in/free-1499-worth-ashampoo-magical-defrag-2-license/

it'll give you a license for free, it does work as I got it on mine... it's a nice little defragger too give it a look as I'm sure it's good enough to make this list as it's a true "Set it and forget it"

- Shane -

by Anonymous on 21. December 2009 - 11:15  (39099)

Ultimate Defrag Freeware Edition used to be on the list. Why has it been taken off?

by drewbee on 22. December 2009 - 2:10  (39132)

When I reviewed it I found it to have very limited Windows Vista support.

If this has changed I would be glad to review it, but I could not sensibly support a piece of software that ruled out millions of PC users.

by Anonymous on 20. December 2009 - 22:24  (39081)

Auslogics Disk Defrag is simply fantastic. Do not need try other defrag prog, this is brilliant. Thanks the advice.

by Anonymous on 17. December 2009 - 1:05  (38843)

Auslogic has an appealing look - MyDefrag has an exceptional performance after their optimization process.

Auslogic is to the eyes - MyDefrag to the disk.

For some reason Auslogic is learning with MyDefrag... e.g.: Auslogic has screensaver defrag and an optimization option now...

by Anonymous on 17. December 2009 - 14:34  (38880)

I have been using IObit's Smart Defrag for months without any problem. And it sure beats the Defragmenter that came with Windows XP as far as I'm concerned, by far. I now read that there are problems with IObit's software. Would someone please explain to me what their concerns or problems are?

by MidnightCowboy on 17. December 2009 - 18:18  (38890)

This concerns Iobit's improper use of malware sample code which was taken from Malwarebytes and used in the database for Iobit360. You will find plenty of information about this all over the web including some in our own thread here.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/security/2672-iobits-secu...

by Anonymous on 16. December 2009 - 23:35  (38840)

Auslogics, OMG, OMG, this is proof this site is no longer able to give advice... plz test software first and do some sort of comparative review! Bad advice!!!

by drewbee on 19. December 2009 - 17:45  (39024)

I am open to any differing view as to what I have published, however this view should be supported.

I did not just "throw" up this review in an attempt to appease readers. This decision was done after testing of the Auslogics product, which I found to be superior. It's defragmenting time was significantly shorter than that of MyDefrag's, while still obtaining similar if not better results. MyDefrag is an exceptional piece of software, which is why it still has a high rating.

People must understand, even though one piece of software is on top, it does not mean that every other software out there is rubish. It simply means that in my opinion, as editor of this article, I believe Auslogics is superior.

Furthermore, I do not expect everyone who reads this to agree with my findings. That is why this is a "review." It was written to provide perspective to the average internet user on which program to choose. All these programs are recommended as excellent products, it is up to you to gather the data and opinions from my article and choose what is best for you.

One last thing. I welcome comments from others, but please have evidence or anything to support your claim before you post. Viewers can get a lot out of the comment section, but simply insulting me and the website doesn't help anyone.

Drew

by syntax_error on 30. December 2009 - 0:26  (39768)

Keep up the good work drewbee, your views and that of other reviewers here are highly regarded.

Doesn't mean I use every program at the top of the reviewed list but that's why there is a list, with the pros and cons of the top free software alternatives. What more could we want.

by Anonymous on 27. December 2009 - 9:18  (39587)

I agree. The new Auslogics Disk Defrag is excellent. 100% better than the old versions.

by MidnightCowboy on 17. December 2009 - 9:48  (38869)

Maybe you'd like to publish your own test results here to demonstrate where we have gone wrong with Auslogics? If you care to register and then send me a PM via the forum I'll be pleased to make this arrangement for you.

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