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Best Free Disk De-fragmenter

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  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
 
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)

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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

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Comments

by drewbee on 22. November 2009 - 21:01  (37125)

I apologize...I will update ASAP

by Anonymous on 27. November 2009 - 10:11  (37401)

Seeing forward for the update.

by Anonymous on 7. November 2009 - 18:27  (36177)

IObit software gone with the wind...

by irwanwr on 20. November 2009 - 20:37  (37009)

What do you mean exactly? I am using IObit Smart Defrag currently. Any new information I should know about it?

by Anupam on 20. November 2009 - 20:45  (37011)

Please have a look at this discussion on our forum :
http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/security/2250-iobit-secur...

Anupam

by Anonymous on 10. November 2009 - 12:40  (36313)

SmartDefrag 1.20 is still available. IOBit Security 360 which includes Smart Defrag is free for a year through tomorrow 11/11/2009.

Moderators comment:

Sorry but we have had to remove these links to Iobit because their site no longer conforms to our verification policy as it now carries a WOT warning

by Anupam on 10. November 2009 - 18:23  (36336)

After the recent developments which we have seen over some days regarding IObit, I seriously doubt, if anyone will take this offer.

Anupam

by Anonymous on 8. November 2009 - 22:02  (36230)

Easy come - easy go.

by Anonymous on 5. November 2009 - 8:42  (35877)
by drewbee on 12. November 2009 - 1:36  (36454)

Auslogics is being reviewed.

by Anonymous on 4. November 2009 - 22:07  (35842)

Didn't Smart Defrag used to be on this list? Why was it taken off?

by MidnightCowboy on 4. November 2009 - 23:16  (35845)
by Anonymous on 11. November 2009 - 18:20  (36431)

Thanks for the link but it doesn't tell me anything. The first post says "In light of recent events TSA has decided to adopt the same policy as other sites by withdrawing Iobit products and links from our reviews."

Hows about telling us what "recent events" means?

by MidnightCowboy on 11. November 2009 - 19:54  (36438)

I would love to if I had the time but unfortunately we are not a Google substitute

by Anonymous on 4. November 2009 - 1:20  (35757)

I had been using Mydefrag for some time now. But it seems that 4.2.5 is not getting better. I just installed Auslogic yesterday and that is an immediate improvement in start on my win7. I'm really getting very disappointed with Mydefrag. The difference of about 10sec. I time the load time as was told by Mydefrag manual.

by Anonymous on 3. November 2009 - 2:44  (35664)

Defraggler... beware of new version.. on uninstall it leaves options to "defrag folder with Defraggler" and also on right click Icon openings..
I had to registry edit the icon option and still have folder option..uninstall does NOT remove this!

by Anonymous on 29. October 2009 - 23:54  (35457)

I think Auslogics Disk Defrag is a great program whose developers work hard to continually improve it. They also offer a slick screensaver app for the defrag program at:
www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag-screen-saver/download
If you have any complaints or know of any bugs with this or any other freeware you use or try out, I'm sure the companies would appreciate your input.

by Anonymous on 29. October 2009 - 2:11  (35408)

The great thing about Auslogics Disk Defrag is the file tab shows you which files cannot be defragged, and then you can use Unlocker to try defragging that specific file or to (try to) remove that file if you think it's not needed.

by Anonymous on 28. October 2009 - 17:36  (35376)

Why is Ultimate Defrag (free version) not listed? Also MyDefrag review needs to be updated, im really hating this new version except i dont know where else to go, for instance now program needs to be installed. Power Defragmenter (3.x) is still a very limited GUI for contig what a crap...

by Anonymous on 28. October 2009 - 5:49  (35352)

I recently came across Flexomizer http://www.flexomizer.com/PermaLink,guid,ce99367e-158c-487a-879d-b32145c... defrag tool. Has anyone ever tried it?

by MidnightCowboy on 28. October 2009 - 9:08  (35357)

Appears to be more than five years old unless I'm missing a newer version somewhere?
If this is the case then more up to date offerings like MyDefrag and Auslogics have to be a better option.

by Anonymous on 21. October 2009 - 15:49  (35149)

Auslogics Disk Defrag 3 is out!
http://www.auslogics.com/disk-defrag

by Anonymous on 22. October 2009 - 19:58  (35276)

Is this normal: I ran the optimize function on Auslogics for the first time yesterday, and since then every time I finish defragmenting or optimizing the analyze box is always filled with red squares, and this was not the case before the first time I optimized. So do all those red squares mean the disk has not been defragmented?

by Anonymous on 4. November 2009 - 5:26  (35765)

what you need to do is turn off system restore points. just google it or you can download mydefrag and read about it in the manual.

by Anonymous on 23. October 2009 - 1:31  (35290)

I uninstalled Auslogics defrag and downloaded MyDefrag. It worked OK but then I downloaded MyDefrag GUI and it seems to work better. I also downloaded SmartDefrag.

Both MD-GUI and SD work great: they defragmented everything and optimized my hard disk. And both are WAY better than Auslogics defrag. Now I just have to decide which one to keep, since having both seems a waste of disk space. So there's my 2 cents.

by rikmayell (not verified) on 22. October 2009 - 5:10  (35220)

If you run version 3 of Auslogics Disk Defrag on a system with two monitors (running the release version of 64 bit Windows 7, but it shouldn't make a difference) the main program window appears half on one monitor, half on the other. Fixing this in their code requires a simple change to a constant value passed to the CreateWindow API call. Frankly, this shows poor attention to detail and makes me less inclined to give the software a try.

Rik Mayell - Category Editor Best Free Windows 7 / Vista 64 bit Software

by MidnightCowboy on 21. October 2009 - 17:54  (35164)

Downloaded after reading your post (thanks). I had defragged this drive once since setting up my new system two months ago but it's never been optimized. I have x64 Vista with a 160g drive but this is dual booted 50/50 with Ubuntu. Auslogics defragged 750 files and optimized the whole partition in just over 10 minutes which i didn't think was bad since there were 8 movies amongst that lot which always slow proceedings somewhat. Nice GUI plus automatic defrag option now in this version and I was quite impressed. I'm no expert in this field though so it will be interesting to see some comments from others who are.

by Anonymous on 15. October 2009 - 22:43  (34754)

Auslogics DiskDefrag is now at 3.0.2.40 Beta. They have fixed several bugs including missing Add/Delete buttons in the Exclusion window when settings are not at 96dpi, Error message when selecting Settings button, and Scheduler problems. When this release comes out of beta I think it should go to the #1 spot.

by Sope on 9. October 2009 - 14:33  (34223)

MyDefrag v4.2.1 is now available and has changed slightly from the current description on this page. Now it's more user friendly IMO. The standard defrag options have been renamed to Optimize Monthly, Weekly and Daily (which is more intuitive IMHO), and it now comes with a basic but effective GUI built in as standard.