I remember back in the day, the only tool that I knew of that actually had a defrag tool of any real value was Norton Utilities. In fact, I believe that Stacker, a drive compression tool that provided real time, data compression and decompression (effectively doubling the size of your drive…) of data on your drive ended up using an embedded version of Norton’s defrag utility. Point being, I loved that utility. It did everything that I needed it to do, including consolidating my directories, without having to boot to a command prompt; but alas, those days are long gone.
With the introduction of large capacity hard drives and the evolution of MS operating systems with the introduction of Windows XP, defrag tools have also evolved. Norton Defrag doesn’t work with any modern OS, and hasn’t since, I think 1997-98. So, I’ve had to find another tool.
Honestly, I’ve bounced back and forth between a couple different tools based on industry input and reviews, and with the implementation of different technologies. Lately, I’ve been using Diskeeper’s 2008 Pro Premier product and I have to say, I am very pleased. Is it the tool for you? Let’s take a quick peek and see…
With the older tools, there were a number of different methods used to defrag hard drives. Some of these technologies provided better results than others; and honestly, I really don’t remember what they were or what they were called. What’s even more important, I shouldn’t have to. A defrag tool really, at the end of the day, should be a "set it and forget it" kind of tool; and that is EXACTLY what Diskeeper 2008 Pro Premier is. For the less experienced user, it’s exactly what the non-techie type of computer user needs.
While Diskeeper Pro Premier 2008 will run on any XP compatible or Vista capable PC, in my opinion, its designed for high end computer systems. You should (realistically) have, at a minimum, a PC running XP/Vista with 512MB of RAM and a 2.0 GHz processor. In my experience, running previous versions of Diskeeper on any value-based PC with less than 512MB of RAM was painful and not recommended. Unfortunately, I can’t test this out with Diskeeper Pro Premier 2008, as I don’t have a value-based PC in the house. If you do and you give the app a shot, I’d love to hear back from you on how things went. However, if it takes forever to defrag your somewhat fragmented (5-7%) 250GB hard drive, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the past, many different apps, Diskeeper included, tried to defrag your drive in the background. In many cases, this meant running an NT based service that monitored downtime, and then kicked off a defrag after a set period of idle time had been reached; or during the middle of the night, which ever came first. The defrag would stop once you started using the PC, it finished, or another processor intensive task kicked off, again, which ever came first. This process never really worked well, as the defrag app tended to start and stop a lot, leaving the defrag in varying states of completion; and in the end (I think, at least) causing more fragmentation than it resolved. That ends with Diskeeper Pro Premier 2008, thank God!
One of the best things that I like about Diskeeper Pro Premier 2008 is that it uses something it calls InvisiTasking to defrag your drive. InvisiTasking is true transparent, background defragging of your system. You’re never really gonna know that the app is running. Diskeeper has done a really GREAT job of creating a "set it and forget it" kind of app. All you’re gonna know is that after you install the app, your PC is going to stay running at peak performance, because Diskeeper monitors drive fragmentation in the background and corrects the problems before they become an issue. When you run the app manually, it automatically displays InvisiTasking defrag results for you in a log, letting you know when it ran and how many file fragments were eliminated.
The application also implements a couple of different additional features to help eliminate and reduce drive fragmentation – I-FAAST and Frag Shield. I-FAAST 2.0, short for Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology, accelerates file access times to meet the heavy workloads of file-intensive applications. It closely monitors file usage and organizes the most commonly accessed files for the fastest possible access, boosting file access and creation to speeds above and beyond the capabilities of your system when it was new, up to 80% faster.
The other feature, Frag Shield dynamically prevents fragmentation of critical system files, maintaining system stability and reliability. It helps you configure your MFTs (Master File Tables – the place where information about every file and directory on an NTFS hard drive is stored) and paging files (a hidden file on your computer’s hard disk that Windows XP & Vista uses as if it were RAM) as recommended by Microsoft. Following these guidelines will help you keep these critical system files working their best. Your system will not slow down from fragmented MFT’s or paging files.
Frag Shield 2.0 is comprised of two components: the MFT configuration tool and the paging file configuration tool. These tools allow you to set up your MFT’s and paging files so that fragmentation will be very unlikely to occur in the future.
I can’t tell you how much I love this application, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve tried many different defrag apps looking for one that would do what I wanted, in a way that gave me confidence that it was truly working. Diskeeper does all of this and more. I couldn’t be more pleased. The results it delivers are immediately noticeable, and you’ll definitely notice a difference in your PC’s performance and behavior after installation. Truly, the best thing is that it works with both XP AND Vista, and once installed, you never really have to touch it unless you want to, or are curious about what its doing. It does its magic all on its own.
Pro Premier is a bit expensive, $99.95, but on a home network, its really pretty cool, especially if you have multiple drives attached to the computer its installed on. The application also comes with a trial version, so you can at least try it out before laying your cash out.
Price: Diskeeper is licensed one per computer, and can be purchased here.
Diskeeper 2008 home * – $29.95, 18.3 MB Download
• Only supports 32 bit Windows
• Does not support Windows Vista Business, Vista Enterprise or 64 bit Windows
Diskeeper 2008 professional – $49.95, 21.9 MB Download
Diskeeper 2008 pro premier – $99.95, 33.4 MB Download
Diskeeper 2008 HomeServer – $69.95, 33.4 MB Download
What I liked: Complete data fragmentation maintenance, InvisiTasking
What Needs Improvement: App activation doesn’t warn you that the trial is going to deactivate. It just stops working, which surprised me a little. I didn’t expect that; BUT that’s minor.