Defragmentation software works by moving the fragments around your hard disk drive into a continuous stream. This will, in theory, speed up your boot and program loading times.
If you choose the right package, and schedule it to run once a week in the background when you’re not doing anything major on your PC it can work. In fact, we shaved 40 seconds off our boot time.
Disk defragmenter tool – Windows 7
The Windows’ bog-standard bit-rearranger isn’t actually that bad. Even if It lacks any kind of visual interface, which makes it hard to know exactly what it’s going on during the whole process.
In Windows 7 and Vista it can be scheduled from within the Scheduler to run daily, weekly or monthly. In terms of speediness, it proved to be one of the better options, coming in at a shade under an hour and leaving us with 0 per cent fragmentation.
Of course, this was Windows 7′s defragmenter: XP’s slow, tricky-to-schedule package is worth avoiding.
Between this and Security Essentials, Microsoft finally seems to be packaging software that’s almost as good as the paid for stuff. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing of defraggers – actually, being invisible, there’s nothing aesthetic about it at all. But it does do the job, even if it won’t let you adjust the higher-end settings.
Piriform’s Defraggler is, unfortunately, not designed for untangling muppets (or fraggles). It is, instead a really easy-to-use defragmentation program, and it even lets you defragment individual files and folders.
So if you’ve got a giant Steam library, you can set it to scan and defragment that (although Steam does have its own defragging system, but you’ll need to run this manually), while ignoring little-used applications, like Microsoft Office.
As with the Microsoft’s Disk Defragmenter Tool, you can schedule Defraggler to run daily, weekly or monthly. It’s got a nice visual representation of what’s going on that doesn’t look like Jim Carrey’s neural structure.
Unfortunately, at a duration of over 90 minutes, Defraggler took the longest to do its business, which is an epic fail from one of the most promising packages in our test.
Ah, the humble Australians. Not content with dressing up as kangaroos to fool the rest of the world that they’re real animals, they’ve also come up with a defragmentation tool. It’s quite bonza, too, and as well as defragging it will rearrange your bits to maximise free space on your drive.
Smartly, it will even move system files to fastest area of your hard drive, so it’s worth running just once to get everything in its right place, to quoteth Radiohead.
Disk Defrag can be set to run on more than one drive at once, so if time’s not on your side and you’ve got 16 hard drives you can do’em all in one swoop.
If Father Time is breathing down the back of your neck, the Auslogic option will defragment your hard drive in just 38 minutes. There is a catch: it only got our hard drive down to a level of 21 per cent fragmentation, when the rest managed 0 per cent. Not bad, but not great either.If you’re going to defrag, you might as well do the whole lot.
Publisher: JC Kessels
MyDefrag’s predecessor, JKDefrag, was a command-line based defragger, which was very light on system resources. MyDefrag is based on the same program, but it’s switched to closed rather than open source.
It even has a special mode for SSDs, if you insist on defragging your solid-states – not that we’d recommend doing this.
One of JKDefrag’s best features was its ability to run as a screensaver. You could actualyl see it doing its business, bit-by-bit, which makes for fascinatingly ugly viewing. In fact, it prompted my ex to say “I THINK YOUR COMPUTER’S BROKEN”.
But it is immensely satisfying to see everything fit into place properly. At 54 minutes long, MyDefrag was also the fastest in our roundup, and it certainly defragged our hard drive properly.
It’s not particularly the most aesthetically pleasing of defragmentation software, but it does the job perfectly, and has a whole host of extra settings. Highly recommended.
Publisher: O&O Software
O&O’s defragger doesn’t just defrag your disks, it does it PROFESSIONALLY. It wears a suit and tie, and probably some nice, polished shoes. It also seems to have taken a leaf out of MyDefrag’s book by letting you run it as a screensaver.
It’s a fully-featured package, with a ton of settings, such as eight defragmentation methods. It even sits in the background and monitors your fragmentation levels. It’s certainly the most gorgeous and easy-to-use of defraggers, but at over an hour it didn’t score too well in our tests.
If we could rate software on looks alone, this would be a winner. But we can’t, and it’s not. Plus, you’re paying £30 for something that – at its core – is not actually as good as free software.
Publisher: Raxco Software
Do you enjoy drinking the rank Australian lager that is Foster’s? If you do, you can thank PerfectDisk for the unfragmented flavour of your weak tin of koala piss. You see, PerfectDisk is endorsed by Foster’s. Is it endorsed by Format? Kind of.
PerfectDisk 10 is also the first defragger to be approved by Microsoft for Windows 7, although we can’t say we noticed any compatibility issues with other software and the latest OS.
It’s sleek and user-friendly, if a little derivative of Defrag Professional. Like Piriform’s Defraggler, it lets you specify folders and fi les to defrag. It’s also got something called ‘SMARTPlacement’, a proprietary technology which organises the bits on your disk according to usage.
In our tests, it came in at just a minute behind Defrag Professional. But overall, PerfectDisk is a more complete package, and cheaper to boot. If you insist on paying for something you can get for free, it’s just about right.