Diskeeper: your invisible friend

Last December I installed Diskeeper 2008, a program that keeps an eye on my disk drives to ensure that they perform optimally at all times. When something just does its job …

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15th February 2008 at 11:18 am

Last December I installed Diskeeper 2008, a program that keeps an eye on my disk drives to ensure that they perform optimally at all times. When something just does its job without fuss, without user intervention, it is easy to forget that it’s there. And that, of course, is exactly what I did.

Diskeeper comes in a variety of versions, from Enterprise to single user and taking in smaller businesses along the way. Before I get technical, let’s just say that it speeds up access to your information, whether its you doing the access or, more importantly, another program doing it. Why more importantly? Well, think about backup. If you ever backup large files or your entire system, you know you’re in for a long wait. Some people have cut this time by two thirds using Diskeeper.

When you first get your computer, you have tons of disk space and all is well. New files are added at the end and each is all in one lump, or contiguous, to use the conventional term. When you delete files, you create gaps. Operating systems need somewhere to put new files, so they use the gaps. Problems start when files grow and other gaps need to be found to store the new stuff. The same happens as the drive fills up and gaps are the only way to find new space. Accessing information in these fragmented files is slowed down because the read head is dashing here there and everywhere.

Diskeeper is a defragmentation program. It rearranges your disk so that files are contiguous. It needs no user intervention once set up (and that’s dead simple). You can, of course, look to see how things are going, but you don’t need to. It just defragments your files quietly while you work or when your machine is idle. It never gets in the way. Okay, if you’re starting with horribly fragmented files, you might want to leave it to do its initial work all by itself. From then on, though, it will work invisibly.

You will, as I did, take Diskeeper utterly for granted. But, believe me, it will make your computers run faster and accelerate backups and other long-winded file operations.

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David Tebbutt is an award-winning columnist and feature writer who specialises on the subject of using software and technology to increase business productivity. He's an analyst with Freeform Dynamics but, in previous lives, wrote for Director magazine, Real Business and was also editor of Personal Computer World. http://freeformdynamics.com

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  1. Joe Abusamra says:

    Hi David,

    Interesting post. Just wanted to make you aware of another option in this category – PerfectDisk 2008 from Raxco Software. It also servese enterprise, SMBs and home users around the world. A few points that readers might be interested in include:

    – PerfectDisk 2008 allows background defragmentation OR scheduled defragmentation, and many businesses do prefer having the ability to schedule at certain times
    – PerfectDisk 2008 provides complete, single-pass defragmentation AND free space consolidation
    – PerfectDisk 2008 defragments all NTFS metadata files (e.g. $bitmap, etc.) that no other defragmenter does.

    An interesting (independent) comparison of all defragmenters was conducted by Donn Edwards — The Great Defrag Shootout at http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/.

    Thanks,
    Joe Abusamra
    Vice President of Operations
    Raxco Software, Inc.
    http://www.raxco.com

  2. Thanks for the info’ Joe.

  3. Cromwell says:

    Yes, a well defragmented drive is a happy drive. Heavy fragmentation can lead to a decrease in system performance, premature drive failure due to excessive drive workload (increased hardware replacement costs) etc. A good automatic defragmenter can solve these problems by keeping the disks optimized in the background without user/admin intervention. The workload on the IT personnel is decreased, yet the systems are in great shape- more efficient and effective than manual or scheduled defrag operations.

  4. Thanks for the additional remarks Cromwell. I should have thought about the wear and tear angle myself.

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