Editor's Choice: Defragmentation

<b>Winner: </b>O&O Software O&O Defrag 4 Professional<br> <br> <b>Honorable Mention: </b><a href="#diskeeper">Executive Software Diskeeper </a>

A few months ago I wrote an article discussing the pros and cons of a number of defragmentation packages on the market, and there are quite a few. Many of them have good points and are worthy tools for the price; at the time, I was most impressed by O&O defrag—and that remains true today.

This excellent tool has everything you need to keep your disks running efficiently, built into an easy-to-use package. One nice feature is that O&O Defrag is based on the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), so the interface is easy to learn; but its real strength lies in the control the software gives you over your drives.

It gives you a great deal of control over data reorganization on your drives (by name, date modified, last access date or free space consolidation). Each has distinct advantages. For example, you should defrag a file server using the access date organization, as most users access the same files over and over, so files used most often would be the easiest to locate on disk. With the latest upgrade to O&O Defrag, there’s even a new type of defrag called “stealth.” This new stealth defrag is designed for use on machines that have low system resources or less than 10 percent free disk space.

O&O Defrag 4 Professional
O&O's Defrag Professional provides administrators great control over their hard drives. (Click image to view larger version.)

Another nice touch is the ability to defragment files offline. Not only can you defrag the Master File Table (MFT), paging file and registry files offline, but you can also defragment locked files offline. (If you run an Exchange server, the databases are never defragmented during a normal defragmentation unless you stop the services because the databases are always locked while services are open.) If you set the option to defragment locked files, the locked files will be defragmented at boot time with the registry, paging file and MFT.

All of this can be tightly controlled by a built-in scheduler. Using this, you can create a space-consolidation job to run during the week and a file access defrag job to run on the weekend. Because the space job finishes faster, there’s less chance that it’ll still be running in the morning; on the weekend, you can run the longer job.

Honorable Mention
One server license, $259.95; one workstation license, $49.95
Executive Software

There are a couple of minor cautions. First, O&O is a German company, so it had all software translated from German to English. That isn’t a big issue, but it makes for an interesting read. The company also has no U.S. tech support number; so, unless you want to call Germany, you can only contact O&O by e-mail (but tech support responds quite quickly). You may also run into some issues with the setup (for some strange reason I had to map the P: drive when I set up some servers with the latest iteration of the package), but the install went quite well after that.

My second choice in this category has got to be Executive Software’s Diskeeper. This doesn’t have all the features O&O has, but it’s less expensive and still does a good job of defragging—definitely worth considering.

About the Author

Joseph L. Jorden, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CCDA is Chief Technical Officer for Dugger & Associates ( He was one of the first 100 people to achieve the MCSE+I and one of the first 2,000 to become an MCSE under Windows 2000. Joseph frequently contributes to books from Sybex and various periodicals.

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