Windows Tip Sheet

Defrag, Fast & Free

JKDefrag 3.62 is a step above Windows' own defrag tool. Even better: your IT budget won't take a hit.

I'm a big believer that a properly defragged disk is faster and healthier. It is convenient that Microsoft includes a free defragmentation tool, although it has limitations. Of course there are full fledged defrag applications if your budget allows. But I'm always looking for a good free or open source alternative.

Lately I've been trying JKDefrag v3.62 from Jeroen Kessels. This open source product comes packaged for Windows 2000/XP/2003 and Vista, as well as a 64-bit version. The utility is written using the same Windows defragmentation APIs that the big vendors use and it has been pretty rock-solid so far.

Installation is practically non-existent: Unzip the files to a folder and you're done. The graphical version is as bare bones as you can get -- no menu, no buttons. Just click it and it runs. Because it's barebones, it's a small executable that runs very quickly.

You can manually launch the graphical version from the command line and pass configuration parameters. But if prefer more granular control and don't really care about a GUI, then I recommend just running the command line version.

The command line version has a wealth of parameters and because it's CLI based, it's incredibly easy to setup as a scheduled task. You could easily push out the exe file to all your clients and remotely create a scheduled task to run a daily defrag job. There is also a screen saver version of the utility.

Documentation is included as an HTML file and is pretty complete. JKDefrag also has a decent online support forum.

So if you're looking for a defrag solution that is a step above what comes with Windows but have a limited budget, take a look at JKDefrag. It's free so you've got nothing to lose!

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at Petri.com, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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