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Better Disk Defragging – Upside Down?

by Alan German

Microsoft's Vista looks pretty and has some useful new features, but a change in the user interface for an old friend just doesn't cut it. I'm talking about Accessories – System Tools - Disk Defragmenter, a program that I use fairly frequently, both to make me feel good about the neatness of my hard disks, and to ensure that backup images made of these drives take minimal space for storage and shorter times to write.

The new version of Disk Defragmenter that comes with Vista is evidently designed to work on an assigned schedule, performing its magic in the background. Gone are the brightly-coloured displays of bad disk sectors with files that are scrambled, good sectors where information is packed tightly together, and hopeless sectors that are reserved for system use. No more blinking lights as the program reads and writes sectors, pulling together like-minded bits and bytes. No feeling of satisfaction when comparing the rainbow of disk sectors before the defragging operation, to the neat columns of solid colours afterwards. In fact, running a manual disk defrag under Vista yields only the soul-less message: “This may take from a few minutes to a few hours”.


Vista's Disk Defragmenter – a few minutes or a few hours!


But, what about those of us who don't work on schedules, and don't wish our computers to do so either? Is this message all we can hope for? And, how many minutes or hours are we going to have to stare at this message until the defragging process is complete? There must be a better way! Let's turn our computer upside down!

Well, no. Not really. But, we might want to turn to a company from down-under for a solution. Auslogics Disk Defrag comes from a company based in Sydney, Australia. This utility supports FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS formats. The makers say that their program was designed specifically for Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and Windows Vista and “for fast optimization of today's modern hard disks.”

While I haven't performed any real side-by-side testing with Vista's Disk Defragmenter, it seems to me that Auslogics Disk Defrag does run much faster. And, Disk Defrag has a nice display with lots of pretty, coloured boxes showing that it is really doing something. What more could you want?

Well, a nice user interface would be good for a start. And Auslogics comes through in spades. The interface is clean, good looking, and couldn't be simpler to use. A drop-down menu lists the available drives that could be defragged. The disk format of the pre-selected drive (usually c:) is shown, and the disk space (total, used and free) are displayed both in a table and on a pie-chart. Select a drive from the drop-down list, press the Next button, and lights start blinking as the disk defragmentation is in progress.


Auslogics Disk Defrag – Main screen


Disk Defrag – Defragmentation in progress


Soon, the window changes to announce “Defragmentation of disk C:\ is finished”. A summary table provides information on the total number of files and directories processed, the number of files fragmented, defragmented, and/or skipped, plus the percentage fragmentation both before and after the operation. A “Display Report” button provides the option of viewing an HTML report with the summary information and the details of the individual files processed.

It's quick, it's easy, it's colourful – and it's free. My kind of utility program (even if, now, I have to stand on my head to defrag my disks!)

Bottom Line:

Auslogics Disk Defrag (Freeware)
Auslogics Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Originally published: October, 2007

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