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Disk defragmenters are pretty dull. There is nothing interesting or exciting about them, but they do do a necessary job. To understand what a disk defragmenter does it's first necessary to have some understanding of disk defragmentation. According to Diskeeper, "Disk fragmentation occurs when a file is broken up into pieces to fit on the disk. Because files are constantly being written, deleted and resized, fragmentation is a natural occurrence. When a file is spread out over several locations, it takes longer to read and write. But the effects of fragmentation are far more widespread: Slow performance, long boot-times, random crashes and freeze-ups — even a complete inability to boot up at all. Many users blame these problems on the operating systems, when disk fragmentation is often the real culprit." Fragmentation is an inevitable by-product of normal computer use. Defragmenters, such as Diskeeper 2007 Professional and Windows own defragmenter, basically rearrange the broken up file pieces and put them together in the same location on the disk. This means that Windows doesn't have to spend time searching across the disk to find all the pieces of a file - and that results in speedier performance.
Diskeeper 2007 Professional is available in a number of editions: Home, Professional and Pro Premier. Each edition supports Windows 2000 through to Windows Vista. Diskeeper Home supports only 32-bit versions of Windows; Professional and Pro Premier add support for 64-bit versions. Pro and Pro Premier include Frag Shield which acts to dynamically prevent system files from becoming defragmented. Pro Premier includes I-FAAST (Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology) which speeds up access times for frequently used files and supports volumes up to two TB in size (Home and Professional support a maximum volume size of 768 GB). Besides those exceptions, the editions are identical.
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PerformanceRating What's Hot:
Diskeeper 2007 Professional performs exactly as advertised. Moroever, thanks to InvisiTasking, it performs its operations transparently.
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Help & SupportRating What's Hot:
Diskeeper 2007 Professional is extremely well supported. The Help file is extensive and well written. For technical support matters, there's a comprehensive FAQ. Diskeeper 2007 Professional also offers free support via either webform or telephone.
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Price to ValueRating What's Hot:
Diskeeper 2007 Professional is similarly priced to competing products from companies such as Raxco. However, for reasons I'll explain in the conclusion, I'm forced to give it a low price to value rating.
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Installation & SetupRating What's Hot:
Installation is an extremely quick and easy process. The download is handled by a Download Manager which enables you to specify the location to which the setup file is to be saved.
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User InterfaceRating What's Hot:
If you chose to enable automatic defragmenting when installing, you may well find that you never need to access the Diskeeper 2007 Professional UI again. However, if you do, you'll find that it's an extremely friendly and easy to use UI.
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Product FeaturesRating What's Hot:
Diskeeper 2007 Professional has an abundace of features including:
- Automatic defragmenting to provide real time protection against the effects of fragmentation. Automatic defragmenting can easily be disabled for specified periods using a convenient slider or for specific days.
- Manual or scheduled defragmenting.
- Boot time defragmentating to defragment files, such as the page file, which cannot be defragmented while Windows is running.
- Scheduled reboots to enable boot time defragmentations.
- I-FAAST (Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology) to boost the speed with which applications open.
- InvisiTasking which enables Diskeeper to performs its operations without impacting performance.
- Frag Shield to prevent the fragmentation of system files.
- Priority settings for both the disk and CPU to enable the defragmenting process to happen transparently.
- Automatic directory consolidation.
In short, Diskeeper has just about every feature that you could need or want from a defragmenter. It supports RAID arrays, can be run from the command prompt, has reporting and logging options and a whole lot more.
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Diskeeper 2007 Professional is an extremely well designed product and its features work exactly as advertised. The interface is friendly and easy to use and the product is certainly well supported. What more could you ask for? Well, something that actually makes a difference to the way your system performs, that's what. Unfortunately, Diskeeper doesn't. At least, not in any way that's noticeable.
The days when you had to exit running programs and abandon your computer while defragmenting are long past. XP automatically runs partial defragmentations in the background and full defragmentations can be easily scheduled. Vista takes things a step further and, by default, runs a full defragmentation once a week. Furthermore, the defragmenter is run with low priority and so has minimal impact on performance. This renders Diskeeper 2007 Professional's automatic defragmenting and InvisiTasking somewhat redundant.
What about Diskeeper's real time defragmenting and Frag Shield? Well, I have run computers for six months or more without defragmenting and without noticing a decrease in performance. That's not to say I would recommend going six months between defragments, but it does show that there's really no need to dynamically protect against the extremely small amount of fragmentation that will occur between scheduled defragmentations.
Diskeeper 2007 Professional's I-FAAST feature also had no obvious impact on the speed with which applications opened. Whether it would have an impact on other systems, I don't know. On both my XP and Vista systems, it had no effect whatsoever.
In my opinion, and opinions will invariably differ, the defragmenter that's bundled with Windows does a perfectly acceptable job and the bells and whistles of third-party defragments, such as Diskeeper 2007 Professional, simply do not make enough of a difference to justify shelling out extra bucks.
In years past, I would have had no hesitation in recommending Diskeeper. The Windows defragmenter had no form of automation and could be aggravating. Most Windows 98 users will probably have encountered the dreaded endless loop of restarts due to disk activity. However, times have changed and those changes have, in my opinion, killed the market for third-party defragmenters like Diskeeper 2007 Professional .