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Diskeeper 2007 - Keep Your Hard Drive Healthy

written by: David Berry•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 11/5/2008

Diskeeper 2007 is a must-have utility for keeping your hard drive defragmented and running smoothly.

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    Diskeeper 2007 is a third-party hard drive defragmentation program that does a much better job at keeping your hard drive running smoothly than many of its competitors, as well as Windows' own built-in defragmentation software.

    Hard drive fragmentation can degrade the performance of your computer.  When the clusters of the files on your computer become fragmented, they no longer occupy a contiguous space on your disk and start to move farther and farther apart. This means that when you try to access a file, it takes the computer longer to find and assemble all of the parts of the file or program before it can open them. Because hard drive seek time is one of the most significant bottlenecks in a computer's performance, this can drag down your computer's speed quite a bit. This is where a good defragmentation program comes in. Defragmentation is a process that rearranges all of the files on your hard drive so that they are back in order, which cuts down on the time it takes to access those files. This means faster hard drive and system performance.

    There are several utilities, including a built-in one that comes with Windows, designed to rearrange the data that is scattered around your hard drive. The problem with many of these utilities is that you have to remember to run them every so often in order to keep your hard drive running smoothly. The biggest advantage to using Diskeeper 2007 is a feature they call “Invisitasking,” which means that the program is constantly running in the background keeping your hard drive defragmented. For those of us that have a hard time remembering to run all the little maintenance utilities to keep our PCs running at peak performance, Diskeeper’s install-and-forget approach to hard drive fragmentation is a sure-fire way to be certain that your system performance doesn’t degrade. Better yet, Diskeeper only runs when your files or programs aren’t being used, so there’s no effect on system performance.

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    Price to Value

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    For those of us who depend on our computers running at peak efficiency, Diskeeper 2007 delivers that assurance. Although you may be tempted to stay with the free defragmenter that comes with Windows, for superior performance and ease of use, $49.95 is a small price to pay. Diskeeper also comes with a number of additional features that can’t be found in many of its competitor’s products, including the higher-priced ones. Diskeeper will defragment your hard drive in a fraction of the time that Windows' built-in defragmenter, and other products, take. When you think about all of the different things that can slow down your computer’s performance, having one of those bottlenecks taken care of in the background is a great reason to get Diskeeper 2007 now.

    What's Not: 
    For the money, the average user can get decent hard drive defragmentation just by using the free built-in utility that comes with Windows. If you don’t use your computer very often, then hard drive fragmentation may not be as big an issue for you, but you should remember to run the defragmenter at least once a week.
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    Installation & Setup

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    Installation went very smoothly on both Windows XP and Windows Vista Home Premium. If you’re installing the program on Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed, you may see a notice regarding making modifications to Windows Firewall before Diskeeper can be installed. This only applies to users who want to control Diskeeper remotely, such as across a large network. Unless you’re installing the product on a network, you can click Next to skip this step. The only other prompt during setup is to allow you to enable automatic defragmentation on all of your hard drives. Doing so means that Diskeeper will start working in the background as soon as it’s installed. Once the program is installed all you need to do is start it, configure it, and then forget about it.

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    Product Features

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    Diskeeper comes in several different versions: Diskeeper 2007 Home, Diskeeper 2007 Professional, and Diskeeper 2007 Pro Premier. All three versions come with Diskeeper’s “Invisitasking” technology, which allows Diskeeper to run in the background without the need for a scheduler. This "set it and forget it" feature is the cornerstone of what makes Diskeeper such an outstanding product. Invisitasking ensures that your hard drives are always kept at optimal performance, but doesn’t affect system performance while it’s running because it only defragments files and programs that aren’t being used. If you prefer to have Diskeeper only run at certain times, then the program is flexible enough so that you can enable automatic defragmentation and set it to run on specific dates and times.

    The Professional version offers a few more features than the home version, such as Automatic Directory Consolidation, Boot-Time Defragmentation, and FragShield. Automatic Directory Consolidation allows Diskeeper to move all the directories on your hard drive to a single location on the volume. Moving all of the directories to a single location will increase the speed of file searching. FragShield, another proprietary feature of Diskeeper, helps to guard against the fragmentation of your operating system files, which in turn increases the performance of your system. When Boot-Time Defragmentation is enabled, Diskeeper can defragment paging files and the Master File Table (MFT). Since this can’t be done while the files are in use, Diskeeper will defragment the files the next time you boot your system, when Windows isn’t using them.

    The final version, Pro Premiere, has all of the features of the Professional version, but it also includes Diskeeper’s “I-FAAST” 2.0 (Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology). I-FAAST monitors which files and programs you use the most and then reorganizes those files to give you faster access.

    The Professional and Pro Premiere versions also have support for 64-bit operating systems, and all three versions have the ability to disable background defragmentation when you’re using a laptop on battery power.

    The Home version and Professional versions only support a 768 GB volume, while the Pro Premiere version will defragment a hard drive up to 2 TB, so if you have larger hard drives, you’ll need Diskeeper Pro Premiere. All versions will support a wide range of disk subsystems such as Primary Partitions, Extended Partitions, Logical Drives, Volume Sets, RAID Arrays (hardware and software), Mirrored Disks, and Mounted Volumes (letter-less drives).

    What's Not: 

    Noise. Depending on your system and the type of hard drives you have, all that background defragmenting can get a little noisy as your hard drives are constantly working. I’m not 100 percent certain that this constant use of the drive is good for its lifespan, but I’ve never read anything that says it’s a bad thing. For the increase in performance, I can live with a little extra noise.

    Another thing I noticed about Diskeeper is that when I’m watching TV, using Windows Media Center, every so often the playback will pause for a second and then resume. This is especially noticeable when I’m watching a recorded show. It almost seems like Diskeeper is trying to defragment the file while I’m watching it, but I haven’t been able to verify that. I don’t see this same behavior if I’m watching a DVD movie.

    Although this isn’t really a negative, it is worth mentioning: the Diskeeper Service acts as a server on your system, which allows it to support networking and remote control of the Diskeeper Administrator. This means that if you’re running any firewall software, you’ll need to make sure that you allow Diskeeper to run as a server and access the Internet if you have automatic updating enabled. If you’d rather not allow the access, then you can disable automatic updating and support for networking.

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    User Interface

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    If you install Diskeeper in "set it and forget it" mode, then you probably won’t be using the user interface much. But those that want to tweak some settings or have more of a manual control over what Diskeeper is doing will find the user interface very easy to use. All of the main features are immediately accessible from the Quick Launch pane on the left side of the screen. There are four categories you can choose from: Getting Started, which is where you can find help with all of Diskeeper’s features; Volume Properties, where you can control Automatic Defragmentation, I-FAAST, and Boot-Time Defragmentation (depending on which version you have); Analyze and Defragment Now, which is where you can perform manual scans and defragmentation; and Configure Diskeeper, which is where you’ll find all of the program options.

    The rest of the UI consist of a menu bar and an icon-based toolbar that basically allow you to access the same features as the Quick Launch, and the main window. The main window is where you’ll see statistics about your drives, logs, and history files about what Diskeeper has done recently. There are also other statistics, but most people probably won’t have a need for them.

    One thing I really liked was having all of the help information available on the first screen of the Quick Launch. It saves the new user a lot of time getting started with the program. Overall, it's a very user friendly interface.

    What's Not: 
    Although the user interface is very easy to work with, it seems to be taken up with a lot of eye candy that isn’t really needed in the main screens. The features can stay, but I don’t really see a reason for them to be right there in front of you when you start the program. I’m also confused as to why the programmers chose to present all of the options in three different formats. I find the Quick Launch very useful, but why repeat the same options in a menu bar and in the form of colorful icons on a toolbar? Does the user really need three places to access the same features?
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    Suggested Features

    I can't think of anything that could be added to make this program better.
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    I found Diskeeper to be very easy to set up and use.  I’ve looked at a number of programs recently that have taken a "set it and forget it" approach, and I think this new trend will make it easy for less-than-computer-savvy users to enjoy the protection against online threats and the benefits of keeping their PCs running at peak performance, without the hassle of having to know all the ins and outs of the various tools they should be running. Diskeeper ensures that your hard drive stays healthy, without the user having to remember to run periodic defragmentation. The background defragmentation of your hard drive also appears not to interfere with any computer operations or affect overall performance.  An excellent product.
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    Related Products

    Microsoft Windows Defragmenter, Norton SystemWorks Speed Disk