Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Diskeeper 2008 Horror Story?

I received an email from "Zaphod", who told me of his experience with Diskeeper 2008 on Windows XP SP2 and a 105GB hard drive with 85GB free. Before he installed Diskeeper Professional 2008 trial edition he ran the built-in Windows Disk Defragmenter (WDD) and obtained the following drive defragmentation:
It isn't great, but not bad either, so he decided to "improve" the defrag by installing Diskeeper. After running it for some time he was horrified by the result, shown at the top of this article. The files were distributed all over the disk, and fragmented as well. The red blocks in the picture indicate fragmented files.
Needless to say he removed the software from his machine. Then he ran WDD again, and obtained an improved layout:
I can only take his experience at face value, and have not been able to verify it or replicate it myself. I would be interested to know if anyone else has experienced the same problem.
What I can confirm is that DK2008 has some bugs, which I have tried to report via email, without success. It seems that the marketing department of Diskeeper Corporation is more keen on contacting me than the Technical Support team. Please leave comments if you have used DK2008 on drives of a comparable size.

2 comments:

NickR said...

Donn,

Would be interesting to find out what kind of usage caused that amount of fragmentation.

To me, that kind of file scatter is caused by many files being modified/written to simultaneously and slowly (in terms of how fast a drive can actually write data) - a scenario caused by P2P clients (eg Azurez and Emule).
My personal experience was that Emule did not allow Diskeeper 2008 to run (lack of "idle resources", but I did not see fragmentation as bad as this, which looks like Diskeeper went on a pathological fragmentation warpath !

Donn Edwards said...

Zaphod writes:

I can't say for sure all the programs what were running at the time but I can tell you that normal background programs were running: AV, firewall, printer monitor, volume control as well as AIM and Windows Messenger. I may have had a browser session open as well. As far as p2p software, I use Soul Seek occasionally (maybe 1 or 2 times a month) and I know for a fact it wasn't running when I did the WDD or Diskeeper scans. I know that it's not enough to have the p2p software minimised to the system tray, I make sure the program is completely closed when I'm not using it.

Here's a little bit more info that may help, but I'm not sure how much. When I plugged in this drive I was going to use it to make a backup of 1 of my old drives that I had from my old dell PC (the motherboard is shot so the PC is unusable but the hard drive is still OK). I used Norton Ghost to copy the contents of the drive onto this K: drive. The total size used was about 95Gb so I went through the documents and settings folders for 2 user accounts and started deleting all the music, movie, and picture files as well as some downloaded files I had stored. This brought the total amount of used space on the drive down to what was seen in the screenshots. Then because I had deleted so much data i decided to defrag the drive in order to consolidate the space. That's when I ran the 1st WDD scan, it was able to do a pretty good job. I had seen some info on an article that there was a new version of Diskeeper out and I remembered the issues I had with the older version I had tried, so iIdecided to give it another try to see if the newer version would perform any better. I installed the newer version on a different PC than I had previously used and ended up getting the same results I saw in the previous version.

NickR mentioned the amount of file scatter from the Diskeeper screenshot, and that's definitely part of my issue with the software. Look at the WDD screenshots and you can see that 89Gb of the total 105Gb is free on the disk , then look at the Diskeeper screenshot and you can see that it's not even reading the disk properly. If the white space indicates free space then there's much more used space in the Diskeeper scan than what is actually on that drive. Almost 80% of the drive should be free space or white space in the graph. So none of that 'file scatter' actually exists on the drive.


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