Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout IX: PerfectDisk Rx Suite 1.0 build 14

I was looking forward to reviewing PerfectDisk Rx Suite 1.0 by Raxco, since I have been using PerfectDisk Pro 8 for some time already, and found it to be pretty thorough, albeit stubborn and sluggish at times. I found out about the Rx Suite from the PerfectDisk blog. Going from PD8 to PDRx is like going from the sublime to the ridiculous. The less they market this product the longer Raxco will remain in business. It's that bad.
The first good point I noticed is that at $29.99 it's cheaper that PD8's $39.99. But it isn't worth the money: it's like PerfectDisk Lite with bugs, and it's a massive 25.8MB download. Almost every feature I tried didn't work properly. More on that later.
The second good point is that PDRx shows the name of the file being analysed or defragmented, which is one of the more annoying aspects of PD8. The interface is simple and easy to follow, and well organised.
The problems started when I did the stress tests: copying a 4GB file to a compressed folder, and then restoring the data to SQL Server, again in a compressed folder. I ran the "Quick Scan" of drive C: and PDRx told me there was nothing wrong, other than the free disk space was fragmented (see below). I could find no way of listing the names of the fragmented files, or how badly fragmented they were.
Even the hard drive display failed to show the massive files that are significantly fragmented: see top picture. I ran the defrag and after 10 minutes PDRx had finished, and displayed the following image. Compare it to the top image. I can't see any fundamental difference.
Now compare that to the "before" stats displayed by the built-in WinXP Defrag program:
Quite a difference. The "after" analysis was basically the same, indicating that PDRx either can't or won't defragment files that massively affect the performance of the machine.
Next I tried the feature that allows you to analyse the file usage on the hard drive. Out of curiosity I went to look at the Data folder for SQL Server, and discovered another bug: it gets the size of the compressed files wrong. The file it displays as being 380MB in size is actually 1.79GB compressed, and 4.37GB uncompressed.
I decided to test the registry cleanup, and was relieved to find the "Rollback" function worked, especially after the "cleanup" facility decided to delete references to dozens of .hlp files used by Office97 and other packages. What were they thinking?
A similar fate awaited my "cookies" - delete all or nothing. So the dozen or so sites I visit like Amazon, Yahoo Mail and BBC News where a permanent cookie is actually quite useful, all have their cookies removed and I have to answer a whole load of boneheaded questions when I return. I decided not to try the performance tuneup because the program wouldn't tell me which options are already set and which ones need to be changed.
There is no boot time defrag facility, unlike PD8, and the "Screen Saver" defrag option is extremely irritating because it carries on with the file it was busy with even after the screen saver stops. I get the feeling that the entire package has been cobbled together and rushed to market without proper testing or consideration of the user. It's one of those "we know best for you" packages that is more likely to stuff up your machine than actually fix anything significant. I was relieved to uninstall it and reclaim 20.5MB of wasted disk space. I will not be reinstalling PerfectDisk 8 Professional anytime soon either: I'm suddenly not so certain of the quality of the software. (Update: I have since relented and installed it again. I'm glad I did)
Update: Version 1.1 of PDRx will be coming out later this year.
If you want to keep your PC registry and hard drive clean, rather use CCleaner, NTREGOPT, JDisk Report, PageDefrag and JkDefrag. They are all freeware and I trust them more than anything else I have reviewed or used in the past. Even though PerfectDisk Rx Suite was bad, I'm dreading the next review: Diskeeper 2007 professional. I battled to uninstall DK8, so I hope they've fixed that issue, although I doubt it.

The Great Defrag Shootout: Part I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X | XI | XII | XIII | XIV | XV | XVI | XVII | XVIII | XIX | XX | XXI | XXII | XXIII | XXIV | XXV | XXVI | XXVII | XXVIII | XXIX| winner | all | why | PerfectDisk Blog


Anonymous said...

Great job, Donn! In your review of Vopt 8.18, you seem to conclude that a choice between Vopt and PD8 is about a toss-up. However, after reviewing PD Rx Suite you suggest that you will probably not re-install PD8. I tried JkDefrag v3.8 and see what you mean about its speed and simplicity. However its lack of a developed GUI makes it unsuitable for my use. So, now that the "Shootout" is complete (or at this stage of the shootout, if it is not complete), which commercial product (with a developed GUI) would you choose if, like most of us, you had to live with a single defrag application? Would it be Vopt, PD8, or something else? Thanks!

Donn Edwards said...

I've already paid for PD8 (not PDRx), and I'm not about to toss it away just yet. If you MUST have a GUI then try PD8. In fact, it's on my list of products to review, which never seems to end.

Vopt didn't fix my MFT problem, so I don't think I'll be forking out another $40 for that, even though it is a super-fast program.

I'm living with JkDefrag because I got my installer to create a menu with everything I need, including a GUI.

I started this series thinking that nothing could beat PD8. In a way that's still true, but not for the reasons I expected.

Jon Abbott said...

I agree completely, and would add that Rx Suite also runs several processes in the background. At times they have brought my system to its knees. I've tried turning them off using the Raxco programs options, and then using msconfig, and there are still running processes. Argh! I hate non-essential programs running in the background that cannot be turned off easily. I paid for this program, but am now going to uninstall it.

Donn Edwards said...

Ask for an upgrade to PerfectDisk 8. If you kick up enough fuss they may not even charge you the $10 difference.