Monday, May 07, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout VI: 4th Generation Defrag

I have suspended my evaluation of mst Defrag Home Edition 2.0 Beta, while I wait for a response to two lengthy bug reports. It is beta software, after all. Don't bother with version 1.9: it sucks, but not nearly as badly as the Ashampoo software. I found some interesting information in the mst help file, which I share as written.
"Fragmentation occurs naturally on a computer system's hard disk as files are created, deleted, and modified. Eventually, the operating system needs to store parts of a file in non-contiguous data clusters. Although invisible to the user, it can slow down the speed at which data is accessed, because the disk drive must search through different parts of the disk to assemble the various fragments into a single file to present them to the user.
"To resolve this problem, defragmenter applications were designed to defragment or 'defrag' the hard disk and reassemble these file fragments into the same and contiguous data clusters.
"There have been four different generations of defragmenters since the early days of computing.
"The defragmentation tools of the first generation could defrag disks only if they had exclusive access to it. This meant you had to choose between work or defragmentation. For example, the application defrag.exe from MS-DOS 6.2 worked in this manner.
"The second generation of defragmenters could share use of the operating system with other applications. To start the defragmentation process the user or administrator had to start it manually. This could often be inconvenient, especially on business computers in large company environments.
"With the next generation three defragmenters it was no longer necessary that a system administrator be logged on to the system. The real work was done by a service (some kind of background task) which had the relevant rights and which could do its work even if no user was connected to the system. Nevertheless, significant problems remained due to the challenges involved in configuring the application properly. A lot of systems remain fragmented because the user simply forgets to run a defrag. In business networks the rollout and scheduling has proved to be a daunting challenge.
"Finally mst Defrag introduced the first fourth generation defragmenter to employ their proprietary 'proactive' defrag technology, which effectively resolves all of the above issues. To install mst Defrag you need administrative rights, of course, just like with any other defrag software. Once installed, mst Defrag will defragment the disks unobtrusively in the background while a logged on user can continue working undisturbed. But only with such a 4th generation defragmenter are the disks defragmented proactively in the background without user or administrator interaction, insuring optimal performance of the user's hard drive at all times.
"The technology which is used in mst Defrag is, like most other brilliant innovations, actually quite simple. The goal in the development of the proactive technology was to relieve the computer system administrator or user from tedious and time consuming tasks.
"As soon as a file is saved by Microsoft Windows in more than one fragment, mst Defrag monitors this and memorizes the file name internally. As soon as there are adequate free resources to run the task, mst Defrag automatically performs the defragmentation of that file. This action occurs proactively (in real time); that means that it is performed completely independently by the software and requires no user interaction. Any running processes will not be impaired.
"Together with an initial defragmentation, which is also done completely automatically after the installation, the optimal state of files on the disk files is virtually assured. And this is maintained not only after the initial defragmentation but but automatically thereafter using the proactive technology."
The shootout continues with O&O Defrag 8.6 Professional. Stay tuned!

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


Anonymous said...

Heard back yet??

Donn Edwards said...

I was told the problem would be fixed in the "next" beta, and shortly therefter a new beta edition arrived, but some of the issues are still there: they can't be that simple to solve. Perhaps the next beta release will fix them.

Anonymous said...

2.0 final was released ~2 weeks ago. I'm using the trial now with no ill effects. It doesn't have a file exclude function but it is pretty quick. What were the specific bugs that you noticed?

Donn Edwards said...

I'm busy preparing a review. Some of the bugs I reported have been fixed, but my 4GB compressed data file gets re-fragmented from 4 frgaments to over 2000. I'll provide more details in the review.

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