Monday, May 14, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout VIII: JkDefrag v3.8

Every now and then you come across a program that is so blindingly brilliant in its sheer simplicity that it takes you completely by surprise. JkDefrag v3.8 is one of those programs.
The first good point is that it's free (released under the GNU General Public License), and it uses very little disk space. The entire download is a skimpy 320kb, including documentation. It doesn't have a setup program (yet), just a few simple instructions. I was so impressed with the program that I used Inno Setup to make a setup program which is listed on my "defrag" page.
The second good point is that it has an intelligent screen saver. You can tell it to wait a predefined period (i.e. 6 hours) since the last defrag before trying again. The second brilliant feature is that once it has completed the defrag, you can tell it which other screen saver to run. So in my case I get it to run the Google Pack Screensaver, which is my favourite.
The third good point is that it has two defrag modes: fast or thorough. The default is fast, and it is as fast as Vopt8, and much faster than PerfectDisk. The thorough mode goes to the trouble of removing those tiny gaps between files that waste a lot of disk space, and took less time that PD normally takes. This is what DIRMS is supposed to do, and Vopt has a good go at tackling as well.
Another good point is the approach to temporary files. By default JkDefrag leaves 1% of the first part of your hard disk free, to be used by temporary files. The idea is that this would improve the performance of the system, but I haven't been able to measure it.
There are actually 4 programs in one: the graphical JkDefrag.exe, the command line JkDefragCmd.exe, the screen saver JkDefragScreenSaver.exe and JkDefragScreenSaver.scr. The command line version works great for me, because I can include it in a batch file I use to keep my hard drive in order.
When I ran my "torture test" involving the 4GB SQL file, JkDefrag performed well. The "fast" version decided that although one of the files was highly fragmented, all the pieces followed one another in a line, separated only by free disk space, so it left the file alone. The "thorough" option sorted the files out, and intelligently put the two main data files near the end of the disk.
There is no "interactive" mode where you can click on a disk cluster to see what files it contains. The graphical screen display uses screen pixels to represent the files. Unlike most other programs, this one uses the bottom left corner of the screen as the start of the hard drive. The colour scheme is also a little different to most, but the help file explains it all with elegant simplicity.
The only "missing" aspect of this program is that there are certain files it can't defragment because they are in use by the system. They recommend using Sysinternals PageDefrag v.32 to defragment these files, and the combination of the two works incredibly well. There is a third free utility, called NTREGOPT which can be run before rebooting, and this will compact the registry, after which PageDefrag sorts out any fragmentation. A "complete" install with all the necessary utilities is available on my Defrag page.
I can thoroughly recommend this program, both from its simplicity and its flexibility. No need to uninstall this one, although I'll have to disable the screen saver while I test the next product: PerfectDisk Rx Suite by Raxco.
Update: Version numbering may be a bit confusing: 3.8 was followed by 3.9, 3.10, 3.11 and so on. So 3.8 should really be 3.08.
Update: If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Jeroen Kessels should feel flattered, because both Abexo Defragmenter Pro 5.0 and SpeedItUp FREE 4.0 clearly use the JkDefrag code, without acknowledging copyright or conforming to the GPL license.

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 | digg story | Benchmark of version 3.28 | download


Anonymous said...

I am on Diskeeper 10. never changed to any other defragger, dint feel the need to even try another one as its really great on my systems. I do want to check out their latest versions though. Have read some awesome reviews abt it.

Donn Edwards said...

The best feature of Diskeeper 2007 is the uninstall function. It's a total waste of good money. My review will be ready in a day or so.

Unknown said...

As far as I can tell, the latest version of JkDefrag is 3.16 and not 3.8.

Donn Edwards said...

The article was written in May, when 3.8 *was* the current version. The current version today is 3.16, and has several improvements to an already great package.

John & Kellie said...

3.16 looks older than 3.8 (just like the number 3.8 is larger than 3.16).
Marketing should make it clear for all.

Anonymous said...

I tried JkDefrag after reading your review. It is really fast. Thanks. Have you considered reviewing PC Mag's Delete-A-File? I like it alot but not as much as I now like JkDefrag.

Anonymous said...

I actually meant the program Defrag-A-File from PC Mag.

Donn Edwards said...

I splashed out $7.97 and bought a copy to review. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anonymous said...

What is your opinion about partitioning of hard disks. Based on http://partition[.]radified[.]com, I partitioned my disk into 4 partitions. First for the swap file (fastest part of disk), second for windows and programs, third for working files and fourth (and the slowest part of the HDD) for archives, music, backups etc. I am not sure if it is a good strategy or not..

Donn Edwards said...

I think this approach is a bit extreme. Firstly, you should have enough RAM so that you don't need to use the swap file that often. If your hard drive light is on a lot of the time because of the swap file, the system is not configured properly.

The problem with multiple partitions is that you can run out of space in one partition, with plenty left in another. This can be very frustrating.

I normally have one large partition, but my Acer laptop came pre-configured with two partitions because they installed the FAT32 file system. I find 2 partitions quite useful from an organisational point of view, but that's all.

JkDefrag's concept of space hogs places the files in an optimal manner, as does PD8's method. This allows for flexibility, and you don't get stuck with partition sizes that you had to guess on installation but are now wrong for the way the computer is being used. Using partitions to govern file placement is not the best way to solve the problem.

Have a look at the documents on my Disk Defrag Utilities page for more info on file placement.

HTH! Donn

David Stirrup said...

The idea of having separate partition for swap etc comes out of a UNIX world view. Windows is not UNIX.

According to Microsoft in various documents over the years, there is a serious overhead in system CPU cycles whenever the you swap drive/partitions. I would assume this is one reason Microsoft choose a default install of a single partition per disk.

Anonymous said...

Keep partitions down, but use multiple hard disks and have your swap file on a physically separate disk than the Windows install. That way it can be performing IO on both disks at the same time, increasing performance.

Anonymous said...

If you want to use JkDefrag in Vista, you have to right-click and choose "Run as administrator." When I just double-clicked on it, I got a black window that ended without doing anything.

Donn Edwards said...

Vista's "Run as Administrator" is a nightmare for many programs. Please check the support forum for help with using JKD with Vista.

Anonymous said...

As I learned through the past years, as Harddisks get bigger and bigger, you simply HAVE to partition it. otherwise all CPU goes awaste in searching.
As Donn said, there's a reason from organisational point of view, it's also pretty handy for JkDefrag. As I found out just now, JkD uses a lot of CPU while defragmenting. If it had to defragment my 320 Gb HDD I could not work on my PC anymore for a long time. Btw, love JkDefrag, does a splendid job. Was on Auslogics, this is MUCH better, thanks for all investigations !

Dickiedean said...

I like the program for its log, and the fact that it doesn't slow down when running, like Microsoft's; and it's neat and clean.

But I have partitions D:, E:, F:, G:, and H: (Refugee from the olde school.) JKD will only see drive C: so I need to get familiar with the Command Line. Sadly it is designed to instruct software people, but I was a hardware giant that got started in 1958, and retired when I had to call for help twice in a row in 1988. There's more but you know it's not necessary now.

So is JKDetc C: G: for those two drives (or JKDetc G: for G: alone)(You know what I mean.) And how do I get into CMD line mode?

One more thing, I didn't know that Blogs or related things are so narrow.

Rgds... Dickiedean.

Donn Edwards said...

Blogs can be as narrow or broad as the authors make them. There's no fixed rule.

The simplest way to use the JKD commands is to make a shortcut to JdDefrag.exe and then edit the shortcut to include extra stuff in the "Target" part of the shortcut, like, for example

"C:\Program Files\JkDefrag\JkDefrag.exe" -a 1 -q

This runs "analyse only" mode and then quits.

"C:\Program Files\JkDefrag\JkDefrag.exe" C: D: -q

This will defrag C: and D: drives and then quit.

Anonymous said...

Did you try DEFRAGGLER yet ?
It's the all new defrag-tool from Piriform, the makers of CCleaner.
It's still in beta testingfase, but the 1st user feedback on their forum is very positive.
Interested ? Check out

Unknown said...

Now that is what I call a cool defragmenter he fixed the disk I never thoguth that could be possible thanks for that great information and tool I found it inside the Bangkok Post Database of today.

Anonymous said...

The best tool so fare I ever have used for defrag the disk. Found that great pro inside the datapost from the Bangkok post today

hishamh said...

I'm surprised over dickiedean's experience - I run JKD (the default exe) on all my computers and laptops with multiple partitions, and it defrags them all. It even defrags external HDDs automatically.

Anonymous said...

We may not need any disk defrag utils soon, because next year all computers will shipped with SSD (solid stage drive)

Keith said...

Thank you for posting these reviews. I've switched to JkDefrag now and I love it.

Anonymous said...

If you need a GUI version for jkdefrag then just simply google jkdefrag gui and its the first or second link and you can select alot of things.

Tommy said...

JkDefrag 4.1 (renamed to MyDefrag) is available, and it's supposedly the best yet:

zanlok said...

Just tried MyDefrag (4.3.1) and really like it. hard to beat free.. but it's also simple since it comes with the scripts to do things we'd normally want 4.5/5 stars.

I think you should ammend the TOP of this article with an EDIT to point to the right new site. Thanks for the review, though :)