Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout XIX: mst Defrag 2.0

mst Defrag 2.0 was released at the end of June, after spending some time in a public Beta. I tested version 1.9 and then 2.0 beta, and reported some errors in the beta version. Most of them have been fixed, and version 2 is quite stable and usable. The Home Edition costs $15.90 and the Workstation Edition adds networking features for an extra $14. This is a good idea since home users can save in this way. Other defrag programs should adopt this approach too.
Installation is simple and painless, and once the program loads it automatically monitors the hard drive(s) and attempts to defragment files as they become fragmented. At least that's the theory. The interface is simple and usable, although it isn't always easy to figure out what files are fragmented. Also, you have to stop the automatic monitoring to run the Analyse or Defrag action, and then manually switch on the automatic monitoring again. Perhaps a future version fix this.
There is a "cluster view" where you can see what files appear on any given box on the screen, and this can explain what is going on with the files. It also showed up a major (but rare) flaw: my large compressed SQL file was fragmented in several hundred fragments, but the "analyse" function only found 2 fragments (see below) but the cluster view highlighted numerous fragments (see above) and the defrag function failed to defragment the file at all.
Not only did the program not reduce the number of fragments, but it increased the number of fragments from 7 to 1800 during a manual defrag. This is the only program I have tested that actually increased the number of fragments on my drive! Not good.
I should point out that it managed to defragment my other drive without too much difficulty, but the processing overhead is high, and the machine felt sluggish while defragmentation was being done. This is undesirable, since a defrag program is supposed to improve performance, not hinder it. I also got the impression that it wasn't keeping up with the number of files being fragmented during normal work, and it doesn't manage the free space very well either.
For home users mst Defrag will probably work OK, and it's a lot cheaper than O&O Defrag, but I still don't think it's worth the money. There is a lot more engineering work that needs to be done to make it work properly and without interfering with the user. It is certainly better value that the Ashampoo Magical Defrag program, but I still can't recommend 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


Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with the conclusion. My experience with version 2.0 (after a lot of testing) is that I have identical performance gains as with 'diskeeper 2008 pro premier' and 'perfectdisk 2008'(did not try oo)
The ONLY difference is the price you pay !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

When are you going to test the new version of MST Defrag; version 3? It has been out for a while now.

Anonymous said...

1.9 wasn't bad and for whatever reason, version 2 sucked on the 3 different machines on which I tried it. However MST Defrag 3 is a much better version than its predecessors; check it out when you get a chance.

Donn Edwards said...

Thanks for the info. I'm planning on setting up a test machine soon, and will definitely give it a try.