Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout XX: Defrag-A-File 1.1

PC Magazine has a long and illustrious history of product reviews, news and utilities. Defrag-A-File is one of those utilities, and this version was posted on 18th December 2006, and updated to version 1.1 on 21st February 2007. It's supposed to be freeware, except that you have to be a PC Magazine Library subscriber to get it. Alternatively you can pay US$7.97 for the download. As the name suggests it is designed primarily to identify and defragment individual files.
The engineering behind this application seems pretty solid, but the performance is slow. The interface is clean and logical, and it didn't take long to figure out how it works. The interface is unique in that it is the only defrag program reviewed that can display individual clusters, a level of detail missing from all other programs. It can also show a map of the entire drive. The accompanying article provides an adequate overview of defragmentation, as well as instructions on how to use the program.
I tried asking the program to defrag my large compressed data file, and it proceeded to plod away all night, first moving files around to create enough free space, and then moving the file clusters to create a defragmented file. It took all night and 10 hours later it was still busy. Less challenging requests took less time. The reporting is also quite good.
There are no command-line options, so you can't use it in the task scheduler, and it can't defragment files that are in use. There is no boot-time defrag option. This utility therefore falls into the "nice to play with" category, rather than the "truly useful" category, and the only features it offers that are missing from WDD are free space defrag and individual file defrag. There are freeware alternatives that are faster and more useful.
Update: Version 2.0 was released in December 2007. It is supposed to defrag entire drives now, too. The article has more information.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just tried version 2. It is much improved performance wise and visually.