Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Great Defrag Shootout XXIII: IObit SmartDefrag 3.1 beta

IObit SmartDefrag 3.1 is not particularly smart, in spite of the name. This program is a very bad combination of beta software and ad-ware: if it did its job of defragmenting the hard drive all this would be bearable, but my frustration with this package has grown over time, not diminished. The fact that it is free is one of its few redeeming features.
The screen display is a fixed size, and doesn't follow the usual Windows UI, but rather enforces its own, so on my system ("Windows Classic" theme) it sticks out like a sore thumb. Because you can't resize it the advert messages down the right are partially obscured, which is just irritating. I'd rather see a complete ad than 3/4 of an ad.
The disk display follows the standard WDD method, but with less detail. The "Comprehensive" defrag took all night, so it isn't particularly efficient, in spite of the web site claim to have "the world’s fastest defragmenting engine". There is no documentation on what the different methods do.
The "before" and "after" display shows what was done, but the comprehensive defrag didn't completely defragment my hard drive, even after several hours of work. The report on what was done (see below) is fairly useful, but it would be a lot more useful if you could resize it to see all the details, instead of having to use scroll bars which are a waste of time. Fortunately you can sort the columns, even if you can't see them properly.
Even more frustrating is the "Auto Defrag" feature which presumably is what gives the package it's "smart" name. In spite of my best efforts I have yet to figure out what exactly it did, other than keep my hard drive active. There is a graph type of display that seeks to reassure you that it's busy doing something but not slowing you down. Unfortunately it fails on both counts. There is a noticeable delay when you click to open a new application because the drive is busy, and if a program is trying to access the hard drive without using a lot of CPU cycles then it also has to wait its turn.
I tried to make a suggestion by clicking on the "feedback" link, but it doesn't work. I wrote to the email address that was provided on a previous version when I encountered a crash, but my suggestion got nowhere because they insisted on a screen shot of the problem. How do you do a screen shot of a missing feature? Grrr ...
In spite of leaving the machine running all night without doing anything else for 3 nights in a row, the the auto defrag made no attempt at defragmenting numerous fragmented files on my drive that were not in use. Perhaps this can be explained by the settings that allow you to defrag files that are either "frequent visited files" [sic] or "recent used files" [sic] or system directories.
A useful feature at the end of the "Analyse" process for manual defragmenting is a "suggested action", a feature also available in PerfectDisk.
This program is not PefectDisk, and its auto defrag feature is not nearly as good as the one found in O&O Defrag, which actually works. It does not have a boot-time defrag facility, and the end result of using it for a week is not particularly encouraging. There are random gaps all over the drive, and the free space is not consolidated. Of all of the programs that attempt to do an "automatic" background defrag, (Buzzsaw, Ashampoo Magical Defrag, mst Defrag 2.0, O&O Defrag 10) this has to be one of the worst. It slows the machine down but appears to achieve nothing. While it has some nice ideas, the implementation is poor and frustrating. I cannot recommend this program, even though it is free. If you must have automatic defragmentation, use O&O Defrag 10. Personally I'll stick to the JkDefrag screen saver: at least I can see what it's up to.

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


Muhamad Amirul Ashraff said...

Yours is Beta, but the latest and beta version does not gives my pc any problems lately and keep my pc into it's full performance

Anonymous said...

Hi Donn,

I think you may want to test again the latest version, 1.03. I find it very efficient and quick to redefrag. Initial analysis can take some time, on some systems, and is faster on other. Defrag is quick enough. There is very clever feature, not found on many other products : you can avoid defrag of files bigger than a given size. I have chosen 500MB.