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A Better Vista Defrag

A Better Vista Defrag

Microsoft’s Windows Vista looks fairly nice and it has some useful new features, but a change in the user interface just doesn’t cut it for me. How about you?! I’m talking about the Disk Defragmenter feature. It is one that I use on a regular basis (and one you should too!) I mean, it makes me feel good about the neatness of my hard disks and it ensures that backup images are made of those drives, in order to take minimal space for storage and shorter times to write.

The new version of the Disk Defragmenter that comes with Vista is designed to work on an assigned schedule, always performing its magic in the background. Gone are the brightly colored displays of bad disk sectors with files that are scrambled, good sectors where information is packed tightly together and hopeless sectors that are reserved for system use only. There are no more blinking lights as the program reads and writes sectors, pulling together like minded bits and bytes. There’s no feeling of satisfaction when comparing the rainbow of disk sectors before the defragging operation to the neat columns of solid colors afterwards. In fact, running a manual disk defrag in Vista yields only this message: “This may take from a few minutes to a few hours.”

But, what about those of us who don’t work on schedules and don’t want our computers to either? Is this message all we can hope for? Plus, how many minutes or hours are we going to have to stare at this message until the defragging process is complete? There must be a better way!

Well, actually, there is! For a solution, let’s turn to a company from down under. Auslogics Disk Defrag comes from a company based in Sydney, Australia. You can check out their Web site here.

This utility supports FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS formats. The makers say that their program was designed specifically for Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 and it was made for “fast optimization of today’s modern hard disks.” The program does indeed run fast and it has a nice display with a lot of pretty, colored boxes that show you what is really going on. What more could you ask for?!

Well, a nice user interface would be a good start and Auslogics comes through in spades! The interface is clean, good looking and it couldn’t be easier to use. A drop down menu lists the available drives on your computer that need to be defragged. The disk format of the pre-selected drive (usually drive C:) is shown and the disk space (total, used and free) is displayed both in a table and on a pie chart. How cool is that?!

To begin, select a drive from the drop down list and press the Next button. The lights will start blinking as the disk defragmentation starts its process.

Soon after, the window will change to announce that the “Defragmentation of disk C:\ is finished.”

A summary table provides information on the total number of files and directories processed, the number of files fragmented, defragmented and/or skipped, plus the percentage fragmentation both before and after the operation. A Display Report button provides the option of viewing an HTML report with the summary information and the details of the individual files processed.

It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s colorful and best of all, it’s free. This is my kind of utility program. Give it a try today!

~ Alan German