O&O Defrag 10 Professional Edition
PROS: Robust feature set; attractive interface; multiple defragmentation options
Keeping your hard disks organized and optimized is one of the regular maintenance tasks that most IT pros don’t like to do but that must be done on a regular basis. Defragmenting your hard disks not only improves system performance and reliability, but also keeps small hard disk problems from becoming large hard disk problems. The integrated defragmentation capability included in previous versions of Windows has historically been mediocre at best. Windows Vista’s Disk Defragmenter does provide the ability to automatically schedule defragmentation tasks that run in the background, but the basic interface doesn’t offer much in the way of additional features. Enter O&O Software’s O&O Defrag 10 Professional Edition, a robust, standalone disk-defragmentation tool packed with features.
O&O Defrag 10 supports the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as Windows 2000 Professional. Installing the product was quick and painless, and the product even provides several options to help you configure the software correctly for a given piece of hardware. For example, when I chose to install the product’s software on a server, I was prompted to specify whether I was installing it on a file server, database server, mail server, or Web server. The installation program then configured the software specifically for that application server to maximize performance.
The product offers five defragmentation methods, which are shown in Web Figure 1. The Stealth method is ideal for defragmenting machines with tight system resources; the Space method is ideal for defragmenting disks with heavy fragmentation; the Complete/Access method organizes files by the date they were last accessed; the Complete/Modified method defragments files based on the date they were last modified; and the Complete/Name method organizes files alphabetically, which is ideal for files that are frequently accessed but seldom changed or modified.
The O&O Defrag 10 interface is clean, attractive, and strongly resembles Microsoft Office 2007’s ribbon-based UI. The default view gives detailed information about the disks currently being defragmented. You can schedule defragmentation tasks in advance by using O&O Defrag 10’s defragmentation scheduling tool. Also, you can create multiple defragmentation jobs at once to save time and streamline your defragmentation tasks. For example, I configured O&O Defrag 10 to defragment a frequently used hard disk more often than a rarely used hard disk. If you prefer to control and schedule your defragmentation tasks via a command line, you can do so by using the command-line version of O&O Defrag 10. The command-line version of O&O Defrag 10 can be configured to run in scripts and batch files, and to initiate a disk defragmentation when a system first boots.
I installed and ran O&O Defrag 10 on a network running a mixture of Vista and XP machines, and tested the software by using each of the aforementioned defragmentation methods. All the defragmented machines showed a range of speed improvements related to disk access, with a system running XP (and booting from a heavily fragmented local disk) showing nearly a 10-second improvement in boot times. Speed improvements varied, but were most noticeable on older machines running XP. If you’re trying to squeeze as much life as possible out of an existing IT infrastructure still running XP, upgrading to XP SP3 and investing in a disk-defragmentation tool, such as O&O Defrag 10, might help you maximize your existing IT investment.
The version of O&O Defrag 10 that I tested was primarily aimed at small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs); however, large enterprises that are looking for better network support and a central control console might want to take a look at O&O Defrag 10 Server Edition. This version of the product includes a central control console; Active Directory (AD) integration, which lets administrators easily install the O&O Defrag Agent software on client machines; Group Policy support; and a revamped job scheduler that includes support for computer groups and large networks.
I do have some gripes about O&O Defrag 10, but they’re minor. One thing I don’t like is that O&O Software doesn’t have an office in the United States, which could be a problem for businesses that prefer a stateside sales and support office. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying what is arguably one of the best disk-defragmentation tools available today.