RAW Computing

4 portable Windows disk defragmenters

Every time you install software on the computer it gets a little bit slower. This is most noticeable on computers with small memories, but even those with large amounts of RAM are affected. For this reason, I always prefer software that does not need installing. Programs you can just run. It's often called portable software because you can carry it on a USB memory stick, but you can keep it on the hard disk drive too. Here are four disk defragmenters that don't need installing. They speed up the hard disk drive by organising the files in a more efficient manner.

Defraggler (free)

Defraggler is from the same company that makes the popular CCleaner and the normal program installs to the disk drive, but dig around the site and you'll find a portable version that doesn't need installing. Defraggler analyses the disk drive and displays a fragmentation block map in the top part of the window showing the fragmented and used parts of the disk. A nice feature is the way you can click a block and see what files are there. A File list tab displays the fragmented files and it can be sorted by number of fragments so you can see the worst. The whole disk or individual files can be selected and defragmented. A health tab shows the disk's S.M.A.R.T. status. There are defrag and quick defrag options and a few settings with each one can be customised to tweak the performance. A scheduler enables you to defrag at set times every day, week, month and so on. It's a good utility.

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Smart Defrag (free)

IOBit SmartDefrag is also available in regular and portable versions, although download links on the website will install the regular one. I got a portable version from portableapps.com. The default interface is dark, but a couple of clicks is all it takes to switch to a lighter one. A drive list is displayed at the top and after scanning there is a file fragmentation map at the bottom. There are options to defrag only, defrag and fast optimise, and defrag and fully optimise. Defrag simply defragments the files, defrag and fast optimise also defragments the space too. The fully optimise option rearranges the disk contents to maximise the speed. There are some great features in this program, such as automatic defrag. Select this tab and there are live scrolling charts showing CPU and disk activity, and defragmented file statistics. It can be set to automatically defrag the disk when the computer is idle. There is also a boot time defrag option and this runs Smart Defrag on boot up so it can move files that Windows uses. This is an excellent disk defragmenter and is recommended.

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UltraDefrag (free)

UltraDefrag comes in several different versions, such as a regular Windows program, portable version, micro edition and beta version. The interface isn't as attractive as with Defraggler or Smart Defrag. There is a drive list at the top and after analysing a drive, a file fragmentation map is displayed at the bottom in the usual way. UltraDefrag has options to defragment, quick optimisation, full optimisation and optimise MFT (Master File Table). This last option is useful because not all disk defragmenters do this part of the disk. There is a boot time defrag option, but it seemed to be disabled, possibly because this is a portable version. UltraDefrag is OK, but Smart Defrag is a better tool.

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Auslogics Disk Defrag (free)

Auslogics Disk Defrag is available in normal and portable versions like the others, so make sure you download the right one. It is very similar both in looks and in features to Defraggler. It could almost be the same program. At the top is a drive list, in the middle is a file fragmentation block map and at the bottom is a tab panel showing information. Scan the disk and you can click blocks in the fragmentation map and see the list of files it contains. You can also select the files tab and see a list of fragmented files. They can be sorted according the the number of fragments and either the whole disk or individual files can be defragmented. There are defrag, quick defrag and defrag and optimise options. A really interesting feature is speed map. It shows how fast each part of the disk is and there are fast, medium and slow zones. You can see which zones your files are in. Smart Defrag is better, but Disk Defrag is stil a good utility.

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