Defraggler for Physical and Virtual Disks

January 17, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If your PC is running slow, one of the first things you should do is use the Windows disk defragmentation tool to analyse (and then if necessary defrag) your Windows system disk.

Defragmentation occurs as a by-product of disk writing efficiency. Basically a hard disk will write new data where the head is placed, rather than moving to the beginning of the disk or the first empty sector. This results in fast writing but slower reading. With new, faster disk drives this is barely noticeable, but as the device fills up you will probably notice  that as new data has been written, it has found itself spread across the drive, easily identifiable by the drive being seemingly slower than when first installed.

One option is to use the Windows disk defragmentation tool, but if you want a more effective solution to the problem you might use the free Piriform Defraggler tool.

Defraggler for Physical and Virtual Disks

Download and Install Defraggler

There are three ways to get hold of Piriform Defraggler:

  • The free home use option
  • The priority support home use option (£19.95)
  • The Business support option (£39.95)

You can access all three options via www.piriform.com/defraggler/download, and the small 2.9MB file can be quickly downloaded. The installation is quick, so all you need to do is go with the default options (if you prefer to install applications in their own partition, use the Advanced button to make this change).

With Defraggler installed, the program will auto-run and you will be ready to take advantage of its advanced defragging functionality.

Using Defraggler on Physical and Virtual Disks

Thanks to Defraggler being designed to defrag individual files, it can be used to defragment virtual disks (such as those created in VMware virtual machines) as well as physical and logical partitions.

The process is the same for each. With Piriform Defraggler running, select the drive you wish to defragment. A table of grey and white squares will be displayed – this is the default view of the current disk usage. Clicking Analyze will change the grey and white squares into colours, the meanings of which are displayed on the Drive Map tab. Basically, red files are fragmented and blue files are not. Incidentally on the Drive Map tab you can use the Edit Settings button to change how the defragmented disk is illustrated.

On the tab for the drive you have analysed, a report will be displayed, detailing the number of files and the percentage of defragmentation. You will also see a pie chart illustrating the free and used space on the drive. Using the Defrag button you can resolve this, although you might wish to use the File list tab to see the list of fragmented files.

This is where individual files can be defragged; they will be listed by the number of fragments detected in each file, so those at the top of the list are in more need of defragmentation. To defrag individual files, tick the box next to the filename and select Defrag Checked. To see how this has affected the disk, click Analyze again. Going forward you can either use the overall Defrag option on the Drive tab or defrag the individual files.

If you’re interested in finding a specific file that you suspect might be particularly fragmented, use the Search function which will find files of specific sizes.

It’s probably fair to say that Piriform Defraggler is faster at defragging than the built in (and much improved) Windows 7 defrag tool.

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