Product Reviews

Windows 2000 Defragmentation Tools: Disk Defragmenter

Five ways to fight the inevitable disk slowdown.

Microsoft tried to convince us that we did not need a defragmentation package with previous versions of Windows NT because NTFS would handle the defragmentation for us. They now realize that NTFS does need defragmentation from time to time and have therefore provided a defragmentation tool. The tool they include is actually a scaled down version of Executive Software's defragmentation software, Diskeeper (www.execsoft.com).

Pros: Included with Windows 2000
Cons:
Not as thorough as other tools
Verdict: Better to spend the money and get more features

The software is easy enough to use, once you find it. It's located in the Computer Management console, in the Administrative Tools. On Windows 2000 Professional, you access it from the control panel; in Server it's right on the Start | Programs menu. Once you launch the software, you'll see a listing of your drives in the top right pane and a summary pane at the bottom right, as shown in Figure 1.

To defragment a drive here is a simple matter. All you need to do is right-click the drive and select defragment. The software will analyze the drive to see what files belong where and then it defragments. The only added feature is that you get a report at the end that tells you what was accomplished (all the defragmenters that I reviewed do this though).

Microsoft's Disk Defrag Utility
Figure 1. The built-in defragmenter lurks in the Computer Management console. (Click image to view larger version.)

While this software does a good job defragging your files, it is not as thorough or as fast as other programs that are available. Another problem is that it won't defragment your system files. In fact, there is no way to defragment your system files with the tools that come with Windows. The biggest problem is that you can't schedule a defragmentation using the built-in tools. Bad news, considering that most of us seem to remember to defragment our drives only when we notice our systems slow to a crawl. There is also no provision for condensing free space because, according to Microsoft, this holds little benefit.

All things considered, it was nice of Microsoft to include defragmentation software with Windows 2000, but it just doesn't do everything you're going to need. Go get a piece of software that has the features you need.

About the Author

Joseph L. Jorden, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CCDA is Chief Technical Officer for Dugger & Associates (www.Dugger-IT.com). He was one of the first 100 people to achieve the MCSE+I and one of the first 2,000 to become an MCSE under Windows 2000. Joseph frequently contributes to books from Sybex and various periodicals.

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