Product Reviews

Reunited, With Style

PerfectDisk 2000 puts your hard drive back in harmony.

Fragmented program and data files are the result of computer use, and a seriously fragmented hard drive can make your computer feel as though it’s trudging through quicksand. A defragmentation utility like PerfectDisk puts files back together, allowing the operating system to read and use them faster, store them faster and maintain them using fewer resources (CPU time, RAM, disk space and so on).

Raxco Software’s PerfectDisk 2000 Version 5 (PDV5) is a disk defragmentation program that can be used on Windows 2000 and XP PCs, workstations and servers. The company claims that the product is an industrial-strength defragmentation solution for distributed Windows networks. The software is designed to defragment data files in a single pass; defragment all 16 Metadata files, including the Master File Table (MFT); consolidate free space and organize hard disks according to usage patterns; run a defragging schedule according to a preset, adjustable fragmentation level (threshold); provide a Network Scheduling Wizard to set, view and cancel schedules; and run offline automated defragmentation of the MFT and system files. This version of PerfectDisk also includes boot time defragmentation, network management, command-line support and a few other bits.

So, with all of this going for it, a test drive sounded as inevitable as fragmentation.

PDV5 requires a computer capable of running either Win2K, Windows XP or .NET and 64MB RAM (128 recommended), and installing and using PerfectDisk is simple.

The product can be run remotely on any Win2K or XP computer on your network as long as PerfectDisk is already installed on the computer. It can easily handle typical size hard drives (1GB to 100GB), all the giant partitions out there (100GB up to 1TB), and any size files (including 1GB+ videos). Both the single-pass defragmentation methodology and the ability for parallel-drive defrag (two or three drives at the same time) are superb additions by Raxco—none of which are available in the defrag utility that comes built-in with either Win2K or Windows XP.

PerfectDisk provides an analysis of your hard disk, allowing you to see how much fragmentation has occurred.

Launch it, select a drive (or several drives) to analyze, and away you go. I tried the software on a couple of different servers running Win2K Server and on both a Pentium III 800mhz and new Pentium IV 1.4mhz. In all cases, the results were superb. PDV5 is blindingly fast, taking an average of only two hours to defragment a badly fragmented 40GB drive.

About the Author

David W. Tschanz, Ph.D., MCSE, is author of the recent "Exchange Server 2007 Infrastructure Design: A Service-Oriented Approach" (Wiley, 2008), as well as co-author of "Mastering Microsoft SQL Server 2005" (Sybex, 2006). Tschanz is a regular contributor to Redmond magazine and operates a small IT consulting firm specializing in business-oriented infrastructure development.


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