What year is it? It’s 2008 and I’m still writing about how to defrag my Windows machine. It’s pathetic. The whole idea is ridiculous especially considering that as the size of partitions have shot up almost exponentially, while the time taken to completely defragment a hard drive has stayed linear. In fairness, I rarely have thought about about disk fragmentation while using workstations and desktops because hard drives have become so fast in these form-factors. It is only when you consider smaller devices, like laptops and UMPCs that utilize 2.5in or 1.8in drives, that thoughts of defragging to improve performance and other mythical notions occur.
Over the years I’ve tried a handful of products like Diskeeper Pro, Auslogic, and O&O, but recently I’ve been fed up with the concept of having to pay for such a basic utility. Don’t get me wrong, IT administrators require solid solutions for their servers that allow for complex scheduling and operation, but as a power user, I just want something that easy, flexible and FAST!
Enters the arena JKDefrag. JKDefrag is an GNU GPL open-source defrag utility that is built using the Windows Defragmentation API. It works on pretty much all types of drives including USB, Firewire, flash, external or “not so much” type. The tool is command-line based so it can be used with task scheduler and scripts. If command-line isn’t your thing, then you can use JKDefragGUI which acts as a front-end.
Above is a picture of JKDefrag’s visualization windows
Another plus point of the software is that it doesn’t take over your machine’s IO. I ran it in the background while continuing with my normal work. Also, because it’s using the native Microsoft defrag API, its pretty rock solid which can be supported by the fact that my laptop went into hibernate, not sleep, only to be woken up the next morning to continue defragging after a successful load. On a side note, this was one of the rare times I was seriously impressed with Vista’s stability and speaks volumes that the right engineering decisions are being made. I won’t get into a Vista debate because Mark Russinovich has a great open panel discussion on Vista adoption.
Finally, the main reason I like JKDefrag, honestly, is because its free. It’s one less install screen I have to deal with and no annoying registration. Ironic, I know, coming from a Microsoftie but c’mon, its just defrag, it shouldn’t have to be like installing a real application or an OS. Bottom line, try it out, thank me later.