Optimistic Optimization

In this hands-on review of the newly-released Diskeeper 7, learn how to optimize both disks and your time. System administrators will appreciate the new deployment and scheduling features offered for all versions of Windows, up through and including XP.

 By Jim Freund
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Few people, be they lackadaisical users or hardened sys admins, can resist the hypnotically compelling display of a disk defragmentation program working its magic while optimizing a hard drive. However entertaining this can be (it beats most screen savers), it is an important maintenance task that many IT departments just don't have time for.

With the release of Executive Software's Diskeeper 7, networkers now have the ability to both optimize disks and their own time. The program offers a Server module requiring Windows NT, 2000, or XP; and a Workstation module, which can run on any version of Windows from 95 on up (including XP).

Deployment is simple enough. Diskeeper can be installed (or upgraded) simultaneously from a single machine to multiple computers on a network, using the Remote Installation feature. Though the Workstation version will run on any Windows platform from 95 on up, the machines taking advantage of the push technology must be running NT, 2000, or XP. However, once installed, all machines can be administered and scheduled from the server, with the exception of XP Home Edition. Times to run the software can be scheduled by individual machine or Groups. Better yet, the "Set It and Forget It" feature can make its own determination as to when optimization is required. You can also set the machine to run Boot Time Defragmentation on system files.

Information sent to the Windows NT/2000/XP Application Event Log can disclose which specific files were affected by the process, disk and directory information, and (assuming the client machine is running NT/2000/XP) Paging File or Master File Table (MFT) information.

We found the time Diskeeper took to accomplish its task almost alarmingly fast. Processes that have been clocked at over 2 hours using the Norton or Microsoft offerings took about 20 minutes using Diskeeper.

Norton Utilities' Speed Disk gives you the ability to determine where particular files or classes of files are to be placed on the physical volume, and examine the disk map on a sector-by-sector basis, providing analysis on the volume placement and fragmentation status of each file. Diskeeper provides a file (or folder) exclusion list, but little customization control beyond that.

This article was originally published on Nov 2, 2001
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