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Defrag Manager 3.0

  • Editors' rating
    8.5 Excellent

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • history nodes
  • supports event logs
  • new command-line interface

Cons

  • Runs on Windows-based computers only

Hard disk drives are lousy at housekeeping. When files are created, deleted or modified it's a certainty they will become fragmented. This reduces their performance and reliability, as their drive heads have to search for all the pieces of data in different locations. Defragmenting a hard disks helps to reorganise non-contiguous files into contiguous files and optimise their placement on the hard disk for increased reliability and performance.

This, of course, poses a logistical problem for network managers because they don't have the time or inclination to move between client PCs defragmenting hard disks. Defrag Manager 3.0, which costs £12 (ex. VAT) per client, could therefore be a godsend, as it allows you to remotely schedule, deploy, monitor and control the process of defragmenting hard disks on Windows-based networks. The software is managed from a single console, so you don't even need to waste time with laborious manual client installations.

In just minutes, you’ll be able to defragment Windows NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003 computers on a network automatically from a single installation on your machine. The software is designed for larger organisations, so smaller businesses probably won’t find it as cost effective. But network managers supporting over 50 systems should appreciate the fact that Defrag Manager deploys a low-system-overhead defrag agent to each client according to a schedule that you can designate. This agent then utilises a proprietary defragmentation algorithm that automatically completes the defrag process before removing itself from each system. Therefore, no continuously-running services or manual client installations are required.

Defrag Manager also works with Active Directory, so any new computers added to a network are also defragmented. Defrags tasks are controlled and configured from one system, regardless of the number of computers on the network or the physical location of the machines -- including mobile systems disconnected from the network. You can schedule defrags for a single PC, a group of computers, an Active Directory organisation unit or an entire domain, with a single drag-and-drop.

The latest version of the software includes an updated interface with multi-pane views showing graphical defrag results from within the administrator's console. In addition, the proprietary SmartPhase engine now supports parallel defragmentation of different physical disks, user-selectable free space consolidation settings, Windows XP and Server 2003 Prefetch compliance and defragmenting of NTFS alternate data streams. The software can also run from a bootable CD to help safely defragment all Windows files, folders and metadata regardless of Windows version, while an automatic boot-time optimisation feature allows Defrag Manager to automatically defragment the paging files, registry hives, Windows XP and 2000 hibernation files, and event log files of remote systems.

From a single Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in interface, you can manage clients and defrag rules. From this main window you can view primary nodes (Schedule, History, Network and Active Directory), defrag results, logs, graphical analysis histories, as well as details of computers’ past defrag runs. From here you can also drag-and-drop an entire domain or workgroup onto a schedule, so all client systems will automatically have that schedule applied to them. You can schedule defrags while client systems aren’t in use, such as late at night, thus helping to increase office productivity. The software can also be set to wake up computers to run the defrag task.