Hard disks often do not store files in one piece, but rather where there is space – sometimes spread over large areas of the hard disk. The individual parts of a file (fragments) are therefore not available in one piece, rather they are torn apart, which increases the effort when reading in small and, above all, large files. The hard drive’s read / write head then has plenty to do. Fragmentation becomes particularly noticeable when you start a program that consists of a large number of files: The application call is sometimes a test of patience. It also takes time to read large video files to be edited into the editing program if the content is (heavily) plowed apart. You can get rid of the fragmentation problem with tools like O&O Defrag Professional under control. Technical details on the PC throttle factor and the antidote defragmentation can be found in another article. The following article tells you how well O&O is doing when it comes to restoring lost PC resources.
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O&O Defrag: Hardly any program has more algorithms
We tried the defragmenter on Windows 10 21H1 (October 2021 update). The recently released version 25 offers new features for official Windows 11 support and the display of SMART health data on drives. As usual, the setup wizard has a quick setup that you can do by clicking on “Next”. The “Advanced Installation” button, on the other hand, enables the use of a classic installer that offers more settings. We chose the quick setup – after two clicks on “Next”, O&O Defrag was on the disk. In terms of functional depth, the software is broadly based: At the top you get a list of your partitions and data carriers, right-click to call up a context menu. It contains many algorithms with “STEALTH”, “SPACE”, “COMPLETE / Name”, “COMPLETE / Modified”, “COMPLETE / Access”, “SOLID / Complete” and “SOLID / Quick”. Depending on your preference, you can choose one of the techniques, although they differ in terms of the estimated optimization time and thoroughness. The two SOLID variants are intended for hard disk and SSD partitions; however, it is questionable whether these tuning methods make sense with flash memories.
On our test system, we created artificial fragmentation on an external USB-SATA hard drive. This was done with a test tool (Fraggle.exe) from the test laboratory. According to the O&O Defrag analysis, the USB-HDD-NTFS partition in question was about 50 percent fragmented. After using the SOLID / Complete method, the degree of fragmentation was at the same level, because the partition was 100 percent filled with data and defrags need some free space. We deleted some files, were now shown a degree of fragmentation of a few percentage points more, and reduced it to 0 percent with Solid / Complete – mission successful.
Innovative, not entirely convincing SSD optimizations
In the past, hard disks were widely used as a boot medium, today SSDs play this role. The latter do not need defragmentation. A hard drive is built into today’s PCs and notebooks, if at all, as an additional, larger mass storage device that stores data and no longer houses the operating system. Defragmenting such a secondary disk makes sense, but it doesn’t get Windows going as much as it did a few years ago; the OS is located on the lightning-fast SSD. Defragmentation is only noticeable on SSD-plus-HDD computers when you access HDD files such as large video project files or portable programs. Presumably some defrag providers are seeing their skins floating away due to the SSD boom and are therefore implementing SSD optimization in their applications. Even though SSDs have a reputation for being reliable if you don’t defragment them, you can do the most for them. O&O has two features to offer here: The above-mentioned solid algorithms defragment both HDDs and SSDs, which, however, brings neither noticeable nor measurable improvements.
The color scheme in the ribbon bar above is new in version 25: Instead of a light color, the operating area is now black. You can optionally switch between “Blue”, “Silver” and “Black” using the new button at the top right (“Color Scheme”). The new SMART analysis (S.eleven-M.onitoring, A.nalysis and R.reporting Technology) to determine drive health is a nice idea. The manufacturer certainly had know-how available here, which he had already incorporated into his older SMART analysis tool O&O DriveLED (shareware). The vital signs in the “SMART” tab of drives seem plausible to us. Here we still see a little room for improvement: After “Temperature” there is only a number, an additional indication that it is degrees Celsius would be helpful. The temperature as well as the number of operating hours, the switch-on processes, the transmission mode and the interface (“Serial ATA”) matched the information from CrystsalDiskInfo in the test. Raw data can optionally be called up, unfortunately there is always no assessment such as “good” as to whether values are to be assessed positively or negatively.
Windows 10 defragmentation tips
O&O Defrag test: conclusion and assessment
With O&O Defrag, the chances of accelerating a lame PC are not bad: If the hard drive is the bottleneck, O&O Defrag releases the brakes with well thought-out algorithms. The variety of these is commendable, but beginners find it difficult to decide which optimization method to use. Here, users benefit from the fact that the manufacturer documents in more detail online than the competition how the Defrag variants differ. We see the SSD optimizations ambiguously: SSD defrags seem superfluous, trimming SSDs is nice, but does not justify buying O&O Defrag, as Windows 8 and higher and the free IObit Smart Defrag can do it. Anyone who works with HDDs will not go wrong with O&O Defrag. The zoning should like to be more accessible. In contrast to Defraggler, Smart Defrag and Auslogics Disk Defrag, O&O 24 Defrag is integrated into the Windows MMC: There administrators and power users combine a number of system-related on-board resources, but also O&O Defrag to create an individual system control consisting of tools of choice (Snap -Ins) together. Version 25 unfortunately does not do this. However, O&O Defrag is currently the defragmentation reference – in addition to Auslogics Disk Defrag Ultimate, which is also chargeable.
The advantages and disadvantages of O&O Defrag:
+ Modern ribbon interface + Now with SMART analysis function + The reference in terms of the number of algorithms + Fixed our test fragmentation + Defragments individual files via their context menu + Built-in boot time / offline defragmentation + Disk-Cleaner scoops up storage space + Trims SSD drives + Scheduler that is activated via a screen saver, for example + Innovative SSD defragmentation, … – … which one has to believe in and which hardly brings anything – Innovative features such as the zones to be set up rather uncomfortable – Disk cleaner without browser / registry cleaning
O&O Defrag: Alternatives
An interesting competing tool for O&O Defrag is Raxco PerfectDisk Professional. The commercial software promises to use OptiWrite technology to prevent re-fragmentation. There should be no negative effects on system performance (“with zero impact on system performance”). The concept is reminiscent of Ashampoo Magical Defrag 3, which is no longer being developed. You receive the test version of PerfectDisk – just like the one from O&O – free of charge. The Ashampoo Defrag engine lives on in Ashampoo WinOptimizer 18, which you can obtain from us exclusively as a free full version. Good freeware defragmenters are Defraggler (without TRIM support) and Smart Defrag – both rank behind O&O Defrag, but should usually be sufficient for rare defragmentation requirements. In terms of the number of algorithms, only the open source defragmenter UltraDefrag is on par with the O&O solution; data can be sorted according to path, size, creation time, modification time and last access as well as in ascending or descending order. The operation is less comfortable, the equipment spartan.