MyDefrag offers defrag by path... Worth the time?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by dionisiog, May 23, 2010.

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  1. dionisiog

    dionisiog Registered Member

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    I have been using JKdefrag for years. I even use it on Windows 7. It's fast, reliable, uses very little resources (for the job it has to do.) Before Windows 7 if a user wanted to defragment all drives or partitions it was necessary to do each one, one at a time using Windows built in defragmenation software. An absolute and annoying stupidity, indeed. JKdefrag therefore was liberation from what I considered to be 'stupidware'.

    Recently I downloaded MyDefrag, authored by the designer of Jkdefrag, This basically puts all of the separate JKdefrag segments into one box. Whereas in the past I only used the basic JKdefrag file, here we have a compiled package. It offers built in script options.

    One of those options is defragmenting by file path... This, the program warns, will take a great deal of time. (It does.) For the novelty of trying this, I am defragmenting three of my computers in this manner today. But before I even began even trying this option, I had my doubts. What would it really accomplish, and was there a reason to do this ?

    And that is the reason for this post. I seem to have done quite well in the past with normal defragmentation (compiling files in one segment with the general intentions of putting the finished library in a similar space on my harddrive, instead of hither-schither, everywhere and anywhere.) I find myself wondering what is to be gained by sorting all of my files by directory and file path. I would tend to think that my computer is going to run rather quickly with the files simply defragmented, and that in the end humans are more obsessed with having all things in the same box more than it would have any significance to my computer to do so. This sort of reminds me of the way dog and cat owners buy foods for their cats based on their human preferences, while in the end their pet just wants the food that stinks the most.

    Can anyone educate me regarding this?
     
  2. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I believe the theory is that when you run a program, much of what it uses are files from the same folder (or sub-folders) the executable is in. And, if all the files are physically close together, the drive can run this program quicker.

    True? Or not? Maybe. But I'm thinking the difference is going to be small...
     
  3. dionisiog

    dionisiog Registered Member

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    That is what i have been thinking, but other opinions or knowledgeable replies would certainly be welcome.

    I ran the new MyDefrag software in it's monthly mode on three computers this weekend. One was a P2 with XP Pro, another a fast P4 with Home XP, the 3rd a dual core P4 with WIndows 7. All of these computers are equally happy running JKDefrag or MyDefrag.

    The P2 and Windows 7 Dual Core finsihed first (quite a difference in number of files, so don't get confused by these results.) I used the P2 for almost nothing, and broken into partitions, more or less it probably did not change anything but a few files on the system partition. To my surprise I found that it would probably take an extremely long time to straighten things out again using the monthly sort by folder script. So simply using this different form of sorting would keep my computer busy far outside the bounds of reason.

    And worse than that.... The Computer with Home XP, well past more than 24 hours, is continuing to defrag utilizing the folder process. A normal defrag with JKDefrag would have finished rather efectively and quickly within an hour under normal circumstances and it has a fairly well used 160 gyg hard drive. I defrag that computer with JKdefrag probably at least once a day so you know that this was not a messy hard drive. But MyDefrag with folder sort is still sorting and defraging going into the 2nd day, even though that computer was defragged quite well by JKdefrag prior to this folder sorting process.

    I find myself thinking that the software designer wanted to come up with something better by offering these options, but he in fact already was offering the best. I am a total fan. Sometimes simple things have been made at their best, and boring as it seems, there is no place to go from there. What's to complain about? JKdefrag already works with all the Windows platforms and does a better job than the original defragmentation programs offered with them all. I will have to hold out with my opinion on the newer platform offered in WIn 7. Out of habit, I have not opened it up much yet. I've grown accustomed to using JKdefrag, and it does the job quite nicely without my intervention.

    Perhaps this programmer can concentrate on replacing another irritating Windows software for us in the future?
     
  4. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I agree that Mr. Kessels has offered us great programs. He has taken a good app (the Windows defrag API) and made it a great app. I liked it so much that I donated a fair amount to him to express my appreciation (I have been trying to do better in this regard for free apps.)
     
  5. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Windows since XP uses prefetch to optimise the position of regularly used executables and dlls. I highly doubt that organising your on disk file system by path would improve.

    Down side is if you create/modify a file then the entire file system alphabetically past the file path would need shuffling to put in place.
    Hate to think how long it would take to defrag my 500gb drive...

    As defragmentation is costly (time wise) and fragmented files are the slowest performing, any strategy that helps to reduce future fragmentation is usually best to go for and just use built in prefect to optimise the performance critical files on your system.
     
  6. funkydude

    funkydude Registered Member

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    I've passed through many defragmenting programs in my time. After upgrading to 7 I simply gave up and started using the Windows one. It does the job fine, and it's fast, all I need.
     
  7. eCo

    eCo Registered Member

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    A few things to know :
    - Bigger HDs = faster HDs
    - HDs have far better throughput at the beginning of the drive than at the end (test yourself with HDTune for example)
    - Defragmenting and optimizing are 2 different things (MyDefrag does both)

    * Defragmenting is to group file clusters so they are contiguous
    * Optimizing is to move files to an optimal place on the drive, for example :
    - Put most used files at the beginning of the disk so they are read faster
    - Put NTFS system files at 1/3rd of the data (as advised by Microsoft)
    - Group files that may be accessed sequentially
    - Move spacehog files (movies, archives, etc.) that are read sequentially to the end of the disk
    - Leave big gaps deliberately between groups of files so writing is faster (if there are gaps all along the disk, Windows can write data near where the disk heads are, thus reducing seek times)

    Both jkDefrag & MyDefrag group files into zones, but MyDefrag split files into more zones in its default scripts.
    Both jkDefrag & Mydefrag propose options to sort files, but MyDefrag does a better job, partly because there are more zones.

    I have a PC that is 8 years old, I use it as an XP development/hacking platform. I have collected thousand of tools on it and there are more than 400000 files on it. Let me tell you that MyDefrag was the only defragmenter to bring the HD performance back to top!

    Why does "SortByName" make a big difference in performance? Simply because applications often read files that are in the same directory. If files are scattered then the HD has to seek more and so the performance drops. Defragmenting is not enough, you must optimize files if you want better performance!

    My initial run of the monthly script (SortByName) in MyDefrag 4.0 beta took 2 days! MyDefrag has improved since then and I run it from a BartPE environment once a month and it "only" takes 2 hours...

    The problem is that users want a defragmenter that is fast! But if you want a "perfect" ordering, you must concede that it takes time to move all files...

    IMHO, conventional defragmenters that only defragment files with little to no optimization are a waste of time, as they don't improve performance in a significant way. Only defrag+good optimization strategy make HDs faster!

    My final piece of advice would be to learn how scripting works in MyDefrag and then to develop your own scripts for your disks : "hmmm, these old photos can go at the end of the disk and my favorite game should go near the beginning".

    Good luck! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  8. majoMo

    majoMo Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot for the useful info in your well done post, eCo. :thumb:

    It's an example why to "a waste of time" could be a "worth the time"...

    BTW, the freeware ScanDefrag was updated and now it is using MyDefrag. ScanDefrag allows the user to automatize a boot defrag with "Pagedefrag", MyDefrag, MS Defrag, chkdisk, etc.. It works in x32 and x64 systems, though boot defrag works only in x32 systems (using PageDefrag).

    ScanDefrag is a app. that it is worthwhile... :shifty:
     
  9. MaxEntropy

    MaxEntropy Registered Member

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    I'm sure these points are true, but they don't necessarily translate into a huge performance boost.

    I won a licence for Diskeeper Pro Premier in the recent Wilders draw and have installed it on a new laptop fitted with a 500GB 7200rpm hard drive. At the moment, this just has an 80GB system partition for the OS. The difference in disk speed between the beginning and end of this partition is therefore negligible - just a few percent. As a result, Diskeeper is not using its IFAAST optimization technique (which involves shifting heavily used files to the fastest part of the disk), because it wouldn't make any appreciable difference.

    Later on, I'll create a big data partition on the rest of the disk for archiving digital photos etc. IFAAST may make a real difference there. However, disk performance for these rarely used files isn't nearly as important as it is for the system partition - and that is optimized simply by being a fairly small partition at (or near) the start of a large disk.

    Some time after installing the software, I switched on the option that tells Diskeeper to defragment folders as well as files, but I can't say that this has made any noticeable difference.

    Diskeeper also has a couple of useful features that help to reduce file fragmentation in the first place. First of all, it maintains fairly large blocks of free disk space - but it doesn't waste resources in trying to keep all the free space in one single block. Secondly, it has a feature called IntelliWrite that tries to write files to disk in single blocks. This strategy makes good sense, as some of the fragmented files may be temporary files that are used on the fly - defragmenting them later on won't help system performance.

    I haven't tried JKdefrag etc, but the features mentioned above seem to be similar to Diskeeper, so perhaps my experience is relevant.

    Diskeeper's stats show that it has done a steady job behind the scenes getting rid of fragmented files that could hit disk performance. Some files were fragmented into hundreds or even thousands of parts. DK claims a maximum read time of 70 seconds for that worst case, and some other files have had read times of several seconds. Of course, these are just a handful of files in tens of thousands, so one should not exaggerate their effect on overall system performance. However, in order to squeeze the best perfoemance from my 7200rpm disk, it seems like a good idea to eliminate file fragmentation as promptly as possible.

    If average file fragmentation reaches 1.33x, then a 7200rpm disk presumably performs more like a 5400rpm disk. My netbook generates about 1500 file fragments per day (far more following Windows Update or major software installations). If this is typical, then people who don't use a defrag program like Diskeeper may be well advised to schedule a regular defrag with the stripped-down defragger that ships with Windows.
     
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