Let’s start today’s article by explaining why the best free disk defragmenter is still relevant in “the present year”: Yes, we know that SSDs are all the rage these days, and they do, in fact, significantly boost the overall speed of your system. Most people, however, continue to utilize SSD/HDD combos due to the latter’s affordability in terms of cost per GB, because, guess what, most people reading this post are not interested in spending a small fortune on a 4+ TB SSD for their Anime collection.
Why Is Defrag Softwares Still Available?
When it comes to traditional hard disk drives, defragmentation has been scientifically demonstrated to improve performance while also extending the drive’s life. HDDs are notorious to get significantly slower as time passes since the first OS installation, which may be aggravating to say the least. Defrag softwares comes into action here, assisting you in extracting every last drop of performance from that sluggish mechanical hard drive. And, while we’re on the subject of sluggish mechanical drives, don’t forget to check out the best disk partition software if you want to boost the performance of your HDD, okay?
The Fundamentals of Fragmentation
So, what exactly is fragmentation? To put it simply, fragmentation is made up of bits of information that are randomly distributed around the region of your HDD, making it harder to read. The more you use your hard drive (copying data, installing programs/games, and so on), the more fragmentation you’ll accumulate over time, as this is essentially a “natural phenomenon” (or a built-in defect) that can cause occasional freeze-ups and crashes.
Defragmentation is best described as “cleaning your room,” that is, putting the random bits of data that are scattered over your HDD in order.And, of course, the greatest (and simplest) method to have a clean room is to maintain it clean, rather than letting waste to pile for two weeks in a row.
The greatest method to increase performance and keep your system quick and healthy is to prevent fragmentation or to stop it before it occurs. As you may be aware, Windows and other operating systems have their own in-house defrag capabilities, but the finest defrag program must be capable of eradicating the problem as it arises, i.e. in real-time. And, no, Windows isn’t capable of doing so.
How to Select the Best Defragmentation Software
That’s a simple question: high-end defrag softwares must be capable of mitigating disk fragmentation in real-time, as it happens, i.e. look for the real-time defragmentation capability. Windows’ built-in defragmenter runs on a fixed timetable or manually, which is insufficient for performance-obsessed geeks or enterprise environments.
Also, depending on the level of speed desired, you must select between freeware and paid-for defrag-tools (the same issue as picking cloning software); obviously, commercial defrag softwares offers extensive functionality, which comes in handy notably in enterprise setups. With that in mind, how about we look at some of the more popular ones?
Best Defrag Softwares
Disk Speedup is a popular piece of software from Glarysoft, and the best part is that it is completely free. Okay, you may notice a few minor advertisements here and there, but this isn’t a deal-breaker. It is quite simple to use Disk Speedup, and it allows you to defrag both individual HDDs and files/folders. Despite the fact that it is free, Disk Speedup includes some pretty amazing capabilities, such as the ability to execute an automatic defrag after your PC has been idle for a certain number of minutes.
Basically, Disk Speedup is very detailed, very configurable, and professional; for example, you can stop defragging for specific file pieces that have more than three fragments, are smaller than 15 MB, or are larger than 100 MB. You can, of course, change these values as you see fit.
Furthermore, when it comes to real-time defragging, Disk Speedup really shines, as it lets you to automatically shift unused/large/certain format files to the end of the HDD, while smaller/more regularly used files end up “on top,” a feature that increases access speeds. You can also exclude specific folders/files from a system defrag, turn down your machine when the procedure is finished, conduct a boot-time defrag, and schedule optimizations defrags daily, weekly, or monthly
Here comes another freeware, this time from Piriform, the holy grail of free software applications such as Recuva, Specy, and CCleaner. Recuva is a free file recovery program, while CCleaner, among other things, is a system/registry cleanser. Defraggler is the fourth musketeer, the D’Artagnan of the lot, and it plays in its own league as free defragmentation software that can selectively push infrequently used fragmented files towards the end of the drive, boosting access speed and overall system efficiency.
Given that it is free, Defraggler is perhaps the greatest defrag softwares available, as it works on both internal and external HDDs, freeing space or defragging data, including defragmenting specific folders or files, and nothing more. Another noteworthy feature is the availability of a portable version of Defraggler for flash drives, which is an unusual option for freeware. Furthermore, Defraggler has nearly “universal” Windows compatibility, as it can be installed on Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8, and 10.
IObit Smart Defrag
Smart Defrag is a clever defrag-freeware that can determine the best moment to defrag your machine, and we’re not kidding. IObit, like Piriform, specializes in software tools, and their Smart Defrag softwares is specifically designed to increase computer performance (both HDDs and SSDs) by decreasing access times by shifting frequently used files to quicker sections of the HDD.
Essentially, your computer will have faster access to the files you need the most. Smart Defrag’s user interface is brilliantly designed and simple to use, and the greatest part is that it blends software optimization (IObit’s specialty) with defragging. The ultimate effect is top performance since Smart Defrag groups files by usage when defragging.
Because our website focuses on games, we have some exciting news for gamers who use Smart Defrag: there’s a game optimizer feature hidden in there that greatly improves speed and performance thanks to the new Defrag Engine.
Auslogics Disk Defrag
Disk Defrag by Auslogics is a quick and compact defragmenter targeted at improving PC speed, with over 19 million downloads. Obviously, based on the metrics, this is not the most popular defrag program available, but it’s still fairly decent all things considered, especially given that it’s entirely free. The simplicity of Auslogics Disk Defrag is one of its primary “selling features” (pun intended).
This baby will defragment your HDD swiftly and painlessly; on top of that, you receive consolidated free space and optimized file arrangement, which means your HDD will be able to retrieve relevant data at the highest speed feasible for a mechanical drive, which is still very slow. Aside from that, Disk Defrag has a good feature in that it can be set to auto-defrag your HDD while your computer is in idle mode, allowing you to keep the problem under control 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re seeking for basic HDD maintenance for a Windows-based PC, Auslogics Disk Defrag is the way to go.
O&O Defrag is a legend in this industry, as evidenced by the fact that the company is a Microsoft Gold partner, which implies they work with Bill Gates’ geek team to create their software. In layman’s words, this is one of the best commercial defrag softwares options available. O&O defrag works well on both internal and external devices, HDDs and SSDs, and it has an ergonomically designed user interface that is both intuitive and clean.
When you launch O&O Defrag, you will be presented with three options: disk defragmentation, startup inefficiency checkup (which is excellent), and duplicate file check. These three functions are almost everything you’ll ever need to keep your drive-related issues under control, whether we’re talking about a high-end gaming rig or an older PC powered by spinning squirrels (that would be mechanical HDDs).
Disk defragmentation can be performed manually or as part of a periodic schedule (as customizable as humanly possible). And don’t worry, because O&O’s resource throttling feature allows it to run quietly in the background while you’re doing your thing, without interfering with your PC’s functioning. O&O Defrag will also optimize startup applications, and it will eventually relocate them for quicker access.
UltraDefrag is a computer geek’s dream, as it creates sophisticated defrag softwares that permits boot-time defragmentation (with loads of choices), advanced modification of program settings, and “vanilla” defrag features. It’s also worth noting that UltraDefrag is primarily geared at advanced users, but fear not, noobs, for the software’s basic (as in default) capabilities and intuitive interface will have you up and running in no time.
In addition to traditional HDD defrag, you may optimize your HDD health/performance by utilizing the quick or complete optimization option, and you can examine thorough reports of fragmented files in HTML, including the file path/size and the amount of fragments. Finally, UltraDefrag is compatible with almost all Windows versions, ranging from the venerable Windows XP and above to Windows 10. Furthermore, the software is backward compatible with Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012, as well as the 32-bit versions of Windows NT 4.0 and Windows Server 2000. (which is impressive).
SYSTWEAK Disk Speedup
Last but not least on our list of the best free disk defragmenter Speedup from SysTweak, which is available in both free and commercial editions. The good news is that even the free version includes a slew of amazing features; for example, advanced users may adjust extremely detailed settings, and the software fully supports both boot and scheduled defrags.
SysTweak Disk Speedup is obviously safe to use and secure regardless of one’s “security clearance level,” and it also works with most Windows versions, including XP and Windows Server 2003, all the way up to Windows 10.