Although the advent of SSDs have meant that defragmentation is no longer a necessity for many PC users, disk defrag programs are still a crucial part of regular disk drive maintenance.
They are absolutely required to speed up boot and program loading times on traditional HDDs.
Defragmentation software work their magic by moving the fragments around your hard drive into what can be called a continuous stream. Meaning, instead of your large files and folder scattered around on the disk, they are placed together for faster access.
Running a defrag routine once a week is recommended — ideally in the background when you are not doing anything major on your PC. Windows comes with a fairly basic disk defragmenter utility out the box, though there is no shortage of alternate choices available. Many of these programs come with advanced features and options to schedule and finely tune your disk defragmentation.
We take a look at some of the best ones below.
The standard tool included in Windows is not bad, at least the one in versions Windows XP and up. While that one was slow and a tricky package overall, the utility included in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is a solid enough option.
One thing you will find is that this program lacks a good visual interface, meaning it can be a bit hard to know exactly what is going on during the whole process. However, the application is speedy, and provides relevant information both before and after the defragmentation.
Like all good utility programs, you can schedule the Disk Defragmenter tool to run daily, weekly or monthly. It also works on both internal and external hard drives. And even though newer, better options are now easily available, this one still does the job if you don’t want to, or can’t, download them.
Speedy and through
Limited feature set
Lacks advanced options
Ask anyone for a disk defragmentation program, and Piriform Defraggler is always one of the first recommendations. With good reason, too. This is one of the best free defrag software out there, with a number of handy options.
It works on both internal and external drives, always a plus. Defraggler can run a boot time defrag to speed up your system booting. And the program even lets you defragment individual files and folders making it perfect for professionals and power users.
Defraggler also provides a nice visual representation of the action. Unfortunately, a few other programs have it beat in terms of speed. But overall, as far as capabilities go, this one is right up there at the top. If you will only download one program from the list, make it Defraggler.
High on features
Can defrag both files and folders
No automatic updates on free version
Looking for a stylish little application to manage the fragments on your hard disk? This one fits the bill, and how. One of the finest disk defragmentation tools available on Windows, IObit Smart Defrag has a few new tricks up its proverbial sleeve.
Options include replacing the Windows Disk Defragmenter, prevent defragmentation of your chosen records and folders, defragging just the modern Windows 10 apps, and skipping defragging files that are over a specific size.
These finely tuned options aside, Smart Defrag is also great at scheduling an automatic defrag, and its boot time defrag does a good job of removing fragments from locked files. It also comes with a feature to remove junk files on your system to help speed up the deal.
Stylish user interface
Excellent support for SSDs
Boot and gaming optimizations
Ads on free version
Download: Smart Defrag
Funky name aside, O&O Defrag Free Edition offers a simple user interface that provides easy access to the more advanced options that are available here. You can analyze a drive, get a rundown of the content, and check it for errors before getting underway with the process.
In terms of scheduling, you and set it up to defrag your disk on a weekly basis, for example, or to begin a defrag process automatically when a screensaver pops up. An easy to understand wizard is also provided to setup scheduling or start the optimization process immediately.
Worth a mention that some features in the program are only available in the paid version of O&O Defrag. This can be annoying at times when you want to enable a setting. Still, with 8 defragmentation method and background monitoring of your defragmentation levels, this one is a capable piece.
Support for scheduled defrags
Simple, professional interface
Some features only limited to premium
Can’t exclude certain files from being defragged
Developer: O&O Software
Download: O&O Defrag
Auslogics Disk Defrag
Coming from a land called Australia, this program keeps it straight and to the point. Auslogics Disk Defrag does an excellent job of rearranging the bits on your hard drives to maximize the free space and keep your system running in tip top shape.
Smartly, it will even move your system files to the fastest area of your hard drive. This gets everything in the right place, before the regularly scheduled programming. Disk Defrag can also be set to run on more than one drive at once, in case you have multiple disks laying around that need optimization.
Like Defraggler, the program will also show you a list of fragmented files instead of a vague fragmentation report so you can you better devise a plan of action. Auslogics offers this tool as both a regular installable program, but it can also be ported in a portable fashion for use on removable media.
Quick, easy install
Can set defrag priority
Defrags more than one drive simultaneously
No option to defrag free space
Inability to move file to the end of the disk
Download: Disk Defrag
When it comes to appropriately named programs on this list, we have Disk SpeedUp. With a clean and crisp visual interface, and the ability to start a defragment process in just a couple of clicks, this software is one of the finest ones around.
Disk SpeedUp not only defragments your drives, it also arranges fragmented files consecutively. But the best part is that the program ensures that your new data has been correctly written to the drive, before overwriting old data. This allows you to easily pause the defrag process whenever you want.
Also built in is Disk Doctor, a module that checks the files and drives for errors and fixes them if it finds any. In addition to that, you also get a fairly good idea about the health and wear and tear experienced of your drive here, all of which is presented accurately. Good stuff.
Can finetune specific settings
Powerful scheduling options
Setup tries to install additional programs
Download: Disk SpeedUp
Power users will love the power on offer here. MyDefrag can be as simple and as complex a program you can make it to be. It offers a lot of advanced features, all of which can be customized based on your needs.
The deal is that you will be loading and running scripts on your drives. Many of these scripts are included when you first install the program, and these include directives like analyzing a drive, defrag on a schedule, and consolidate the free space available on a disk.
Powers users and system administrators have the option of building their own scripts to customize how MyDefrag works. This makes it a worthwhile program for use in enterprise scenarios. The only notable downside is that this program has not been updated in a while, since May 2010.
Tons of features for power users
Support for scripts
Busy, complicated UI
Limited compatibility with newer Windows
Developer: Markus Hörl
Another program that caters to both novices and advanced users, with powerful options at hand if you need to make specific changes to how the program runs. UltraDefrag offers a functional interface, with all the common functions that you would expect from a disk defragmentation tool.
You will find options like repairing, defragging and drive optimization on easy access using the menus, while advanced functionality is also available in the form of BAT files that you need to create. The UI, on the other hand, is simple and modern, with focus on the various commands.
UltraDefrag can be download as both an installable and potable version, for both 32-bit and 64-bit variants of Windows. In terms of speed, this came right around the middle of the pack — not the fastest program around, but one that still works at a respectable pace.
Support for boot time defrag
Old school UI
Scheduling can be confusing
Developer: UltraDefrag Development Team