Windows' disk defragmentation tool is an old workhorse that recent upgrades haven't really improved. In fact, more than a few users were disappointed that the strangely mesmerizing block-by-block progress display had vanished from newer versions. You can get the old view back and much more with O&O Defrag Professional, a powerful automatic utility that can not only improve your system's performance by defragmenting data but also keep it running smoothly by preventing data fragmentation before it happens even as it runs unnoticed in the background.
The software's installation wizard lets you make Defrag Pro your system's default defragmentation tool; you can also deselect background defragmentation when you first run the program. An attractive, businesslike dialog is built around an updated, fully customizable version of the classic data-block display. Clearly labeled icons are grouped by function, and there's an extensive disk information list as well as tabbed selections for both the software's features and the main display. The Jobs and Reports feature simplifies both scheduling and reporting results, compared with the built-in Windows tool. Defrag Pro's most significant departure from the Windows utility may well be its Background Defragmentation feature. With this feature enabled, Defrag Pro manages data as its written to the disk, which keeps it from becoming fragmented in the first place. Unlike past programs designed to run in the background, Defrag Pro didn't seem to slow things down. The acid test of a defrag utility is how well it cleans up your disks. Defrag Pro offers three levels of defragmentation, Optimize, Optimize/Quick, and Optimize/Complete. The disk analysis and error checking stages were noticeably quicker than the Windows tool, and a roughly 5 percent fragmented, 150GB primary partition hosting a copy of Vista took mere minutes to completely defragment.
Regular disk defragmentation can keep your system running fast and smooth, but the Windows tool takes so long that many users don't take advantage of it, even with scheduling. Defrag Pro's speed, flexibility, and ease of use combined with its unique ability to prevent data fragmentation answers every shortcoming.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of O&O Defrag Professional Edition 12.5. The trial version is limited to 30 days.