The data on your hard disk becomes fragmented over time, slowing access and wasting disk space. The defragmentation tool built into Windows does a fine job, but no one should be surprised that we think there's room for improvement. IObit's Smart Defrag is a freeware disk defragmentation utility that offers various improvements over the Windows tool, including what is described as "the world's fastest defragmentation engine." That's probably enough for many readers; with hard disks in terabyte territory, fast isn't just good, it's critical. We've used Smart Defrag many times, and it's definitely fast. Now PortableApps has released a fully portable version of Smart Defrag. Put it on your USB toolkit, and you're ready to sort out any ditzy disk you come across.
We saved Smart Defrag Portable to a folder on our desktop, but it can run from any location without having to be installed. Clicking the executable opened the program, which displayed our three disk volumes, their status and size, and other data, such as the presence of solid-state drives (SSDs), which should not be defragmented. We could also select specific files or folders.
The main display is a traditional (and welcome) color-coded fragmentation map, but tabs let us open an Automatic Defrag display for the optional feature that showed CPU and disk usage as well; a Boot Time Defrag feature, also optional, that handles those files that can't be defragmented while Windows is running; and a Report page. We selected both volumes of our physical hard disk for defragmenting and pressed Analyze. The program quickly returned its recommendation, Defrag and Fast Optimize, listing defragmented files and directories in the bottom pane. It tracked the job's progress with a counter and the map.
Like the hard disks they defragment, disk defraggers are an endangered species. Disk-based drives are giving way to SSDs, which don't become fragmented and should never be defragged, as the process just causes wear. But large-capacity hard disks will be with us for some time, and if it's less critical to defragment them to save space, it's just as important for access time. For that, a good free tool like Smart Defrag Portable is recommended.