Smart Defrag v8 Review

A full review of Smart Defrag, a free defrag program

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Smart Defrag is a free defrag program that intelligently determines the best time to defrag your PC.

You can set it up to continually defragment your computer throughout the day, and even do so while it's rebooting. There are lots of settings that give you deep customization, setting it above most other free defrag tools.

Smart Defrag disk defrag tab
What We Like
  • Scheduled regular and boot time defragging

  • Can automatically shut down after a defrag

  • Option to auto analyze for defrag alerts

  • Boot time defragmenting

  • Optimization and/or prioritization can be scheduled

  • Exclude files and folders from a defrag

  • Can defrag just the free space

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't allow checking a drive for errors

  • Doesn't support idle defrags

  • Tries to install an unrelated program during or after setup

  • Some options seen in the free version are actually only usable in Smart Defrag Pro

This review is of Smart Defrag version 8.5.0, released on May 31, 2023. Please let us know if there's a newer version we need to review.

More About Smart Defrag

  • Works with the following operating systems: Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
  • Supports running and scheduling a defrag during a reboot
  • Moves commonly used files to faster parts of the disk for quicker access
  • Option to replace the default Windows Disk Defragmenter program
  • A portable version of Smart Defrag can be found at PortableApps
  • When a defrag completes, the program shows a detailed report of every file that was defragmented
  • Option to shut down, sleep, hibernate, or reboot the computer once a defrag has completed
  • Can remove several types of junk files before starting a defrag
  • Able to defrag individual folders and files instead of the entire hard drive

Advanced Defrag Options

This program has unique features you may not find in similar software.

Boot Time Defrag

Under normal conditions, particular files in Windows are locked. You're unable to move these files because they're constantly being used. This causes a problem when you want to defrag those files, so Smart Defrag has an option to defrag the locked files.

The way this works is you set up the program to defragment the locked files when Windows isn't in use. The only time Windows isn't using the locked files is during a reboot, so Smart Defrag must run this type of defrag while your computer is rebooting.

It's from the Boot Time Defrag tab that you can enable this option. This is where you'll find the options for a boot time defrag. 

Smart Defrag boot time defrag tab

Choose to enable boot time to defrag and then select any of the hard drives you have connected. The boot time defrag can be configured for the next reboot only, the first boot of every day, on every reboot, or the first boot on a specific day like every 7 days, 10 days, etc.

You also have control over what gets defragged. Pick from page files and hibernation files, MFT, and system files. There's a Specify files section in the settings that lets you defrag specific files of your choosing.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is an area in the program's settings that you might miss if you're not looking for it. It lets you define portions of Windows that get scanned for junk files. You can have Smart Defrag clear out these files so it's not defragmenting them, which otherwise might make a defrag last longer than is necessary.

Disk Cleanup settings in Smart Defrag

When you run a manual defrag, you can have these junk areas cleaned up. Some of the areas included in the scan are the Recycle Bin, Internet Explorer temporary files, clipboard, old prefetch data, memory dumps, and chkdsk file fragments. There's even an extra setting to enable secure file deletion using DoD 5220.22-M, one of the most popular data sanitization methods.

To run a disk cleanup with Smart Defrag, use the dropdown menu below the specific drive that should be cleaned, and select Disk Cleanup. Now when you run a defrag the hard drives you selected to be cleaned will run through that process first before starting the defrag.

Final Thoughts on Smart Defrag

Smart Defrag is one of the best free defrag programs. You can install it and completely forget about it. It can be set up to constantly run in the background and automatically adjust its actions depending on what you're doing.

We really like that you can do a system cleanup during a disk analysis to clean up junk files that you no longer need. Smart Defrag cleans more areas than all the other defrag programs we've used. However, it doesn't do it automatically. If the program could auto-clean the files before every defrag, there'd be little to complain about.

At the top of the program, under the disk drives, there's an option to add a file or folder to the list. You can include common files and folders that you wish to defrag on a regular basis. Also, when you right-click a file or folder in Windows and choose to defrag it with this program. We really like this feature. It's a simple way to track things you may know are always fragmented and have direct access to defragment them.

We're glad there's an exclude list in the settings. If you have data you don't mind contains fragments, then adding them there will exclude them from both an analysis and a defrag. Also, in the settings, you can choose to skip files that are over a particular file size, which is nice if you have many large files that would normally extend a defrag time if included.

Not all defrag programs support boot time scans, so the fact that this one does just adds to its awesomeness.

Something we're not a fan of in any program is when the installer tries to get you to install additional software. Smart Defrag might try to install another program during setup, but you can easily dismiss it.

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