WinUtilities DiskDefrag v1.8

A Full Review of WinUtilities DiskDefrag, a Free Defrag Program

Screenshot of WinUtilities DiskDefrag v1.8 in Windows 8
WinUtilities DiskDefrag v1.8.

WinUtilities is an all-in-one suite that has dozens of built-in applications in addition to a defrag program, like a registry cleaner, software uninstaller, and system information tool.

The included defrag software, called WinUtilities DiskDefrag, is easy to use and even has some unique advanced features I haven't found in any other defragmentation program.

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Note: This review is of WinUtilities DiskDefrag version 1.8, which is included in WinUtilities version 14.66. Please let me know if there's a newer version I need to review.

More About WinUtilities DiskDefrag

  • WinUtilities DiskDefrag can be installed on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
  • DiskDefrag can be found in WinUtilities if you navigate to Modules > Optimize & Improve > Disk Defrag
  • There are over 10 different actions the Defrag button can be configured to do (see the "Action Tab" section below)
  • A report is shown after every defrag operation that you can save to a file or print, which lists some of the largest files found on the disk as well as the files that are still fragmented
  • The speed of DiskDefrag can be adjusted so other applications can still function properly while a defragment is running
  • WinUtilities DiskDefrag moves large and unused files to what's called the SpaceHogs area of the hard drive to help improve disk performance. You can even specify certain files/folders that should be included in this area of the disk (read more in the "SpaceHogs Tab" section below)
  • Custom files and folders can be explicitly excluded from being defragmented or moved
  • You can schedule a defragment to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis; other options are available too, such as idle defragmenting and starting a new defrag when Windows is logged in to or the computer starts up
  • Advanced scheduling options can be changed, such as starting a scan only if the computer has been idle for a specified number of minutes, waking the computer to run the defrag, stopping the task if a laptop has been disconnected from a power source, and stopping a scheduled task if it runs for longer than so many hours and/or minutes

WinUtilities DiskDefrag Pros & Cons

There's plenty to like about this unique defrag program:

Pros:

  • Improves disk access by moving old/unused files
  • Includes advanced options
  • Supports multiple defragment schedules
  • Can run a defrag when the computer goes idle (isn't being used)
  • Defragments multiple disks one after another
  • Can turn off the computer after defragmentation
  • Able to save the list of fragmented files to a file
  • Includes several other useful system tools

Cons:

  • Sometimes asks to upgrade to the professional version
  • Doesn't support boot time defragmenting
  • Works for a whole disk only (can't defragment specific files/folders)
  • Includes several other unrelated programs

WinUtilities DiskDefrag's Advanced Options

I'd like to briefly talk about some of the more advanced options WinUtilities DiskDefrag allows, accessible from the Options button at the top of the program.

Action Tab

The Action tab has 11 actions you can configure the Defrag button to perform. No matter what you choose here, the button will still say "Defrag," which can be a little misleading if you're not aware of this setting.

All of the actions will analyze the hard drive before doing anything else. For example, the first option is called Analyze only, do not defragment and do not optimize. This is the most basic action you can perform, as it just analyzes the disk to tell you if there are any fragmented files.

As you move down the list of actions, you'll find very specific options that do different things to the hard drive's files, such as defragmenting the files or organizing them by name.

Unless you have a specific reason to do so, I suggest you stick to defragmenting and "move to end of disk" tasks only, as these will likely be the most beneficial.

SpaceHogs Tab

As I mentioned above, there's a defrag button option that moves files to the end of the disk. The "end of disk" here is talking about the slower part of the hard drive that should be reserved for files you don't use very often or at all. WinUtilities DiskDefrag calls this the SpaceHogs area.

By default, WinUtilities DiskDefrag will move large files (ones larger than 50 MB), files not accessed in at least a month, Recycle Bin files, service pack files, archives, and others to this area of the disk. These types of files aren't often accessed, and should therefore be moved to the slower parts of the disk, reserving the faster parts for files you do access often which should speed up their read/write access.

In the SpaceHogs tab, you can specify additional files and folders you want to be included in this area of the disk. Wildcards are supported so you can add entire folders as well as whole groups of file extensions to the list.

For example, say you have hundreds of AutoCAD drawing files on your computer that you don't use very often and they all happen to be under 50 MB in size. You can add "*.DWG" to the list to include these types of files in the move when you choose the Analyze and move to end of disk option in the Action tab.

If you want to be in complete control of the files that are moved, you can disable the built-in list (like service pack files and files larger than 50 MB) by entering \"DisableDefaults\" (with the quotes) as one of the items in the list.

My Thoughts on WinUtilities DiskDefrag

Most if not all other free defrag programs do not allow specific files and folders to be moved to the slower end of a hard drive. Defraggler is a bit similar to WinUtilities DiskDefrag in this way, but I haven't found many other programs that can do it.

One thing you may miss is the scheduled tasks part of the program. Because WinUtilities can schedule tasks for other things like disk and registry cleaning, you will find the defragmenting scheduling options in the same area, which is in the Scheduled Tasks menu on the main program window.

This probably isn't a big concern, but something I find a little unfortunate is that once you've started a defrag, you can't select the Turn off computer after defragmentation option. You must choose this before starting the defrag. This means if you start defragging a drive only to find it will take longer than expected, you can't decide to automatically shutdown the computer short of stopping the defrag, enabling the option, and starting it again.

Though WinUtilities DiskDefrag already includes awesome features like idle defrags and moving custom files to the end of the disk, I know without a doubt that if it ever adds supports for boot time defragging, context menu integration, and defragmenting particular files and folders only (not just whole disks), it would definitely be my favorite defrag program.

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