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For daily/weekly use, so not copying whole disk/partition to disk/partition. What's the fastest way in Windows to defragment NTFS?

Edited to add: This is on a 2 Tb hard drive, used for storage only, with a random selection of file types and sizes such as text files, images, application and driver setup files, videos, ISO images, etc. It's only defrag that I'm after, although optimisation would be a bonus. However it would be handy to get good results with the same application on the system disk.

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Slightly related, if your computer has idle time to use: Is defragging relevant to improving disk performance anymore? –  Arjan Sep 2 '10 at 10:48
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5 Answers

It's not easy to tell which one is the fastest, as it varies a lot depending on the harddisk, the file of files stored on the disk (lots of small files, some huge files, ...), the defragmentation strategy you want to use (defrag only, optimize files, ...).

I've been very satisfied lately with AusLogics Disk Defragmenter. Lots of people are also very happy with MyDefrag. Both are free, work well, fast and efficiently.

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+1 Comparison is quite difficult. Also, I'm a happy user of AusLogics as well. I've got the automatic when-idle defragging setup and running on my every family machine I can; it's one less thing for them to pester me about. –  DMA57361 Sep 2 '10 at 9:46
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+1 I've been quite happy with MyDefrag. –  Dennis Williamson Sep 2 '10 at 15:26
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I can't comment on speed since, as pointed out by Snark, "it depends". I've been using PerfectDisk - http://perfectdisk.raxco.com/ - for a couple of years and "it's fine". I have it setup so that it defragments in the background on my PC. I also have it setup on my Windows Home Server, though on this one it does scheduled defragments at night. My percentage of fragmentation is always in the neighbourhood of 0%. It has had good ratings from publications such as CPU Magazine. They have a free trial if you want to give it a shot. Their "Home Premium" version if $29.99 (Pro is $39.99) so it's not very expensive.

(I don't work for Raxco - just a satisfied customer. ;))

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I'd recommend UltimateDefrag Free or Defraggler. For a storage drive, the 'Fragmented files only' option in UltimateDefrag, or the 'Quick Defrag' option in Defraggler will be quite quick. The 'Quick Defrag' option would be quicker, but it doesn't do as much as UltimateDefrag's 'Fragmented files only' option.

Edit: I see that you would like optimisation too. In my opinion, UltimateDefrag is the best for that. The Consolidate, Recency, Volatility or Auto strategies are great for system drive optimisation, particularly when told to respect layout.ini, 'high performance' and to move directory entries close to the MFT.

You can also define your own 'High Performance' and 'Archive' filesets, which will be moved to the beginning and end of the drive respectively, which is great for storage disks.

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Defraggler is one good application I have used and have been satisfied with the speed. Also, it is free.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The defraggers all seem to be about the much same speed, depending on the rate that files can be moved around the disk/partition. Although DefragExpress seems quicker than the rest, but only after the first defrag when it has then optimised the layout.

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