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Quick Disk Fix for NT
by John D. Ruley

NT disk partitions can fragment as badly as (if not worse than) Win95 or DOS partitions. In recent tests, one WinLab NT system had over 20,000 excess fragments on a single partition. And just as with Win95 or DOS, excess fragments slow performance--by as much as six times, in extreme cases.

The good news is you can defragment your partitions without plunking down a penny. Executive Software, maker of the Diskeeper 2.0 defragmenter for NT (see WinLab Reviews, March), offers a free version called Diskeeper Lite that you can download from its Web site (http://www.execsoft.com).

Click to enlarge.
Frag Facts. Diskeeper analyzes your NT system, letting you know when it's time to defragment. The program also defragments NT File System partitions.
Diskeeper Lite differs from Diskeeper 2.0 in that it supports only single-pass (manual) defrag. You have to manually start a defrag pass as you typically would with a DOS or Windows 95 defrag. Unfortunately, that's rarely sufficient for NT--particularly on a badly fragmented partition. Since NT is a multithreaded, multitasking operating system, some files will be in use when the defragmenter runs, and those won't be defragmented. To get around this problem, you need to run the defragmenter many times--a real pain if you have to do it manually.

Automatic multi-pass defrag (you can schedule it for times when you're not using the system) is available, for a price. Diskeeper 2.0 costs $75 for a version that runs on NT Workstation. Or you might prefer Norton SpeedDisk, which is part of Symantec's Norton Utilities for Windows NT (see NT Enterprise Reviews, May). Norton SpeedDisk provides automatic multi-pass defrag, a complete undelete feature and other utilities. You can download a free trial version of Norton Utilities from Symantec's Web site at http://www.symantec.com.

Finally, if you run a dual-boot configuration with both NT and Windows 95 installed, you can run Win95's Defragmenter. Note that it will only run from Windows 95--it requires direct low-level access to the disk controller, which NT doesn't allow. It will also only defragment DOS-style FAT16 partitions. To defragment NT File System partitions (commonly used on NT servers), you'll need an NT-native defragmenter like Diskeeper or SpeedDisk.

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Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.