Diskeeper 11 vs Perfect Disk 8

Discussion in 'General Software Discussion' started by Chaos, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. Chaos

    Chaos Number Nine

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    I have been a Perfect Disk user for some time now, recently I decided to try version 11 from Diskeeper. The one thing that I am not really sure of is why Perfect Disk does not make any changes to the size of the MFT yet Diskeeper 11 increases the size by large amounts with the built in Frag Shield utility. Can anyone explain why they do this and if it's a good thing or a bad thing
     
  2. gshayes

    gshayes New Member

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    PerfectDisk doesn't have this "feature" because it is not needed.

    A little background on NTFS and how it works. When an NTFS drive is formatted, it creates the $MFT and it contains a fixed number of records that can be used. As files are created, then these records are used. Eventually, the pre-allocated number of records is filled up and the $MFT needs to "grow" - allocating another chunk of file records. Immediately adjacent to the $MFT is created what is called the MFT Reserved Zone. By default, it is 12.5% of the drive and goes from the first record of the $MFT to the first non-free cluster after the last MFT record. If you have a 100GB drive, then the Reserved Zone is going to be 12.5GB - pretty large if you think about it. If you look in Windows Explorer/Properties on a drive, the free space shown is the total of both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the Reserved Zone.

    The MFT Reserved Zone is created specifically to allow the $MFT to "grow" in a contiguous fashion. When the $MFT fills up, it allocates the next chunk from the free space located in the MFT Reserved Zone. NTFS will avoid putting files inside of the Reserved Zone unless you get into a low free space condition. It is not necessary to artifically pre-allocate additional space for the $MFT in order to keep it from growing fragmented.

    Since NTFS takes care of this automatically, there is no need to artificially extend the $MFT. However, since most people don't have this level of knowledge of how NTFS works, when they hear about this "feature" in Diskeeper, they think it must be a good thing and worth paying extra money for.

    - Greg/Raxco Software
    Microsoft MVP - Windows File Systems

    Disclaimer: I work for Raxco Software, the maker of PerfectDisk - a commercial defrag utility, as a systems engineer in the support department.
     
  3. Warhammer

    Warhammer New Member

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    I always wondered about that I havent had much luck with diskeeper 10 it doesnt run very long running on a raid setup without eventually getting corrupt files causing and error in the raid array. Maybe just me but when I quit using it Ive had no more problems.
     
  4. PangingJr

    PangingJr Member

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    gshayes,
    you might want to include the "quote" tag over the message that you post above.
     
  5. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    Hi, I'm the product manager for Diskeeper. Let me clarify an earlier point and explain the purpose of FragShield better.

    What Greg mentioned about the behavior of the MFT reserved zone is very correct for Windows 2000 (NTFS 3.0). In Windows 2000 a fragmented MFT meant you HAD to use a third party tool to run a special "bootime" defrag. ALL metadata files (i.e. the files that define the file system - of which the MFT is one) were unmovable objects.

    However, in Windows XP/2003 (NTFS v3.1) Microsoft enhanced the APIs to support online defragmentation of most of the MFT (as well as several other metadata files). They also changed the design of the reserved zone. It is no longer a hard-coded region. In XP, that region is dynamic and is an NTFS internal hint. In XP that zone can also be defragmented into and out of - in Win2k you could only move files out of it.

    A good freware tool you can use is to verify this is Windows Sysinternal's NTFSInfo.exe.
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/NtfsInfo.mspx
    The command line tool will output the percentage that the reserved zone is using.

    What Greg mentioned about the MFT expansion is also correct.

    FragShield's purpose mirrors what many database administrators (DBAs) do as a best practice. A DBA typically creates a large database in advance, even though the total number of records only consume a small percentage of the size of that file on disk.

    Pre-allocating the MFT with FragShield offers similar capabilities of what a DBA would do for their database. If you have a Win2k system and know that you will need more than 12.5% of the volume, FragShield can pre-expand the MFT and prevent it from fragmenting - mitigating the need for a bootime defrag. Diskeeper will advise you on the need.

    On an XP/2003/Vista system FragShield offers the same functionality. As the zone is more dynamic, fragmentation of the MFT often occurs more rapidly than in Win2k. If you install a large app (like a software suite or a game with many files), run a defrag analysis - you'll often see MFT fragmentation. Fortunately an online defrag can address this fragmentation, but using FragShield in advance will prevent the fragmentation from occurring in the first place.

    Is this feature "life or death" - of course not. Does this feature provide value - I think so, and so do many others. If it is of value for you, that is up to you to decide.

    BTW, FragShield is available in the Diskeeper Professional product and higher editions. The only edition that does not have this feature is Home.
     
  6. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    Warhammer,
    Diskeeper, like other defragmenters, uses the Window's APIs to perform online defrag. If you're getting corruption issues, you may have a faulty controller. You're always welcome to contact Diskeeper technical support.

    Also note, that if you run Win2k there is a known issue with the file system generating false positives (it is very rare though):
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q320866

    Diskeeper and the built in defragmenter regularly check the file system health (other programs may have similar functionality), so a false positive can unfortunately complicate defragmentation in some cases.
     
  7. Teme

    Teme Super Moderator

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    I tested the trial of diskeeper 10, some time ago, and found that it can defragment my iPod mini (4Gb) does mp3 player that uses hdd to bee defragmented?
     
  8. Chaos

    Chaos Number Nine

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    thanks for the input, I am surprised to see Raxco and Diskeeper employees replying but if it comes from the source I guess I should listen.

    Warhammer I used version 10 and had issues with corruption of files also.

    MMaterie. is there a way once Frag Shield has increased the default size of the MTF to restore it to it's original size after version 11 has been removed? Also do i read correctly that the increase of the MFT size is precautionary only and will provide no real benifit unless the default limits of the MFT are surpassed.
     
  9. Asmoday

    Asmoday Demonic

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    I would like to say on behalf of the driverheaven staff that it is very nice seeing Raxco and Diskeeper reps here. It is very positive with companys that actually care about the end users. :)

    Welcome to Driverheaven gshayes and mmaterie!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2006
  10. Jeremy of Many

    Jeremy of Many New Member

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    Could the employees from both PD and DK please explain which is technically better/healthier for the harddrive...
    a) Having files placed side-by-side in sequential order beginning at the beginning of the disk spanning outward (SmartPlacement)
    b) Having DK automatically defragment everything for you, and using I-FAAST?

    I mean, both defragmenters claim to be the leading best in the industry, yet they both operate in two completely different manners. One of them has to be better than the other, right?
    SmartPlacement's main con is the extra time and workload stressed on the harddrive to constantly move files around in order to make room for say, newly installed programs.
    And DK says the Invisitasking is real-time, that it eliminates fragmentation AS the file is being written to the disk. This isn't true because I have copied archives and immediately done an analysis and it would be in many fragments which wasn't defragmented until later.
    These concerns need honest, unbiased explanations. People need to be told the absolute truth.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy
     
  11. BWX

    BWX get out and ride

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    I haven't been able to get a boot time defrag to work since PD6.. I have heard many other people with the exact same issue. It doesn't work on the main C drive or the drive (partition) you use for the pagefile. I use a separate partition.

    it works on drives/ partitions that can me taken off line to defrag within Windows. - basically it doesn't work the drives / partitions you need it to work for.


    Last pic I took of the error. PD8 doesn't work either.
    [​IMG]

    Using a regular IDE drive on Asus A8N-E.. and Nforce 4 Ultra mobo.. doesn't work no matter if I use default windows driver for IDE controller or the Nvidia drivers. I use the windows drivers because they are less buggy for me in general.

    I had an older HD die on my a while ago (about 4 years old- WD 40GB 7200PRM 2MB cache ATA100)... I can't help but wonder if I defragged it too much.. it just started clicking one day at startup and my PC wouldn't recognize it. Or maybe it was just "it's time" to go.
     
  12. Warhammer

    Warhammer New Member

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    I run it on my wife and daughters machine without issue but using it on a machine with a raid 0 array after a month or so you end up with corrupted system files. This happened on my Asus A8v deluxe and now my Asus A8n sli deluxe. Maybe it doesnt like Asus boards I dont think the controllers in both boards would be bad. I dont know about other arrays but I havent had any issues since not using it but I would really like to learn more because Ithink its a good program.
     
  13. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    No. This is a one way road - shy of copying the data off and reformatting. Unfortunately the MFT is relatively off limits to third parties, otherwise quite a bit more functionality would be available. Databases and virtual disk formats can typically be shrunk with a vendor provided routine, for good reason. I can't think of any technically substantial reason for shrinking the MFT though - at least not off the top of my head.

    Increasing the size is simply to prevent fragementation. That is possible because for this unique file, NTFS actually does leverage a reserved area for growth. From a performance standpoint, a handful of MFT fragments is not an issue. A good part of the MFT is cached. Same goes for most all other metadata on a volume as most of those files are always in cache after the volume is mounted.

    The primary benefit in defragmenting metadata is to prevent other data files from fragmenting around them.


     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  14. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    Defragmenting an HDD-based MP3 player won't hurt (I've defragged mine several times), though a good deal of the "impact" of fragmentation is relative to how the operating system is affected by it. I haven't seen a scientific test that defragmenting an iPOD helps, but I have seen a lot of anecdotal evidence. I wouldn't, however, regularly defrag a SSD (solid state disk) such as the iPOD Nano though, as the "write" life of those devices is far more limited.


     
  15. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    Hi Jeremy,

    If you want more info on I-FAAST, I've written a number of articles at www.diskeeperblog.com. I also wrote a blog on the real-time defrag - you have a very valid question.

    I also agree with your demand for forthright info, and I think both vendors here are up front with technical details. Yes, marketing product webpages tend to be "value" focused, so you may have to dig into the vendor's white papers or FAQ sections to get to the specifics.

    You are correct that the two strategies are different, and they have different objectives.

    I'll let Raxco, the experts on their product, define how their technology works.

    -Michael



     
  16. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    I'm not the Raxco expert, but that error indicates some service likely started early in the boot process and is preventing the bootime engine from exclusively accessing the volume. Diskeeper behaves similarly and would run into the same limitation. If you can track the service down and edit it's start up value, it should resolve the issue.

    Here is a good reference as to the general cause:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q235771

    I'd certainly recommend using your service manager to edit, rather than editing the registry - if it can be avoided.

    -Michael


     
  17. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    Hi Warhammer,

    I have the exact same board as you (and the Intel ASUS equivalent on another box). I've also set up a 2 drive RAID 0 with the one of the onboard SATA configs (I think there were 2 separate on board RAID controllers available?), but have never seen an issue. I am, however, running x64 XP and using Windows supplied drivers updated from the Windows Update website. I suggest emailing Diskeeper tech support - they can investigate.

    -Michael



     
  18. PangingJr

    PangingJr Member

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    Could you provide example of services that starts ealier than the boottime defrag at system startup?

    if i can recall correctly, one of ZoneAlarm's previous version was also have this similar problem with either Chkdsk or boottime defrag (i can't remember if it was about the boottime defrag or not). also the Symantec AntiVirus Corp 9.x used to have peoblem where it can cause the Chkdsk not to run at system startup and at the time i found this issue and i also found that Symantec has came up with a workaround to this by recommending users to configure Auto-Protect to load at service startup, instead of at system startup.
     
  19. BWX

    BWX get out and ride

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    I would like to know what kind of services would start up too soon so I could temporarily shut them down so I could run a boot time defrag.

    I use AVG free, and Sygate pewrsonal firewall pro..
     
  20. mmaterie

    mmaterie New Member

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    From personal experience (I used to work in the security industry for a major AV vendor before joining Diskeeper) most issues with premature service startups are from file filter security products, and are unecesarry. Firewall, Encryption and AV tools are your best suspects (anything "device driver" oriented). Please note I use "premature" loosely as it is always possible there is a legitimate reason for early start up. If you plan to explore and fix by yourself, you can likely narrow your search to third party software registered there, or do a search for the value 1 in this section. I'd double check with the vendor of the related service that editing the startup is OK to do.


     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006

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