Review: Raxco PerfectDisk 8.0

A software review by Bobulous.

What is PerfectDisk 8

Regular use of the Windows operating system will lead to file fragmentation, where files have to be split up into pieces to fit into the space on the hard disk. This especially occurs when the amount of free space left on a disk is low, as new files have to be squeezed into whatever gaps of free space remain. Having a large number of fragmented files will make your hard disk performance suffer, because extra time is wasted looking for all the pieces of each file.

PerfectDisk 8 by Raxco can reorganise files on the hard disk to reduce the number of fragmented files. It also offers SMARTPlacement, which puts files in their most suitable location on the hard disk.

Getting PerfectDisk 8

Raxco offer a fully-functional 30-day trial of PerfectDisk 8, so you can decide for yourself whether it improves the performance of your hard disk.

Also on the Raxco website is an online store where you can buy a download version of PerfectDisk 8 Professional for $39.99. If you want inclusive product upgrades for a year, make that $47.99. Enterprise versions are also available.

Using PerfectDisk 8

screenshot: The PerfectDisk 8 main window, showing the state of the hard drive with coloured squares that represent different file types.

Once PerfectDisk 8 is installed and loaded, you select a hard disk from the list at the top left of the window, then click Analyze. PerfectDisk 8 then examines the selected hard disk to determine how files are distributed across it, and gives a colourful graphical representation of the state of the hard disk.

If your disk doesn't have too many fragmented files, PerfectDisk 8 will tell you that no action is necessary. But if your disk is full of fragmented files, you'll either be told to do a standard defrag pass, or a defrag pass with SMARTPlacement. The SMARTPlacement feature tries to place files according to how often the files are likely to be modified, the aim being to reduce future file fragmentation and reduce future defrag times.

Once you start defragmenting an entire drive, the graphical representation updates to show file blocks being regrouped and moved to a suitable place on the disk. Gradually the mess of colours is sorted into tidy blocks. Defrag times will depend on how big the hard disk is, how fragmented it is, and how fast your hard disk performs read and write operations.

It's possible to carry on playing music and browsing the web while the defrag runs in the background. This isn't ideal, though, as files belonging to running sofware may not get optimized. However, PerfectDisk 8 is designed to run harmlessly in the background while you carry on as normal, and there are various scheduling options that allow defrags to occur automatically, including a defrag during screensaver option.

Evaluation of PerfectDisk 8

PerfectDisk 8 is easy to use, and effectively reorganises files on a hard disk to optimize performance. If you're finding that hard disk performance is not what it used to be, and the standard Disk Defragmenter that comes with Windows XP isn't capable or flexible enough, then give PerfectDisk 8 a try.