Defragging HDD using PowerDefrag & Free Space consolidation

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Vasudev, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Hi everyone,
    I always found that default MS defrag tool doesn't defrag all files and skips system files ($mft,$bitmap etc...). I accidentally came across GUI for Sysinternals suite's Contig called Power defrag which uses Triple Pass technology to completely defrag files.

    Once you have downloaded Power defrag, allow it to access the internet to fetch latest Contig package and once complete, you will have a similar looking GUI:
    upload_2019-2-10_20-47-59.png

    You can select any option you desire for selective defrag and if you're lazy, choose Triple Pass defrag and select which drive you want to optimise. You can go to have a lunch or dinner and the speed depends on current fragmentation of your drives.
    I did try it on my SSD and HDDs w/o any issue. Defragging SSD isn't recommended. I'd recommend defrag only Steam folders if you are curious to see if it is working or not. I defragged my SSD completely and was looking at Drive writes in CrystalDiskMark and it was really low and I felt Contig was intelligently telling SSD Controller to move and group all free clusters along with defrag. You'll see something like this: Do note that I'm running it on HDD and not an SSD.

    If anyone is looking to improve SATA SSD or NVMe SSD to make it faster by 100% this isn't a tool for you and for absolute peak SSD performance even after heavy usage you can refer this post made by Ultra Male
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...ssds-performance-by-secure-erasing-it.827286/

    I made a guide for secure erasing SSD/HDD/NVMe using command-line for people who like to use xterm or terminal using Debian or Ubuntu distro in LiveCD environment.
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...a-nvme-using-hdparm-nvme-cli-on-linux.827525/


    Untitled.png
    The process will take a long time depending on fragmentation.

    Once the process is complete, we can go for Free space consolidation using default MSFT defrag tool.
    The process is safe to be used on SSD & HDDs.
    upload_2019-2-10_21-19-12.png
    You need to run it in admin cmd prompt or Powershell. This is the result on my SSD.
    The command to perform free space consolidation is:
    Code:
    defrag.exe /H /X /U C:
    Replace C: with any volume letter of the drive.
    EDIT: Free space consolidation works on USB flash drives and it gave a fresh breath of life for my older USSB2 drives.
    Free space consolidation is the same process provided by Perfect Disk Paid version and this is not a replacement for PD Pro which prevents fragmentation in the first place regardless of storage Media excluding Tapes, CD/DVD/BD drives.
    I was just experimenting how PD achieves the advertised performance and accidentally came across MS Defrag documentation.

    Before using Powerdefrag and free space consolidator: (I'm using Perfect Disk Trial as a reference)
    [​IMG]

    After using Powerdefrag triple Pass and free space consolidation:
    upload_2019-2-10_21-21-9.png

    Found a new feature called Slab optimisation in windows defrag cmd line tool. This applies for SSDs only!

    For thin clients you can use Slab optimisation for better space efficiency:
    Code:
    defrag /H /U /K C:

    Changelog:
    - Added Slab optimisation for SSDs.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  2. AHMED KARAM

    AHMED KARAM The Strategist

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    Nice tool. Is it make any differences with SSD's?
     
  3. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I don't recommend it but I tried it and difference was minimal since there are no moving parts and if your SSD has less free space then you can try to consolidate free space first and then selectively defrag huge folders if necessary. Best option on SSD will be secure erase and then restoring your OS image and file fragmentation will be minimal.
    You can check before/after SSD performance using Powerdefrag and Free space consolidator. Only issue is extended write cycles.
     
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  4. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    This is a good find and a good post.

    Still doesn't compare to PD though. What PD does in one pass hasn't been done by any other defrag software I've used. And even though I haven't used this software; the name itself states it takes three passes. And PD doesn't take all day to run either.

    For free though? Not too bad.

    But notice how D:\'s files are still fragmented (even more than before the triple pass...)? This is a far cry from what PD delivers.

    While SE'ing brings the performance of an SSD to top performance very quickly on its own, it is not a method to be used lightly. Not only are you destroying a running system to make it marginally better for a few minutes of 'like new' performance, but you are also degrading the nand each time you SE it with the high-level voltage/current needed to do so. Simply reading nand cells degrades an SSD... imagine what electrocuting it does for longevity...

    I'm in my 10th year defragging SSD's (and today, those SSD's number in the thousands...) and haven't had one fail from too much defragging yet. Sure, I usually defrag a system disk after the second Tuesday of the month (MS update day), but my LR and Photoshop cache disks (which I OP by up to 65%...) may be defragged multiple times per day, depending on the jobs I run on any particular system.

    A fragmented file system is just as much of a resource hog on an SSD as on an HDD; believe it or not. What makes defragging an SSD imperative with PD is how sensitive they are to free space fragmentation. A modern O/S can write data to a current HDD (10TB or bigger) faster than it can to some SSD's I've used that had a very lightly fragmented file system but heavily fragmented free space.

    With PD installed, I can run a defrag on the system in question between shoots or during a break/lunch and know it will be ready for peak performance when I get back. Powerdefrag and SE'ing? Not even a consideration when a system is making you $$$ each minute of uptime it gives.
     
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  5. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    That triple pass is simply just a Trademark name, Contig can defrag system files, normal user files and also $mft,$bitmap etc.. in a single pass and align them contiguously.
    That fragment will occur no matter how much you pay for PD pro because I was installing a 40-50GB game along with uninstalling unneeded SW and archived benchmarks from the very same disk. HDD can only take so much load!
    Yes that sudden spike in voltage can destroy a NAND if used frequently.
    One thing I found that sets apart PD and PowerDefrag/Contig is that, I saw that PD wrote more than 10GB of data for 5 mins it was set to run in SSD optimize mode whereas contig wrote only 3GB whilst completion of entire defrag. Maybe PD didn't work correctly since I was using a Trial mode.
    And I did end my post saying "Its not an true alternative PD Pro because it prevents future frags in the first place rather than manually running Power defrag". I didn't want PD Pro users to feel ripped-off on their purchase and they wish why I didn't post this thread earlier.
     
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  6. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    Thanks for the corrections and clarifications.

    To be clear; I don't use the 'auto' features of PD on an SSD based platform or otherwise (I find it slows the responsiveness of the system down too much for my liking). I deliberately turn off this feature of PD because it saps responsiveness of my systems (yeah; I'm very sensitive to small changes). Specifically; I disable Optiwrite in the Global Settings section of PerfectDisk.

    Not only do I not use the 'auto' features; I also do not use the 'SSD Optimize' defrag type on my disks (HDD or SSD's).

    I only use the PerfectDisk SMARTPlacement defrag type (double click on a drive and select SMARTPlacement to configure) with the files arranged as: Rarely, Boot, Occasional, Frequently and Directory whether it is a boot or data drive. I also use the boottime defrag function a couple of times a year, followed by an online SMARTPlacement defrag run.

    The first defrag may move several GB's of data around. But subsequent defrags are significantly faster and move much, much less data around too.

    (Note: I can't seem to upload a screen snip to show this graphically for you. Has this been disabled on these forums now?).

    In my testing of 'continuous defrag' that Optiwrite promises I didn't find it beneficial, nor did it do what I expect PD to do. Rather the opposite in fact; I still needed to do manual defrags and saw slowdowns when Optiwrite was enabled (HDD or SSD's based platforms) and saw performance boosts when I manually ran a defrag and also when I turned PD's Optiwrite off. I believe this is in direct relation to the fact that while file fragmentation is greatly reduced with Optiwrite; free space fragmentation is much worse off with it enabled.

    I don't use hardware/software/features that just promise stuff or simply ticks off certain check boxes. I need to see real results vs. what I was doing before - and if they're better; I'll adapt the 'new' in a blink of an eye...

    PerfectDisk's SMARTPlacement defrags and the occasional boottime defrag runs have been serving me the most responsive systems with the highest uptime vs. any other method I used and/or tried. Including SE'ing. For a couple of decades now (or more...).

    I may have time later today to test PowerDefrag on a system that has been in use for about 5 months now but without PD ever been run on it (it wasn't even installed).

    Since I know what PD would do on such a system; this will be the best test-case for PowerDefrag. If it can achieve what PD has delivered for so long for free; I may have a new defragger.

    Take care.


     
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  7. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I felt their Auto optimise to be intrusive than beneficial in my short run on all 3 laptops.
    Its better to add/store some 30-50GB of archived movies/apps/games and judge how Powerdefrag performs and don't forget to use Microsoft's defrag tool for free space consolidation which is Diskkeeper Pro in disguise. If you run CDM or ATTO the numbers will be high but I want you to test how responsive the subsystem/system is, rather than following benchmark numbers. Random File access should see an improvement.
    Take care.
     
  8. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    Vasudev,

    I finally have some time to follow up here in this thread.

    First off, I did not use the utilities described here on my client's platform. Not going to use a circa 2013 utility/GUI running even older tech on today's modern hardware.

    Secondly; I vaguely remember testing this utility years ago. Maybe even on these forums here. Too lazy to search for it though... I (now) do remember that PD was still king, even back then, of course.

    Thirdly, it is doing 3 passes as stated right on the website you link to.

    "* TripleMode(TM) runs Contig in 3 passes defragmenting any remaining fragmented files
    ** don’t use on USB flash and SSD drives as they are basically immune to the file fragmentation due to almost non-existent access latency. Defragmenting flash devices also decreases their lifetime."

    See how old the ** advice is? As if anyone seriously believes that SSD's are immune to file fragmentation (and the evil twin brother too; free space fragmentation) in 2019. :)

    As development has stopped for well over half a decade at this point on this software; I won't let my client be a guinea pig today. ;)

    What I did do though was install PerfectDisk 14 on my client's computer and proceeded to defrag it after he was using it daily since September 15, 2018. Brought it in for a 'tune-up' on February 15, 2019 (five months to the day).

    Some pertinent stats:
    Windows 10 Pro x64 - v1809 OS Build 17763.316 - 16GB RAM SC - 1TB 960 EVO (33% OP'd) - i5-8250U - 650GB Total usable capacity - 189GB free.
    Office 365, Adobe CC (almost all programs installed), Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017 and various other Suites, programs, and utilities.

    After completing the February 12th MS updates, I installed PD 14 and this is what was reported.

    Drive Performance: 31.5%
    • Fragmented Files: 6,074
    • Excess Fragments: 87,410
    • File Fragmentation: 2%
    Free Space Fragments: 25,822
    • Avg Free Space Frag size: 224KB
    • Largest Free Space chunk: 4.38GB
    • Free Space Fragmentation: 8.1%

    When I first turned on this notebook (before and after the Feb 2019 update's required reboot), the fans would scream for a good 2 to 3 minutes before settling down (and just being left on the Windows desktop, no other programs running). Looking at the stats above, I can see why. Note that with the 960 EVO, 16GB of RAM, Win10Prox64 and an eighth-gen Intel processor, the system was still mostly responsive 'enough' during its little spaz-fest on each bootup. Still, I haven't seen my systems do that (and some with much lower-end hardware).

    My client thought that this was normal. I assured him it's not. ;)

    I set up the SMARTPlacement parameters as indicated in post 6 above. I then ran an online defrag. This brought the Drive Performance to 'only' 99.9%. The system already felt more spritely by an order of magnitude.

    I then did a boot time defrag pass. I made note of the fact that the notebook doesn't 'scream' (like it is being brought back from the dead) when booting up anymore.

    I did a final online defrag with the SMARTPlacement defrag option and the drive stats follow:

    Drive Performance: 100%
    • Fragmented Files: 10
    • Excess Fragments: 46
    • File Fragmentation: 0%
    Free Space Fragments: 136
    • Avg Free Space Frag size: 40KB
    • Largest Free Space chunk: 162.71GB
    • Free Space Fragmentation: 0%

    Some additional notes:
    • Before I installed the February 2019 MS updates, the computer was left on and idle for over 2 hours.
    • After installing the MS updates, the computer was rebooted 3 times and left on/idle for ~3 hours. It took almost 28 minutes to install the updates.
    • PD was installed and the system rebooted before obtaining the stats above.

    The client got their computer back and noted right away how much more responsive it was. I had to point out how quiet it was too. They had already taken that aspect for granted (how soon we forget...).

    While the above PD 'maintenance' was a little over half an hour in total, the next time it is run it will move much less data around and take less than a third of the time. No boot time defrag will be required either.

    Was the computer still usable in such a heavily free space fragmented way? Sure.

    Was it running optimally? Not even close.

    Of course, the notebook is not 68.5% faster than before. But it is easily twice as responsive.

    Now, PDF files jump to the screen. LR reacts in real time to inputs. Even turning off the computer happens in about a tenth of the time (less than ~2 seconds - before over 15 seconds and up to 30 seconds to fully shut off, depending what it was used for).

    The raw 'HP' of the system didn't change.

    But giving the O/S a ~15x boost in file access 'hops' (to less than 2% of its previously fragmented files) sure gave it a shot of adrenaline. Not to mention the write speeds went up dramatically (when the client tried copying off his USB SSD drive) because the free space was all/mostly on contiguous nand cells (free 'blocks' needed) on the notebook's SSD. Most impressive for him was the folder copy of his smaller files (he stated almost 10x faster).

    Maybe in the future, I may test these free tools on one of my older systems (for completeness) before I retire/donate them.

    But there is no doubt for myself or my client the benefits of defragging an SSD in 2019 with the right tools. PerfectDisk gives me 'like new' SSD performance in mere minutes on a live install. It's been doing this for all the SSD's I've owned and for quite a few of my clients' SSD's (those that want the speed they paid for).

    The biggest take away for my client was that the SSD's built-in TRIM and the Windows Defragger's Optimize SSD drive tool were effectively worthless for keeping the performance of his SSD up to snuff.

    Until a file system is created that natively supports nand tech - and one which truly doesn't fragment the files at a system/OS level - defragging is a needed maintenance step of any system in use today if optimum performance and responsiveness are needed or required.

    What we have today is a hybrid mashup of old/new tech that still needs some help to get us closer to the promised/advertised performance of the latest storage subsystems available.
     
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  9. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Powerdefrag is just a GUI or just a front end to use latest Contig v1.8, so its just safe and no development progress doesn't mean it's worthless and doesn't work on newer windows. Windows with SxS works just fine!
    That's partly true though on small boot drives <120GB. If the drive is nearly full, and a user defrags SSD and will notice no benefits at all since OS will force free space check mechanism and TRIM more aggressively.
    I believe a 20% free space for SSD along with Free space consolidator works wonders in system responsiveness like you said.

    That OP amount is amusing 33%, I wonder the client doesn't say Where did my free space go? You might want to hide them. I know users will delete whole partitions and say Where's my data and blame Windows, Hahaa... I OP just 5-10% of the drive. Dual Channel RAM also helps.
    Try Dism++ next time on your client's machine. Maybe Free space will increase by another 10GB because of win update cache and log files.
    I noticed instant responsive system after free space consolidation using MS Defrag tool on my sister's lappie which took long time to boot,respond etc.. I can have my lunch, take a bath, play a game on multiple PCs and then it still is slow as crap whilst compared to my old worn out laptops. Now, its actually usable thanks to free space consolidation and triple pass defrag in WinPE.
    I did free space thing on USB flash drives and noticed heavy improvement on my USB 2.0 drives.
    PD Trial or Powerdefrag doesn't speedup system by 2X but improves System responsiveness by a lot!
    Windows defrag tool scheduler and other maintenance tasks are broken since v1703 and no point in automated checkups. And OOSP disables them as well so they never run.

    I hope you can find some GP PCs in the basement to test Powerdefrag and DiskKeeper Pro! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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