We spent over 40 hours researching and testing the best disk defragmenter software. The best choice is PerfectDisk Pro. This professional disk defragmenter offers tools for defragmenting your HDD or SSD devices, as well as optimizing overall performance. From the program’s dashboard, you can monitor day-to-day performance and watch over the scanning and hard drive defragmentation process. The monitoring function will alert you if there is an issue. You can also set up a customizable schedule if you plan to run the software regularly, whether it’s at night while you sleep or while you use your computer with the resource-throttling option turned on. There’s also the option to run the app each time your computer starts.

Best Disk Defrag Software Overall

Best Disk Defrag Software Overall: PerfectDisk Pro

Besides being able to perform thorough disk defragmentation, PerfectDisk Pro comes with an artillery of powerful tools that can optimize your hard drive and even monitor your computer’s overall performance. Flexible scheduling options let it run while you sleep, or even while you work, with its resource-throttling option. And although it’s only compatible with recent versions of Windows OS and Server, not Mac OS X, it’s well-equipped for defragmenting and monitoring both HDDs and SSDs.

Best Value Disk Defrag Software

Best Value Disk Defrag Software: Norton Utilities

Norton Utilities does more than defragment your hard drive; it can also perform additional tasks, like monitoring your computer’s overall performance, clearing out old registries, recovering lost files, repairing damaged files and deleting your browsing history. The program is rich with customizable options, and functions that can automate a good portion of maintenance on your machine. There’s also a built-in startup optimization process. From the software’s dashboard, you can set up a schedule for it to run at regular intervals and optimize your computer’s performance.

Best Disk Defrag Software for Optimization

Best Disk Defrag Software for Optimization: Puran Defrag

Unlike most other defragmenters, Puran Defrag comes as a single utility within a larger application suite; you can download the entire suite, or just the disk defragmenter software onto your computer. With its extensive customizable scheduling function, you can run the software automatically whenever you need, whether its nightly or every time you boot up your machine. You can also run Puran in the background while you use your computer, and it’ll only work with any resources you aren’t currently using. It can analyze multiple drives simultaneously, and you can tell it to shut down your computer once it’s done running.

Disk Defragmenter Software: What to Look For

Ease of Use
Most disk defrag programs produce comparable results if you run them using the default settings. If you want to run advanced diagnostics or prefer to see more detailed information, many professional defragmentation applications offer informative dashboards and one-step access to your most critical functions.

Scheduling Features
Most professional disk defragmenters allow you to schedule specific times, including at night, to scan your computer. After all, who wants to wait through an hours-long process when you could sleep through the whole thing instead?

Driver & Registry Scans
Professional applications do more than defragment your computer. They also check driver and registry settings. Often, professional disk defrag programs bundle driver and registry checks along with the software in one tidy package. An application with these functions helps ensure that your system runs efficiently.

Archival Features
Many defragmenters offer archiving. This feature works like a hyper-intelligent housekeeper, noting which items you regularly use and those you don’t. Then, during defragmentation, it groups and stores the older data in a specific location. Not all of the programs in our comparison offer this, but it can make a substantial difference in your computer’s storage space and speed.

Software Size
When it comes to computer optimization software, smaller is usually better. Generally, these programs don’t take up much space, unless you opt for a bunch of extras. Look for programs that require less than 1 percent of the free space on your hard drive to function.

When you check the file size of defragmenting applications, you may notice a few numbers listed. Most developers list the size of the downloaded file and the amount of RAM and hard disk space needed to successfully install the application. You may also see a figure that indicates how much available room you’ll need to run the application.

Scheduling
Few people perform system maintenance on their computer as frequently as they should. If you use your computer regularly or if you save, install or remove data, you need to regularly defrag your hard drive. Scheduling a regular day and time to run the software is a simple way to keep your computer running at peak efficiency. The defragmenting process can take several hours, so you may want to run it overnight so it’s not competing against you. Some programs provide an additional option that runs it whenever you start your PC.

When Is Hard Drive Defragmentation Necessary?

Because defragmentation is primarily preventative, you shouldn’t wait until there are serious issues before you defragment your computer. Scheduled defrags keep your computer’s storage system organized and running optimally at all times. Here are some common scenarios in which you may find that it’s time to defragment your machine:

Slow Performance
Have you noticed your computer is running more slowly than when you bought it? Computer speeds slow over time, and disk fragmentation plays a major part in this decline. Traditional hard drives use actuator arms to locate information on spinning disks, and the process works best when all of your information is stored together. Fragmentation separates data so your hard drive takes longer to collect the information it needs. If you experience delays opening a file, launching a new application or booting up your computer, you may need to defragment your computer’s hard drive.

After Major OS Updates
Your operating system includes a complex array of folders and files. It’s common after a major OS update to notice a decrease in your computer’s performance, so when you upgrade to a newer version, remember that it’s an appropriate time to defrag your hard drive because your computer’s file system may have changed significantly.

How Does a Disk Defragmenter Work?

Disk fragmentation occurs at different rates, depending on how often you install programs and save files on your computer. In short, disk defrag software reorganizes your files for quicker access. A fragmented drive runs more slowly than one where the files are properly organized, and the slower speeds affect nearly everything you do on your computer.

Your computer’s efficiency hinges on your answers to the following questions:

  • What kind of drive do you use?
  • How large is said drive?
  • How much data is stored on your computer?
  • When is the last time – if ever – you defragmented your computer?
  • How frequently have you deleted files since your last defrag, if applicable?
  • How much new data have you saved since your last defrag, if applicable?

As you store information on your computer, newly saved data slides into separate parts of the hard disk, often far away from the original file. Over time, fragmentation slows your computer to a crawl. In most cases, it only takes a few hours to fix this issue. You just need to reorganize your data. This process is too complex to perform manually. Defragmenters simplify and automate this process, thus keeping your machine running optimally.