[Windows] Best free disk defrag program — Auslogics vs IObit vs Defraggler vs Puran vs MyDefrag

As time goes on the files on your hard drive become more and more fragmented. As you manipulate files, they become scattered over different locations on your hard drive and eventually – if allowed – your computer will slow down significantly since it would have to search multiple locations in order to open individual files if severe fragmentation takes place.

Using any of the disk defragmentation tools here today, will reverse this process, increasing file access times and ultimately making your computer run better. Please note that SSDs should not be defragmented due to them only being able to be written to/ read from a limited amount of times – defragmenting will result in several read write/cycles potentially reducing the life of your SSD. This type of disk requires special treatment.

With that background information covered, let’s get on to our review. Here is dotTech’s selection for the best free disk defragmentation tools available for Windows.

[Note: We know Windows has a built-in defragger but there is a reason there are so many third-party defraggers out there — they offer more functionality, such as speed or more features. This article doesn't include Windows’ built-in defragger for two reasons. First of all, the defragger varies from Windows version to version, which makes it incredibly hard to review. Secondly, our intention from the start was to look at third-party defraggers.]

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs by clicking here.

Table of Contents

Best Free Disk Defragmentation Tool

Puran Defrag ScreenshotProgram Name: Puran Defrag

Developer: Puran Software

Download Size: 3.32MB

Version Reviewed: v7.6.0.0

Supported OS: Microsoft Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Pros

  • Puran intelligent optimizer
  • Automatic disk defragmentation option
  • Boot time defragmentation
  • Low priority defrag option allowing you to work while defragmenting
  • Individual file/folder defragmentation
  • GUI or console command line use
  • Selected files/folders can be excluded from being defragmented

Cons

  • Watch out for bundled crapware during installation

Discussion

Puran is a multi-featured defragmentation tool with several powerful features.

Puran’s operating windows is divided into tabs. The main ones being Main, Additional Operations and Automatic Defragmentation. Within the Main tab, users can choose to Analyze in order to determine how fragmented a disk is and from there choose Defrag in order to reverse fragmentation. Users can also choose to carry out the following under Boot Time Defrag:

  • Restart-Defrag-Restart
  • Restart-Defrag-Shutdown
  • Restart-Defrag-Restart + Disk Check
  • Restart-Defrag-Shutdown + Disk Check
  • Restart-Defrag-Restart + Full Disk Check
  • Restart-Defrag-Shutdown + Full Disk Check

The next tab is the Advanced Operations tab. The options under this tab are as follows:

  • Fill Gaps To Avoid Frequent Fragmentation
  • Optimize Directories For Faster System Access
  • Free Some Space For Windows Temporary Files on Faster Disk Area
  • Boost Overall System Speed By Puran Intelligent Optimizer
  • Exclude Files within a specified size range
  • Exclude a user specified list of files
  • Enable/Disable individual file/folder defragmentation
  • Delete Files in a user specified list

The Automatic Defragmentation tab simply allows for users to specify a defragmentation schedule and users can choose to neglect this schedule if their computer is a laptop and ever happens to be running on battery power during the scheduled defragmentation time.

Below is a chart showing what the colors in Puran’s cluster map represent:

Puran cluster_1

Puran also intelligently optimizes files as well as allows for powerful command line operations.

My only gripe with Puran is that I had to avoid downloading crapware during installation.

Puran is both easy to use and powerful – always an ideal combination. It is an excellent defragmentation tool and quite deserving of the title of Best Free Defragmentation Tool for Windows.

Runner Up

IObit Smart Defrag ScreenshotProgram Name: IObit Smart Defrag

Developer: IObit

Download Size: 5.7MB

Version Reviewed: 2.8

Supported OS: Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/8

Discussion

While IObit Smart Defrag is a powerful defragmentation tool it is still quite an easy to use program. A few clicks and you are on your way to faster file access!

To get started with this utility, you simply need to select the drive/partition you wish to defrag and hit either Defrag or Analyze. It is recommended that you being by selecting analyse in order to assess the level of defragmentation of the drive or partition in question. IObit uses a colored block scheme( cluster map ) to display how fragmented a drive is. The following represents the meaning of the color of a block in Smart Defrag’s displayed cluster map:

Puran cluster

  • Grey – free space
  • Blue – rarely used
  • Purple – directories
  • Orange – Master File Table
  • Black – unmovable
  • Red – fragmented
  • Cyan – moving

Basically, if you see plenty of red blocks, you need to defragment your drive!

After carrying out your analysis – if it was needed – you are ready for the defragment option. IObit has 3 different defragmentation options:

  • Defrag only
  • Defrag and fast optimize
  • Defrag and fully optimize

Defrag only, simply – you guessed it – defragments your files, grouping together file fragments which should have been together. The optimize options streamline your file system and enables your computer to run faster by placing frequently used files and folders in the ‘fastest’ area of the disk. Please note that the Defrag and fully optimize option is more thorough than the Defrag and fast optimize option.

One of the more intriguing features of IObit is that it allows you to add a single file or folder to be analysed or defragmented just like you would an entire disk or partition. This feature could come in quite handy as you may be interested only in an individual file or folder. IObit also allows for the scheduling of defragmentation runs which is always useful. Another advanced feature is the ‘Boot Time Defrag’ option. This option allows for the defragmentation of files and areas of your hard drive which are simply not plausible to be defragmented after your computer has booted up. You can choose to defragment the page file and hibernation file as well as to defragment your hard drive’s master file table. IObit defrag gives detailed reports of all activities which are carried out.

IObit Smart Defrag is an excellent defragmentation tool and it does its job rather quickly. I do however have one gripe with the utility. Firstly, I dislike the fact that ads are displayed within the program. Additionally, I had to be careful to not install unwanted software during the program’s installation.

Neglecting those issues, IObit Smart Defrag is highly recommended and I urge you to give it a try. It only lost out to Puran Utillities due to Puran having more boot time defrag options.

Honorable Mention 1

My Defrag ScreenshotProgram Name: MyDefrag

Developer: Jeroen Kessels

Download Size: 2MB

Version Reviewed: v4.3.1

Supported OS: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 2008, Win7

Discussion

MyDefrag is quite a powerful program. It is very thorough when carrying out defragmentation but with this comes slower defragmentation times.

This powerhouse is operated through a simple GUI which explains displays the scripts which the program runs along with an explanation of what each one does. MyDefrag offers the following defragmentation options:

  • Anayze only
  • Consolidate Free Space
  • Data Disk Daily
  • Data Disk Monthly
  • Data Disk Weekly
  • Defragment Only
  • Flash Memory Disks
  • System Disk Daily
  • System Disk Monthly
  • System Disk Monthly

The Analyze only option simply scans selected disks and gives the user feedback in order to let them know the state of defragmentation of their disks. Consolidate Free Space comes in handy with very full disks. It is capable of creating space which allows large files to be shifted around. It forces everything to the start of the disk, beginning with files located at the disk’s ending and it fragments fills efficiently so that gaps are precisely filled.

Data Disk Daily is designed for everyday used and quickly defragments and optimizes selected data disks. It moves only smaller files but leaves larger files and does not attempt to fill all gaps on the disk(s) in question. This option or script places the master file table and directories at the beginning of the disk. These are then followed by a gap. MyDefrag proceeds by then defragmenting all files and quickly fills all remaining gaps.

Data Disk Monthly is designed for occasional use with data disks – around once a month. This option is much more thorough than Data Disk Daily and subsequently takes a longer time to finish.

In terms of thoroughness, Data Disk Weekly lies in between the daily and monthly options. The Defragment Only option simply carries out defragmentation with no optimization or fancy moving around of files or master file tables.

MyDefrag also provides a special option for the defragmentation and consolidation of free space on flash memory and solid state drives. It is designed so as to move around as little data as possible since as you know flash memory has a limited number of read-write cycles. Please note that the System Disk options are identical to the Data Disk options except for the fact that the former are meant for system disks while the latter are meant for data disks.

That is literally all there is to the program, but this program also allows for powerful command line operations.

MyDefrag is a powerful program and will effectively carry out all defragmentation tasks. It is however considered to be, relatively slow – when compared to the other offerings – but this can be attributed to increased thoroughness. In addition, if you choose to utilize the simpler GUI, some of the language utilized to described options/scripts can be confusing. Another issue I have with the program however, is that it offers no option for pre-boot defragmentation.

Although MyDefrag can be considered slow, when it finishes you will be sure to have a drive which is well defragmented, optimized and has consolidated free space. Your computer will thank you for it.

Honorable Mention 2

Auslogics Disk Defrag ScreenshotProgram Name: Auslogics Disk Defrag

Developer: Auslogics

Download Size: 2.9MB

Version Reviewed: v3.6.1.0

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Discussion

Auslogics offers users several features which are aimed at getting your computer back up to speed or simply keeping it there.

As expected of a defragmentation utility users have the option of analysing any drive which they are contemplating carrying out a defragmentation on. Users also have the option of carrying out a ‘quick defrag’ which neglects the analysing process. You can also carry out a ‘regular’ defrag as well as a ‘defrag & optimize’. This option – in addition to defragmenting files – places frequently used files in the ‘fast disk access zone’, subsequently speeding up access times to these files. This feature is also offered in IObit. Individual files and folder can also be defragmented as can be done with most of our other offerings reviewed here today. The diagram below illustrates the meaning of the blocks in the cluster map which Auslogics displays:

Auslogics cluster1) Free space
2) Allocated
3) Master File Table
4) Unmovable Files
5) Processing
6) Fragmented
7) Defragmented

(The numbers represent the position of the blocks in the diagram, starting from the left.)

Auslogics gives users the option to schedule their defragmentations as well as the option to delete temporary files before defragmenting in order to speed up process. In addition, the option to skip file fragments which are bigger than 10MB is offered as well as the ability to allow for frequently accessed system files to be moved to the beginning( faster ) part of the disk drive in order to speed up disk access. Please note that doing the latter will increase the defragmentation time. Users can also choose to exclude certain files from being defragmented. Users of Auslogics can execute a check of a selected disk as well as correct any errors which are found by carrying out a CHKDSK, which can be activated directly from the advanced menu within the Action drop down menu. Finally – this is always an asset – Auslogics is available in a portable version.

Although this is a great program, I do have a couple of issues with it. Firstly, it gives users the impression that certain features are offered such as within the system health tab where the registry is scanned for errors and the computer is scanned for junk files. The program does not actually offer any assistance in rectifying any of the purported issues. Two other examples of this are the optimize your computer’and protect your computer against viruses options which are listed under Advanced in the menu bar. In all of these cases the user is simply directed to the Auslogics page where they have the option of downloading additional software to carry out the proposed task. My next issue is that there is no pre-boot defragmentation option, while this is offered in some of our other offerings reviewed here today. This slightly hampers the functionality of the program.

Despite these issues, Auslogics is still quite capable and will satisfy your defragmentation needs for the most part.

Honorable Mention 3

Defraggler ScreenshotProgram Name: Defraggler

Developer: Piriform

Download Size: 3.66MB

Version Reviewed: 2.14.706

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Discussion

Like IObit, Defraggler is quite easy to use while still offering advanced features.

Defraggler offers both a quick defrag as well as a ‘regular’ defrag option. Of course the latter is more thorough but takes a longer time to complete. As expected, there is also an analyse option which lets you know if you need to even carry out a defragmentation. Individual files and folders can also be defragmented and the program even allows for the defragmentation of free space. There is also the option for carrying out a defragmentation operation before the computer boots up in order to complete operations which would be potentially dangerous after the computer has booted. Below is a screenshot showing what the clusters mean in the cluster map which the Defraggler displays:

defraggler cluster

Defraggler is also capable of displaying detailed information about the health of a drive such as its temperature as well as a general rating such as ‘good’ of the overall health of the drive in question. Additionally you can carry out a search for files of a certain size and from there defragment a selection or all of these files. Defraggler also displays a file list of fragmented files which can individually be selected for defragmentation. Users have access to error checking functionality and can check any drive attached to their computer for errors. A schedule can also be created for carrying out defragmentations at your convenience.

In addition to its other splendid features, Defraggler provides an option which allows for the movement of large files to end of drive during a whole drive defrag. With this option, users can select the minimum file size as well as the type of large file to be moved. It can also be specified for large files not to be moved during the defragmentation of free space. Also the quick defrag option can be customized where the fragment size to be defragment can be selected as well as the number of fragments per file. The type of file to be defragmented can even be further specified by inputting larger than and smaller than parameters. Certain files can also be selected by the user to be excluded from defragmentation.

Defraggler has many features designed to help your computer run faster as you can see and is a brilliant program. However, it does not have the optimization options found in IObit Smart Defrag.

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43 comments

  1. melen001

    Hi….
    Been awhile since the last time here (September 2013) & just wanted to update MyDefrag experience. After using O&O Defrag Free for so long i decided to use MyDefrag and have been for a couple of months with excellent boot speed. I have used all the tools mentioned in this review and the only one to substantially reduce my boot time is MyDfrag. Others like IObit, Defraggler and Auslogics actually added time to my boot. I compared my time using Wins 7 default defrag so that it would be fair when comparing. Boot time after Wins 7 defrag was 53 seconds while after defragging with MyDfrag was 38, that’s a 15 seconds difference which is significant. Puran gave me 46 seconds which is second best. Did this test with all the mentioned defrag tools and only MyDfrag and Puran lowered my boot time while others failed. The only reason to defrag your hard drive is acquirer better performance and speed so that being said, i will keep using MyDefrag. MyDefrag is slower than others when defragging but it will optimize your hard drive and that is the whole purpose. Why use a fast defrag tool or one with a nice GI and many features and options when it won’t better your performance? I will stick with MyDefrag, it gives me better results than the rest. Simple but effective….

    MyDefrag download >>>>> http://www.mydefrag.com/

  2. BearPup

    [@Frank] For articles on dotTech (this website) there are usually links within the article that will take you to the free download or website. For more general approaches, check out sites like CNET.com and Softpedia.com and do a search on whatever software you’re looking for, and then specify freeware or free licenses to narrow the search results.

  3. Colin

    Surprised to see any IObit related software listed as JRT (Junkware removal tool) normally removes it!
    I’m not sure if IObit Smart Defrag is included in this removal but I know from experience that IObit software in general can cause more problems than it fixes.
    I agree that Piriform has consistently produced spyware free products that do a reasonable job, so can recommend this one. IMHO anyway! :)

  4. melen001

    [@melen001]

    Hello friend…

    Came back to let you know that I hope I explained myself clearly and if I said anything that might sound kind of funny or weird it’s because English is my second language. Thank God for “spell check”…… Bye for now….. George

  5. melen001

    [@BearPup]

    Thanks for a quick reply. Looks like we have nothing to do ,only joking……. I can see that you have quit a PC set up. Mines is much more of a “home PC set-up” nothing fancy. I’ve stayed with O&O because of the time it has reduced my boot time. O&O also places the most used files at the fastest part of the HD just like Auslogics Disk Defrag free edition and I did use it for quite a while until I discovered O&O. As soon as I noticed the difference in my boot time a have stayed with it. Isn’t that why we defrag, to speed up “file search”, right? Concerning the ” constantly “on” (for background ops to take place) I was constantly getting pop-up messages that this was finished, and then the next was about to start, etc. .” issue you where experimenting you can always use the “Hibernation Mode” which will shut it off. You can find it in “Icons Notification Area” and just right click and you can see it. I use it because I don’t use any back ground features. I never had that problem because I disabled the “back ground feature” to optimize while in “screen saver mode”, when I originally installed O&O that feature is on by default so maybe that’s why you had that issue. Any ways, thanks for the info and hope to hear from you soon.

  6. BearPup

    [@melen001] I use Auslogics Disk Defrag free edition. It is exceedingly fast, and allows for ‘regular’ defrags as well as an optimization routine that places the most used files at the front of the drive. It also works on 64 Bit operating systems (some programs don’t).

    As for O&O software, I used to use the paid version of their disk defrag software, but found it too intrusive, and as it was constantly “on” (for background ops to take place) I was constantly getting pop-up messages that this was finished, and then the next was about to start, etc. . I have this strange outlook that “in the background” means just and only that, not nagging me with everything its about to do or finished with or about to do the next… . It was too much of a pain to deal with on a daily basis.

    Contrary to that experience, O&O’s Clever Cache software is excellent, and I’ve used it for a couple of years now. It sits quietly in the background optimizing the CPU cache; no messages, no pop-ups, just working away in the background.

    My system’s specs: AMD Quad Core Phenom II operating at 3 GHz; 8 GB RAM DDR3-2700; 16 GB Flash Drive configured as ReadyBoost; 1 500 GB HDD (Data Drive) and 1 320 GB HDD (Boot Drive); AMD Radeon 5570 graphics card with 1 GB memory, hooked up to an LG IPS monitor; HP 3056A USB printer. OS is Win 7, SP1

  7. melen001

    [@BearPup]

    Hi BEARPUP….

    You are right about Automatic Background Optimization in the free version, it’s not included. Sorry about that. I am not into that kind of feature and the tools that have it I just don’t use it so maybe that’s why I didn’t mention it. Any ways, I still consider O&O Defrag Free Edition to be an excellent piece of software especially for reducing my boot time; between 5 to 7 seconds which is great.This is my PC set-up… Toshiba P845-S4200, Wins 7-64 SP1, Intel CORE i5, DDR3-1600, HD 750 GB, just in case you were wondering. I assume that you either use O&O Defrag Free or have in the past. What has been your experience and what defrags have you used? Thanks for your comment and have a good day…….

  8. melen001

    Hi Dottech friends,

    I have used all the mentioned defrags except for Piriform’s Defraggler and they all are actually pretty good. One might have one or more options but I have to stick with O&O Defrag Free Edition, why? Here is a review posted on MajorGeeks, I can’t say any it better: …O&O Defrag activates the hidden performance of your computer and packs file fragments efficiently and securely together. O&O Defrag gives you everything from fully automated defragmentation to a professional set up: everything a good defragmentation software should give you.

    O&O Defrag includes a clever scheduling function, which allows you to schedule regular automated defragmentations if you wish. In addition, the permanent and automatic optimization in the background is key to prevent a loss in performance of your computer as well as a renewed fragmentation. This will allow you to save time compared to running a manual defragmentation.

    With O&O Defrag Free Edition you’ll be able to easily clean your drives and keep them free of clutter for top-notch performance!

    Features:

    MultiCore-Optimization
    2 Defragmentation methods
    Quick configuration for beginners
    Use three Zones”

    I have experienced a much faster boot time since using O&O Defrag Free Edition which translate to 6 seconds in lowering my boot time. Isn’t that why we defragment our HD’s? Maybe you should have a review on this tool and try it out.
    I am quite pleased and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a tool that can speed up your boot.

    https://www.oo-software.com/free

    Almost forgot to mention, no nagging ads what so ever and they also have a 30 day trial if you like to use the full professional version so give it a try.
    Thanks and please let me know what you think. Have a good day, George.

  9. RealBull

    [@Kapindaman]
    I’m pretty sure the PerfectDisk 11 has a 1-year license because I installed it on my laptop with Vista OS and then one day I wanted to defrag the HD, but the 1-year license expired. I then installed it on my new laptop with Win7, so I have until January.
    Despite the outcome of this article (but I do respect the Ashraf decisions) I would recommend MyDefrag or Contig with PowerDefragmenter GUI. Over the years, I’ve tried many of the 3rd Party defrags and I’ve come to the conclusion that probably because MyDefrag and Contig are built on the Windows API system, they are the most efficient and probably safest ones to use…and fastest! If you try and compare all of the defrag programs, you will come to understand this. I think the worst popular defragger is Piriform’s Defraggler. Although it received and Honrable Mention on this article, it is by far the slowest and inefficient popular defragger I’ve ever used. Even the built-in Windows defragger is better. If you use XP, the built-in defragger has a size limit which I have forgotten (maybe 1 gig?). It only defrags small files which is probably the reason we have so many 3rd party defraggers. But I’m not sure about the built-in defraggers on Vista, 7 and 8. Maybe they are better, but still lack the options that 3rd-party defraggers have.

  10. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    [@michel] So do you also use Internet Explorer, Paint, Notepad/Wordpad? I’m not raging on those programs — they do have their uses; however, my point is just because it is a native feature of Windows doesn’t necessarily make it the best.

    I know Windows has a built-in defragger but there is a reason there are so many third-party defraggers out there — they offer more functionality, such as speed or more features. This article didn’t include Windows’ built-in defragger for two reasons. First of all, the defragger varies from Windows version to version, which makes it incredibly hard to review. Secondly, our intention from the start was to look at third-party defraggers.

    That said, however, you do make a point — we could have potentially included it. Thanks for the feedback; will consider it in an update to this review.

  11. michel

    [@JT] To a certain extent, that will be a matter of opinion. Windows built-in defrag comes pre-installed and configured, so it requires nothing of the user at all. No downloading or configuring, no updating, nothing. Does it defrag as well as others? That depends on whether you’re geeky enough to care about statistics, or satisfied with whether as a user you can tell the difference or not. For me, having used many recommend tools for years, I have discovered that leaving Windows alone to do the work it was designed for results in a faster, more stable computer. And it leaves me more time for using my computer, rather than maintaining it.

  12. Stinky Tinker

    EVERYONE IS FORGETTING THE POINT WITH WINDOWS 8 MY PEEPS….

    Windows 8 “takes care of itself” folks! Mine comes up with a red flag in the “Solve PC issues” icon down in the lower right. You click on the “message” and it says “need to run system maintenance”, and guess what that includes? YEP, Windows 8 own defragger! No need for all these other “want to be” programs….
    with Win8

  13. Godel

    I use Auslogics, currently the Pro version, but I have used the free version before.

    Is defragging necessary on Windows 7 and 8? I hear that their internal defrag routines are pretty good.

    Also, I guess we all know not to defrag SSDs, although Auslogics Pro has some sort of SSD aware option. Heaven knows what that’s supposed to do.

  14. RealBull

    I know that some people have and will again list Piriform’s Defraggler, but personally I think it is overrated. Maybe it is OK for small or quick defragging, but for thorough defragging on an entire hard disk, it has never been very good for me.

  15. Corno

    In the past I have used Defragler, Puran, and also Auslogics, but in truth I cannot tell which one is best (or worst, for that matter). In all the years I have used computers now I have never seen a convincing compatative test.

  16. William W Gorman Jr

    I also vote for My Defrag. Please note: This program uses an entirely different algorithm than most Windows Defrag programs so if you used one prior to My Defrag the first run will take about 4 times as long as usual. The same will also happen if you use a “standard Windows Defrag” program after My Defrag.

  17. BearPup

    I use Auslogics exclusively, and recommend it to others during tech support work. It’s very fast, is safe to use, and its two-prong approach (regular defrag and optimization routines) is a boon to effective and efficient defragging. It also plays very nicely with 64-Bit versions which is a must-have feature.

  18. JonE

    I love these “best series” as I just don’t have the time to do the research I once did. And so, before the results are tallied and in I guess I will try “MyDefrag” as it seems high on many lists.

    I’ve been using the commercial version of Perfect Disk for many years.

    But, when I just don’t have the time to mess with it and I want it done quickly I use “Auslogics”.

  19. Sputnik

    MyDefrag

    For the mensual big defragmentation of the system and data partitions and also for the visual analysis of the fragmentation of the partitions : this visual analysis is the best on the market because it shows what is nearest to the real state of things…

    Puran Defrag

    For the automatic defragmentation at the boot and also on a regular basis.

    I have tried other defragmentation softwares, but the MyDefrag analysis have always shown to me that the defragmentation of MyDefrag and Puran Defrag are really the best one…

  20. Fundi

    I used PerfectDisk until a month ago, when my registration expired and I decided to opt for a free program for a change. I liked IObit, but found it visually difficult to read. I’ve been using Auslogics for a couple of weeks now, with no problems.

  21. RealBull

    My picks for best defrags are:
    1) MyDefrag
    2) Puran Defrag
    3) PerfectDisk Free
    4) Auslogics

    Recently I’ve been using PerfectDisk 11 Pro from a Promo, but once the 1 year subscription ends, I will use MyDefrag. For me it does the best job and is easy to use. Also I’m relieved that is is built on Windows API and has native 64-bit support.
    Puran Defrag does agreat job with ice options available. 64-bit native support.
    PerfectDisk Free is one of the best commercial Defrags and does a great defrag job, but the free version has many missing options.
    I put Auslogics high on my list before, but without 64-bit native support I had to put it on the bottom, but it is not to say that it is bad. It’s one of the best.