The Diskeeper Corporation have been around now since 1981, so you have probably heard of them before. They have produced many different versions of their disk defragmentation software, including previous versions for Windows Home Server.
This review concentrates on the latest version of Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer edition, which was released earlier this year. The review will cover why you need it, some of it’s key features, how to install it and the conclusions.
WHY DO I NEED IT?
You might ask yourself why you would want to buy disk defragmentation software. Well the answer is that you may not want to. What do I mean by that? Well, put simply it is a matter of personal preference. Disk defragmentation software is one of those topics that often gets one of two similar responses – either “I must have it” or “I don’t want or need it”.
Personally I must have it. If you don’t know why you might want it, put simply, as files are stored, moved, deleted, updated and so on, over time they can be potentially stored on different areas of the disk rather than in a single block. This is called disk fragmentation. There could be thousands of parts of files scattered all over the disks on your home server. What this means is that it takes longer to read and write those files than it would do if they were all in the same place. That annoying delay waiting for that Word document to open? Could be disk fragmentation.
This is where disk defragmentation software comes into play. The software examines the disk and all of your files, figures out where the parts of the files physically on your drives are and attempts to move them together to make things run faster and smoother. This is a good thing – just imagine having hundreds of gigabytes of files scattered all over the disk.
So, are you convinced that you might benefit from defragmentation software? If so, one thing that is very important to understand is that no matter what software you use, it MUST be Windows Home Server aware because of the way that Drive Extender works in WHS.
So, what are some of the key features of Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer I hear you ask? Well, even if you didn’t ask I am going to tell you, or at least, I’m going to repeat what Diskeeper say:
InvisiTasking technology —InvisiTasking is the foundation for Diskeeper to eliminate fragmentation in real time without affecting system resources. The InvisiTasking Technology monitors resource use, and makes sure only idle, untapped resources are used when Diskeeper HomeServer 2009 is running. Diskeeper with InvisiTasking never interrupts system productivity and keeps your server running at optimal speeds.
Terabyte Volume Engine 2.0 — Powerful defragmentation for high capacity and high traffic servers with disk volumes containing hundreds of thousands to millions of files.
Real-time defragmentation — automatically handle fragmentation as it occurs, providing maximum speed and performance at all times.
Complete file and free space defragmentation —in the most extreme of conditions—even if your systems have only a one or two percent of free space left available, or a files has millions of fragments, Diskeeper 2009 can restore lost performance and save the applications reliant on those files from major reliability failures.
Frag Shield 2.0 — boosts reliability and availability by automatically preventing crash-inducing fragmentation of critical system files.
Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) Compatibility mode —only Diskeeper 2009’s new VSS-compatible mode affords you the ability to leverage the data protection of VSS and the performance and reliability of automatic defragmentation.
TRY IT FOR FREE:
If you would like to try it for free for 30 days, you can do so by clicking here.
INSTALLATION & CONFIGURATION
To install Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer edition, once you have obtained the program files, perform the following steps on the computer you downloaded them to (this assumes that you have the WHS Connector software installed as well) :
Right-click the WHS tray icon and click on Shared Folders.
Double click the Software folder and copy the Diskeeper HomeServer Edition folder to to it.
The next part of the process may be new to you – you need to actually install the software on your Windows Home Server – and to do that you need to be on the actual WHS desktop itself. To do this you can either use the Remote Desktop Connection software that comes installed with Windows if your WHS is headless (for example an HP MediaSmart server) or you can just log into your WHS if you have a mouse, keyboard and monitor attached (for example if you built one yourself).
Start the Remote Desktop Connection software on your computer – it can be found at Start, Programs, Accessories, Remote Desktop Connection (if you are running Vista) or Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Remote Desktop Connection (if you are running XP).
Type in the name of your Windows Home Server and when prompted type in the Administrator password. This will launch the Remote Desktop Connection and you should then see your WHS desktop once you have closed Internet Explorer – remember to be very careful here!
Double click on the Shared Folders on Server icon and then double click on the Software folder.
You should see the folder you copied earlier – double click it to open it.
Double click Diskeeper2009_HomeServer.exe to start the installation.
Click Next to continue.
Click Next to continue.
Click Next to continue.
Confirm that you accept the licence terms – you did read this, right? 🙂 Then click Next.
Set any preferences that you want – by default they are all selected for you, then yes, click Next!
You can choose to change the installation directory, but you may as well leave it as it is, and click Next.
Click Install to perform the installation.
The installation itself should only take a few moments, in fact, it probably took longer to read these few lines that it will actually take to install.
You are then presented with the various registration options, such as Registering Online. Select the one you want and click Next to continue.
And that is it, so just click on Finish.
All you need to do now is close down the Remote Desktop Connection – and you can do this simply by clicking the X in the top right corner of the screen.
Ok, so when said it was installed, it was sort of true. You still need to do something in the Windows Home Server Console to get it up and running.
You will also notice on any machine that has the Windows Home Server Connector software installed a message bubble appearing advising you that the Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer Console is ready to install.
So, launch the Windows Home Server Console as you would do normally.
Click on the Settings button, then on the Add-ins button.
You must then click on the Available tab in order to install the Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer Console. Just click the Install button to continue.
The installation only takes a few seconds and then you you will be told the Console will now close. Click OK to continue.
You will lose the connection to your Windows Home Server – don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and is supposed to happen. Just log back into the Console as normal.
You will notice that there is now a new tab called Diskeeper.
The first thing you see is a box asking you if you want to check for any product updates – Click OK to check if any exist.
You will see that there is quite a lot of information crammed into the Console view.
Don’t worry if there is too much there for you, you can change what views are displayed.
As you can see, the screen layout is made up of 3 distinct areas.
The Quick Launch Area
The is the area on the left hand side and contains additional groups of options – Getting Started (which provides guides and help information),
Volume Properties (which enables you to choose specific volume options),
Analyse and Defrag Now (which is as it sounds, the facilities to analyse your hard drives and perform defragmentation),
and finally Configure Diskeeper (which includes configuration options, updates and information on Diskeeper).
You can close this area if you wish as the main options are available as icons to choose above the three areas.
The Computer Area
This area contains the breakdown of your disks – including their size, free space, and the type of defragmentation that is currently configured.
From here you can select a drive, analyse it and perform a defragmentation pass, and even look at the properties of a drive.
As you can see from the analysis of one of my drives, whilst there is very little fragmentation, performance could certainly be improved.
however on another of my drives the story is quite different.
If you decide to perform a manual defragmentation, depending on the size of the selected volume, the amount of free disk space (as long as you have at least 1% free Diskeeper will do its magic) and the amount of file fragmentation, this process can take a while.
You can watch the process in real-time, which will quickly lose it’s appear after about a minute. If you are defragging a large drive, such as the one I am doing in this example, the usual volume map is replaced by a simple list in order to reduce CPU load, which I think is a great idea.
You can continue to use your home server while this is happening, but the more you use the files on that volume, the longer it will take to perform the pass.
After it has completed you can view a report and make sure that you are happy with the results.
The Volume Area
This contains the logs, history and dashboard, which enables you to view and edit the automatic defragmentation schedule.
So, in conclusion, Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer edition is a very easy to use product that once you have installed and configured to your personal preferences (if you choose) can be left to run in the background and forgotten about. Personally I think the installation is a little complicated for the average user, although not overly so, and if people follow the installation instructions, or the walk-through in this review, they will be fine. It would be nice in the future if Diskeeper could do something to remove the need to remote desktop to the Windows Home Server itself though. I also liked that there was a lot of configuration that could be performed, if I wanted, or I could just leave it with the default settings and it would work perfectly fine.
Again, if you think back to the start of the article, I mentioned that there are two camps when it comes to defragmentation software. I am still convinced that defrag is a necessity on any computer. I didn’t notice any performance hit from running Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer edition, even when I performed the initial analysis and defragmentation.
Given the fact you can try it for free for 30 days, why not give it a go and see what it can do for you? And if you want to buy it, the cost is $69.95.
For more information on Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer edition, and the other Diskeeper editions, click here.
WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE COPY?
So, would you like a free, fully licensed copy of Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer Edition? Continuing our tradition of giving away cool stuff, our friends at Diskeeper have given us 5 full licences of Diskeeper 2009 HomeServer to give away to you lucky readers.
To win a copy, all you need to do is send an email to giveaways @ usingwhs.com (remembering to remove the spaces) with the title Diskeeper 2009 Giveaway, and tell us your name and where you are located, and a suggestion to improve UsingWindowsHomeServer.com or an article you would like to see by Friday 1st May 2009. Winners will be picked at random and announced on the site on Saturday 2nd May. Good luck!