Technically you don’t have to defrag your disk if you are using Mac. This is because the Mac operating system is “intelligent” and can run without de-fragmentation or it does it in the background, I can never remember which. The problem with this thinking is that you can defrag your disk and it does help. This is where iDefrag comes in.
From what I have read the HFS file system which you computer uses works by putting files all over the disk. Although it does tend to group them close together for quick access time there is a lot of space at the beginning and the end of the disk so you can expand the file size quickly and easily without a lot of fragmentation. This works really well on a large disk with lots of space, hence the you don’t need to defrag theory. Normally FAT and NTFS groups files back to back, so if you change a file size you have the file all over the shop.
HFS does expereince file fragmentation, this is usually found when a disk is getting full and you are running out space. The small bits of space between each file soon adds up and you end up with files with massive fragmentation. This is where a defragger comes in to shrink that space and get your files more organised.
iDefrag is built up of two parts. The general interface which is shown below and the defrag interface which is used during boot. To properly defrag your disk you need to run the program when the Mac OS isn’t running. This is done through a startup disk, full instructions come with the program.
The general interface, which is going to be used for the review of this program, is simple and easy to use. When you start the program and select a disk the program will run through every file and block on that disk and display it in the programs window. You can then physically see where files are located and the amount of fragmentation. It will give you an estimate to the amount of fragmentation which has occurred.
The final step is to then defrag your disk, you can run the start up disk defragger or the one built into the program. Both seem to do a good job of defragging your disk. You can never really tell how well it has done, although my computer does load some big files quicker.
The app has got a lot of information and looks very pretty. For example there is an info pane which shows you the exact file name and its size, location and other factors. There is also a key which explains the colour of the blocks.
The only problem with this program is that it is slow to compile the image showing the files and blocks on your disk. It seems to take a very long time to run and complete. As well as this it also doesn’t remember the layout. If you accidentally click on another disk, it has to run through the whole disk before you can really use the program.
Overall this program is good. It is at decent price point of £20. It would be more cost effective for people who have many disks and want them all running at full speed. The program also sports various “features” such as “Hot Zones” although these seem to be more of selling point, since they are built into the program and you can’t access the settings.