Day of the Dueling Defragmenters

Sunday, March 16th, 2008 at 3:03 pm | 1,858 views | trackback url

I use a lot of VMware images in my day-to-day work (community and otherwise). Snapshotting, adding software, removing software and testing various packages tends to create a VERY fragmented virtual machine.

Since these are basically multi-gigabyte files, thrashing the virtual disk because it gets fragmented, plows performance into the ground, so I tend to try to defragment these volumes as often as I can.

There are 4 basic defragmenting programs; 1 of them built into Windows itself:

  1. Disk Defragmenter (Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter)
  2. Diskeeper Lite (may no longer be available, but you can still get it from here).
  3. Raxco PerfectDisk 2008
  4. O&O Defrag Free (also available via MajorGeeks link)

Each of these has it’s positive and negative points… the only one I’ve tried that actually will “pack” the files into one contiguous amount of space, is the Raxco PerfectDisk product. This is useful if you tend to grow and shrink your VMware volumes, or want to be sure there is no wasted space in the virtual image while you transfer it over a network or to different machines on a LAN.

Diskeeper Lite is the only one I’ve found that BREAKS the Windows default disk defragmenting tool after you uninstall it. Once you install Diskeeper Lite, it registers itself as the default defrag tool (but doesn’t actually ASK you first, grr!).

When you uninstall it, you don’t get the built-in Windows defrag tool back… you get a broken snap-in. It will fail with the following error in a popup dialog:

Snap-In Failed to Initialize: CLSID:{43668E21-2636-11D1-A1CE-0080C88593A5}

Then you’ll see the Disk Defragment snap-in window with the following displayed:

Snap-In Creation Failed. The Snap-in is not created, it may not be installed properly.

To fix this issue, enter the following commands from Start -> Run or from a cmd.exe command shell to re-register the components that Diskeeper Lite broke:

  regsvr32 dfrgsnap.dll
  regsvr32 dfrgui.dll

Lately, O&O Defrag has been causing X to dump on me, dropping me out of vmware and out of X and anything else I had running at the time. Oops!

I’m back to the default Windows defrag tool for now. It isn’t fast, it doesn’t pack files into a contiguous block, but it comes with the OS and it doesn’t crash my GUI or vmware.

Last Modified: Sunday, March 16th, 2008 @ 15:03

One Response to “Day of the Dueling Defragmenters”

  1. Hey man! =:) I’ve not tried it myself, but VMware Workstation does some form of disk defragging too. Have you tried that and does it do any good?

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