Do you defrag your hard drive? If not, you should and you must understand the importance before you read on. There are some excellent articles on MakeUseOf which discuss defragmenting, but perhaps the best and most recent article is 3 Excellent Defrag Utilities & Why You Still Need to Defragment In 2012 by Tina. IObit Smart Defrag wasn’t included in the “3 excellent defrag utilities” in her article, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent.
Whether you are in need of some defragmenting software or are looking for an alternative, Smart Defrag, is an fantastic option – so fantastic that we’ve included it on the Best Of Windows Software page.
Installing IObit Smart Defrag
As with any good software, Smart Defrag installs relatively quickly and easily. However, there are a couple windows you should make note of during the installation. Towards the beginning of the installation you are prompted to install a toolbar – don’t… unless you have a unexplainable love for them. I simply see no need for them, ever.
The second “do not install this” window is IObit’s very own Advanced SystemCare Ultimate. This isn’t pointless like the toolbar and is great software, as we’ve actually reviewed it here at MakeUseOf. It’s just that this is likely a trial and instead, you’d probably rather get it for free… right? Which is why we’re giving it away instead. You can get it by going to the MakeUseOf Rewards page, clicking the Windows tab and scrolling down until you find “IObit Advanced SystemCare 6 Pro.”
Note: These windows and the software in them are subject to change at any time.
The key is to always be on the lookout for additional software that may be offered (but not required) to add to your computer during the installation. It’s important to understand that additional software offered during the installation and setup of a program, doesn’t make the said program malicious. It just makes it free. That said, you should always be careful what you download and install.
For more information, there is a MakeUseOf article on how to avoid installing additional software when installing the program you really want.
After you finish the installation you should be prompted with a window to configure the language (currently supports 33 to date) and theme – Default (black) or white.
Exploring The Interface & Configurations
Once you’ve configured your theme and language, the main window will appear.
There are several important areas to make note of. In the top right corner, left of the Minimize, Restore and Close buttons there are the Skin, Settings and Support links. Skin simply lets you change the theme between dark and light.
Settings contains several other options, which we’ll go into more detail later in the article. Support allows you to view the user manual, access technical support and view information about the current version of Smart Defrag which you have installed.
Next is the area which each of the drives are listed. If you have an external hard drive plugged in or multiple hard drives, these will be listed here as well. In addition, you can add a file or folder to be defragmented specifically.
The next section contains several tabs: State, Automatic Defrag, Boot Time Defrag and Report.
State is simply a map of the current condition (or state) or your hard drive. Each color represents something different. To understand them, you can hover over the individual colors next to “Map.”
This can also be customized by clicking on them. You can always revert back to the default colors by clicking “Reset” at the end of the colored boxes.
In this area, to the far right, there’s also the option to shut down your PC after the defragmentation is completed.
You also can control the defragmentation process from this tab with the buttons: Defrag, Analyze, Pause and Stop. The dropdown menu on Defrag includes options to do a fast optimize or full optimize in addition to defragmenting. According to IObit:
[The] optimize method will intelligently organize drive data for maximum performance and long-lasting data contiguity.
Note that choosing to optimize will increase the defragmenting time significantly.
Automatic Defrag works by defragmenting the file system while your PC is idle. From this tab you can toggle it being on and off for each of your drives. You can also see live charts of CPU and disk usage, as well as statistics for files automatically defragmented.
Next to the on/off toggle button, there is a link to configure Automatic Defrag. This can also be accessed through the Settings in the upper right corner.
Boot Time Defrag allows you to defrag files which cannot be safely moved while Windows is running and occurs during the startup.
You can view statistics and history of past defragmentation of files. Like Automatic Defrag, there is a switch to toggle Boot Time Defrag on and off. And right next to that, there’s a link to configure it further.
Report is just as the title implies, it contains reports of the most recent defragmentation.
Included in Report is a before and after fragmentation rate; a summary – all and defragmented files and directories, and elapsed time; and a detailed list of all the files and directories which were defragmented. You can also save the report as a text file to refer back to later.
You should note that because Smart Defrag is free, it also includes an ad banner at the bottom. Thankfully, it isn’t invasive or annoying. In fact, it even uses the same theme as the rest of the program. Just click the “Hide latest news” link to tuck away the ad banner.
Additional Settings & Options
Although some of the settings have already been touched upon, there are still several more that haven’t. First, are the General Settings.
In this window you have options such as minimizing to the system try, automatically loading when Windows starts up and enabling tooltips in the system tray.
Options specific to defragmenting include enabling Smart Silent Technology, stopping the defragmentation process when running on batteries (useful for laptops) and not displaying removable drives.
You can also decide if you want to skip files larger than 1 GB and decide what that maximum is (ranging from 100 MB to 10 GB) and if defragment should occur when fragments exceed 1%, 3%, 5% or to always run.
Scheduled Defrag is another very useful option which is highly recommended. As the name implies, it allows Smart Defrag to run without you prompting it to.
From this window you can toggle Scheduled Defrag on and off, change which method it uses and which drives are defragmented when it is run. The Configure button allows you to adjust when the scheduled defrag will occur and whether it should start (or not) when the computer is running on battery and if it should stop if the laptop starts running on battery during the defrag process.
Exclude List allows you to prevent certain files and folders (including their subfolders) from being defragmented.
Lastly, User Interface has controls for adjusting transparency, making disk map color accessible for those who are color-challenged, and changing the language.
IObit certainly isn’t the only option, be we at MakeUseOf feel it is definitely one of the best. And that is why we included it on your Best Of Windows Software page.
Do you use Smart Defrag already? What is your favorite feature? In your opinion, how does it compare to the other defragmenters which we’ve listed on the Best Of Windows Software page?