That’s what the company is saying. The company is developing a filter driver that will eliminate most of the fragmentation that occurs with the file systems in use by the majority of the computers of the world, namely NTFS and FAT.

As reported in ExtremeTech

Diskeeper plans to introduce a file system filter driver later this year that will eliminate most file fragmentation before it actually occurs, company executives said Friday.

The company’s plans to do so were revealed Thursday, but on Friday director of products and technologies Michael Materie provided more details on how the software will work.

As of now, Diskeeper has not revealed a formal name for the technology, nor disclosed what it will charge for the product. Since the file system filter works so closely with an operating system’s file system, Diskeeper has had to choose which file system to support: for now, the product will support NTFS, used by the latest Windows programs since Windows 2000, as well as the older FAT file system. Both Linux and Apple’s Mac OS X can access the NTFS file system, but Materie said the program will be for Windows only, at least initially.

Diskeeper’s Materie said that he could not comment on certain aspects of the technology, including the issue of patents.

But the filter driver is designed to weed out about 75 percent of fragmentation before it ever occurs, by intercepting the data before it is written to the file system, and organizing it appropriately.

“It will be a green technology, in the sense that it will minimize the amount of [disk] activity in terms of defrag operations… including use of the drive, power, and wear and tear,” Materie said.

What is not clear is how much this ‘filter driver’ will reduce the speed of file operations. If the difference is small, no one will object too much. If it is something not really implemented very efficiently, it will be a horrible flop.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering how this will differ from the series of routines that *nix file systems use to eliminate fragmentation. The various flavors of derivatives, and descendants of, Unix all have the ability to resist file fragmentation, by having a bit of logic built in to the system and making intelligent decisions about where files are written in the first place. Those systems, the last time I checked, do nothing for keeping directories together however. That ability, to cluster files used together, has always been one of the selling points of Diskeeper over the years,  As a matter of fact, that some other programs do nothing to alleviate complete files, that should be grouped, from being scattered over the platters of the drive is a major plus of Diskeeper, as it can be set to move files together, to make seeks when launching programs minimal. This leads to major improvements in speed – if done correctly.

It also takes major time to implement on large drives, which is why Diskeeper has abandoned much of this type of optimization in recent years.  The program has it, but puts individual file optimization out front, because it is not nearly as CPU or time intensive. (The last time I saw this type of one-time defragmentation used  by a program, that made a claim about it, was an older version of the Norton Speeddisk. It was their disk optimization program, and has not been used on my computers since 2003, when the then-current Norton Utilities had dropped that feature.) The only commercial disk defragmenter that might still have this is Vopt, by Golden Bow Systems.  I have not seen, or used their products in a while – they used to be very good, but were never a household name.

If this filter driver does what the *nix file systems do, and adds the ability to keep directories together from the start, it will be worthwhile. If it does not, then why is it really news? And, is it really worthy of a patent?  (another quick thought – If this gets done, will Microsoft try to buy it up? or possibly claim it infringes on something? Remember, Microsoft had a fully-lamed-out version of Norton Speeddisk for years, built into its operating systems. Who knows, there is probably some of that Norton code still in the included defragmentation for Windows 7 – but remember, it was extremely dumbed-down.)


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No human thing is of serious importance.

– Plato

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