JkDefrag GUI is a graphical user interface program for the open source hard drive defragmentation program JkDefrag. It enables users to easily use JkDefrag’s powerful defragmentation operations, schedule defrags, perform system file defrag operations on startup, as well as set a wide spectrum of defrag options. It can also be used to quickly install JkDefrag’s screensaver defrag, an option that kicks in the defrag process and displays it as a screensaver whenever the computer is idle.
I don’t usually think about hard drive defragmentation programs as being exciting, but this one is an exception. JkDefrag itself (rater than the GUI) has a number of features that I have not seen in other free defrag programs, and JkDefrag GUI is a well designed program that makes these accessible and easy to work with. Here’s a quick listing of some of these:
- The screensaver option: although JkDefrag does not continuously defragment your hard drive as a process in the background, the screensaver option goes one better in that it kicks the defrag process into action at those idle times when normally your screensaver would run (and will show the visual representation of the defrag process as the screensaver). Extremely cool! This is my favorite feature simply because it provides an automatic install-and-forget solution to hard drive defragmentation. (Note that you can install the screensaver from the ’install’ tab in the GUI).
- Space hogging files: JkDefrag will push files certain files behind directories and regular files to make system operations faster. These space hogging files include files that are 50 megs+, most compressed archive filetypes, data in the recycling bin, and a number others (for a list of the default space hogging files go to the JkDefrag site and look for “what are spacehogs”). Note that you can use the GUI to manually add more filetypes (e.g. avi, mpg, etc.) to the list of Space hoggers if you want.
- Portable: a U3-specific version of JkDefrag GUI is available.
- Safe: ok, so this isn’t a unique feature but a good one to highlight all the same. JkDefrag uses Microsoft’s standard defragmentation API library (which most defrag programs use) and is extremely safe. When interrupted, the defragmentation process will finish the immediate task at hand in the background and shut down.
Aside from these unique features above, JkDefrag GUI provides easy access to powerful defragmentation functions as follows:
- Easily launch JkDefrag operations: or combinations of operations such as analysis, defragmentation, fast optimization, forcing files together, moving to the end of the disk, sorting files (by name, size, last access, last change, or creation time).
- Schedule defrags: Allows for scheduling of once-only, daily, weekly or monthly defrags. Also allows for on-startup, on-logon, and on-idle defrag scheduling. Although in general this is nicely implemented, it does NOT seem to allow for scheduling multiple types of events (e.g. on idle as well as, say, every Monday at midnight). It is also not clear how “on idle” is/is not different from the screensaver defrag.
- System file defragmentation: although JkDefrag does not defragment system files, JkDefrag GUI can schedule these upon reboot (on a regular or one-off basis) using SysInternals PageDefrag utility (included in the JkDefrag GUI download).
- Set options: set defragmentation speed, disks to defrag (including ’all’), and percent of free hd space to free at the beginning of the disk. Advanced options allow you to determine folders or types or files that you want (or do not want) to be included in the defragmentation process.
- Set GUI options: including whether to detect removable disks/RAMdisks, shutdown after degfrag, autodetect updates, enable/disable spacehog files option, and others.
- Installer functions: JkDefrag GUI can be unzipped and run and does not require installation; however, for those who prefer a properly installed app it can install itself as a regular windows app (see the ’install’ tab. It can also be used to easily install the screensaver function). Note that the JkDefrag GUI download contains all the apps/tools that you need, and you do not have to perform any separate downloads.
- I noticed that this release of JkDefrag GUI always seemed to be taking up some CPU processing resources in the background, even when idle. The author noted that this will be fixed in a future release, which, he noted, will also use less memory.
- Future releases of JkDefrag GUI will include a disk cleaner and registry defragmentation components (if you want standalone programs that do these functions I recommend CCleaner and Auslogics Registry Defrag, respectively).
- Tooltips: when in doubt, simply hover over the many buttons with question marks on them and JkDefrag GUI will display a tooltip with info. I found this very useful and wanted to mention it.
- Another thing I noticed is that when you select “all disks” for defragmentation, the visual representation of the defrag process is not displayed for some reason.
The verdict: this is definitely my freeware hard drive defragmentation program of choice, simply because of such innovative features as the screensaver defrag mode and space-hogging files. JkDefrag is a solid and powerful program that I previously shied away from simply because it was command-line based. With JkDefrag GUI JkDefrag becomes accessible and easy to use. The GUI still needs some kinks ironed out, but these will happen in future releases. I highly recommend it.
Version tested: 0.91
Compatibility: Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista.