Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 123 / NOVEMBER 1990 / PAGE 17

Norton vs. PC Tools

I have PC Tools 5.1 and The Norton Utilities 4.5. Each of these packages contains a file defragmenter. Norton's seems to take forever to go through my 20MB hard disk; PC Tools' defragmenter takes much less time. My question is this: What is the difference between the two in the way they work?


There are three primary ways a disk can be optimized. First, each individual file can be unfragmented so it uses contiguous clusters only. Second, all files can be moved to the front of the disk. Third, files can be reordered, so that, for example, executable files are placed before data files.

The default configuration for PC Tools' Compress does the first two optimization procedures. The Norton Utilities' Speed Disk, however, uses all three methods of optimization. Naturally the extra step takes longer.

This is also the reason why Speed Disk will optimize a disk already optimized with Compress: It's rearranging the files that Compress had previously defragmented and moved to the front of the disk. If, by comparison, you run Compress on a disk optimized with Speed Disk, it will agree that the disk is OK.

Although Compress doesn't reorder files by default, there are several command line switches that will accomplish this. To speed up Speed Disk, try using the switches/U (for unfragment), which unfragments files without moving them to the front of the disk, or /Q (for quick), which moves files forward without unfragmenting them.