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Unify the hard drive.

Defragmentation is such a tough, militaristic word to describe the simple job done by defrag utilities that it’s like bringing a tank to a water pistol fight. But sometimes it’s better to roll in the heavy artillery when dealing with a fragmented hard disk that needs to be made whole again.

Newly released from Executive Software, Diskeeper 7 monitors a disk and schedules defragmentation based on system needs, without user intervention. The software can run remotely on a network, features a defrag engine that runs six times faster than previous Diskeeper versions, and offers fragmentation prevention in some NT/2000 system files. It comes in both workstation and server versions, and can be downloaded from the company’s site. Running on Windows 95 or higher, the software is $44.95. The company also offers a freeware version with fewer features.

Fix-It Utilities 4 from V Communications is a system optimization suite that includes JETDeFrag, which reorganizes a hard drive and consolidates data so that programs and files aren’t scattered in different parts of the drive. It also includes scan-on-demand virus protection, an error message tracker, and a host of diagnostic tools that monitor both system and hardware. The program requires Windows 95 or higher, and is $44.95 for a digital download from the company’s site. For $49.95, a CD-ROM version can be shipped.

E-Technik offers Power Defrag 3.01, a utility that’s geared toward users of all levels with a “Lite” edition and a “Pro” version. Functions include disk checking, surface scanning, defragmentation, and selective backup and restoration of system files. This version also supports unattended operation, command-line parameters, and an automatic login function that allows users to schedule system maintenance at different times. The “Pro” version also includes a disk scan utility and a Windows registry interface. For Windows 95 or higher, it can be downloaded from the software site, costs $40, and is available in a free trial version.

When it’s time to get a little tougher and a Windows defrag tool isn’t quite doing the job, Raxco Software offers PerfectDisk 5, designed to defragment large and complex environments. This version has a few new goodies, such as boot time defragmentation, network management, and command-line support. Because it’s made for more industrial-strength jobs, it can handle giant partitions, up to 1TB, and any size files. Available for $44 from the company’s site, PerfectDisk works on Windows 2000 or higher. Those with older systems, or who need less firepower, can find cohesion with the company’s consumer-oriented PerfectDisk Personal Edition.

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