O&O Defrag Professional Edition is a full featured defragmentation program with many bells and whistles of varying utility, tied together with a clean interface that adheres to the latest Microsoft standards. Among other features, the latest O&O Defrag 14 Professional supports optimising SSDs.
O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition first presents to the user a fairly typical display showing drives in one pane and the results of the latest analysis in the other, using the colourful array of blocks metaphor which has been standard since the days of Norton Utilities under MS-DOS 3.0. The program now foregoes the standard menu bar in favour of Microsoft’s "ribbon" interface, a là Office 2007, and manages here to use this interface in an intuitive and productive manner.
The various tabs and control groupings are logical, and there were few times we ever had to ponder where to find a particular feature. If anything, the strict adherence to interface guidelines almost becomes comical; how often will you need to adjust your defragmentation utility's colour theme? If you want to, though, you can.
On the more functional side, O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition offers a feature found in most modern disk defragmentation utilities, the ability to designate zones on your disk. You can place frequently accessed files where they will be found the fastest on your hard disk, and infrequently accessed files in the slow outer reaches – though when you consider current hard disk speeds and various OS-level optimisations, the speed difference for an average user is likely to be small.
You can also choose to have O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition arrange unused space so as to create the largest possible block; this is useful in controlling future fragmentation.
O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition provides a great deal of information about your disk besides mere "%age fragmented." The reports include which files were moved, which were the most fragmented, and so on.
This data is of relatively low use to most home users, but can be quite important to someone doing network administration.
SSD optimisation is offered in O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition, which could be useful for versions of Windows (installed on SSDs) older than Windows 7. Windows Vista and XP, for instance, do not natively support TRIM.
According to O&O, “through the use of periodic ATA TRIM commands, Solid State Drives will be kept informed of those disk areas that are not being used. The drive will then be able to use these free areas for a drive-internal optimisation of data management, instead of as a storage location for the contents of data that is no longer needed. After optimization, SSDs will be able to access data faster and minimise the wear on flash chips.”
At £30, O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition is at the high end for a utility program whose main function is performed – for the purposes of many – well enough by a free tool included with Windows. In terms of competing with free, O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition comes off very well. For instance: MyDefrag, a powerful free utility, is hindered by a script-driven interface which subtracts more in ease of use than it adds in power. When O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition competes with other commercial programs, it offers a bit less for a bit more, though. Perfect Disk Professional, for example, includes a duplicate file finder and boot-time defragmentation. Since both commercial programs provide free trials, it might be worth your while to see if features or ease-of-use issues make O&O Defrag 14 Professional Edition worth the extra money.