Diskeeper 2010 speeds up boot time in Windows 7


<rant on>

Before I get to the details of this entry I have to reveal to you that I get my copy of Diskeeper for free. This is due to a new law that requires that bloggers reveal they get products for free so you can determine whether or not you think their “reviews” are objective. I understand the law, as there are many bogus blog sites out there, but if we are heading this direction, then all doctors should have to reveal that the medicine they prescribed you is something they got for free or are getting some form of testimonial money for, as I find medicine much more dangerous than testimonial about computer software. But, laws like this allow government to say they are protecting the public without ticking off their powerful lobbies, as the general public has NO lobby. Like I said, I understand the law, but I think people have the ability to read a “review” and determine whether or not they should Google for further information.

For the record, this is not a “review” per se, so I guess technically I don’t have to reveal if it is free or not. But, since I don’t know whether or not the law takes in account that I have a history of being a bit “brutal” to bad products I get for free, since our government rarely seems to show common sense when it comes to applying law, I will comply and say that I get Diskeeper for free. You have been warned.

</rant off>

Let me tell you how this one started. I got an email from my contact in Diskeeper who asked if I had noticed whether or not my computer was booting up faster since I had installed Diskeeper 2010. The email was sent out to all Microsoft MVPs that have a license for Diskeeper 2010. Here was my answer:

I actually need to reinstall. When the final version of VS came out, I reinstalled the computer and have not gone back to look for the key. If you want something more scientific, I can time my reboots now and then get it installed.

I figured rather than state “yes, my computer felt like it booted faster”, I wanted some raw numbers to throw out.

To do this, I pulled out a stopwatch and shut down and booted Windows numerous times on my computer. The average time to boot was approximately 40 seconds to the login screen, with an extra 4 seconds to get to login after I typed in the password. This is from a cold boot, meaning the computer is completely shut down.

I installed Diskeeper and ran an optimize. I also did a boot optimize to defrag the MFT and the paging file. While neither of these should affect boot too much, as the windows files should be in proper order (not fragmented) as Windows was installed first, I wanted to give the proper scenario of what I think everyone who installs Diskeeper should do. The results? Cold boot time reduced to approximately 32 seconds and 3 seconds to get from the login screen.

Now to the word “approximately”. My test on Diskeeper was done with a stopwatch on a WinMo phone. The “stopwatch” rounded to the nearest second. The reason for this is there is no easy way to put hooks into the OS to surround the boot and give “exact” time measurements. I would have liked a more accurate “stopwatch”, as a 1 second difference, perhaps even 2, could be explained away as a fluke. To reduce the likelihood of getting a fluke, I repeated the test numerous times, both before and after installing Diskeeper and optimizing.

The start up after the login screen can be called a fluke, as it is only a second difference. Even with numerous trials, we have to discount the findings. The 20% difference, before and after, for the boot up to login screen, however, cannot be called a fluke. There is just too much of a difference to call it an accident.

What about other differences? With Windows 7, it is a bit hard to see time differences in program start up, unless you want to take the time to clear out the windows optimizations. Windows will now watch the programs you use and attempt to preload DLLs that are routinely hit. This improves start up time significantly, as the only thing loading, in many instances, is the program shell. To understand this better, consider Microsoft Word. The WinWord.exe executable (or shell) is only 1.35 MB (1,422,168 bytes) in size. Obviously, not the entire program. Which means there are tons of DLLs that are used by the WinWord shell to facilitate the functionality you see when you use Word. Windows 7 will preload those DLLs long before you use the program, if it is one of your frequently used programs. Since the shell loads last, it makes it appear like Word is just popping open in a second. Without time to factor that out, I figure it is better to just make my own assumption, from past Windows versions, that Diskeeper defragmentation speeds up loading, as well.

As an aside, there is a new feature in Diskeeper (may have been in an earlier version, but I missed it) that stops fragmentation as you save files. They call it intelliwrite. I think this is neat, as avoiding fragmentation seems much more useful than defragging after the fact. I like proactive tools rather than reactive anyway.

BTW, I have loved Diskeeper for years. There are some free tools out there, like Defraggler, that do an okay job, but I think the price is well it and would purchase even if they did not extend a NFR copy to me ($39.95 home user, up to $109.95 if you want all the bells and whistles). If you want to play with it yourself, there is a 30 day trial, as well. That way you can determine for yourself if the product makes sense.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld

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