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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I've recently hit problems effecting a 'recovery' on my new Sony LA1. I'm running Win XP MCE. This is now the fifth time that I have tried to get the computer back to how it arrived, with no success.

As you may know, Sony Vaios come with a hidden partition and that contains the necessary files for effecting a restore, back to the factory condition as it arrived. I think that I may have a problem with that and the subsequent recovery disks that I have made.

After getting most of my software on the new computer I purchased, installed and ran Diskeeper version 10. It all seemed to be fine, but when I took a close look I discovered to my horror that my hidden partition wasn't always hidden! Since then, I have hit problem after problem. I'll contact Sony in the morning and get some new recovery disks from them.

But, I was wondering if anybody knows if Diskeeper would have the effect of corrupting hidden files. Has this happened to anybody? Any comments/suggestions/thoughts would be more welcome than I can say.

Many thank in advance.

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi,

Thanks for getting back to me. When I installed the software it started a de-frag automatically. It wasn't until afterwards that I thought about the implications.

So, I hate to have to say it, but yes, I did de-frag the Recovery Partition.

What are the implications of having done that?

Thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.

G
 

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I purchased, installed and ran Diskeeper version 10.
I guess the damage is done, too bad, all over a completely unnecessary and un-needed piece of software.

That said I don't see how defragging the recovery partion could affect things. My advice if you get new discs is to toss Diskeeper, although faster, XP's defrag is all you need for the rare occaosions that defragging is needed.

A quote from PC World:

On a desktop system from the PC World office with a heavily used, never-defragmented hard drive, the lab conducted speed tests using a range of applications before and after defragmenting the drive with each utility. In the end, the Test Center saw no significant performance improvement after defragmenting with any program.

The PC World Test Center's tests reveal that defraggers don't actually improve performance. And Steve Gibson, president of PC consulting firm Gibson Research Corporation, confirmed our findings.

Best Bet: Windows XP Disk Defragmenter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi MysticEyes,

Thanks for getting back to me. I'm not sure how de-fragging the hidden partition could have so badly affected my machine, but that's when all of the problems started! As you say, I guess, though, that the damage is done. But, I'm sure curious as to what damage it could have done. After the de-frag was run the hidden partition wasn't always hidden. And, there was a folder in the partition called Diskeeper!

I'll certainly think long and hard before I ever run a piece of de-frag software again.

Take care,

G
 

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Hi Garbo, I’m the Product Manager for Diskeeper Corporation (makers of Diskeeper). We also provided the built-in defragmenter to Microsoft (though they have made their own updates to it over the various operating system releases). I have a few points of data to add to this thread.

Diskeeper won’t corrupt your files. The defragmentation process is integrated with Windows, and has been since NT4. The integrated mechanism in Windows are the same used by every major defragmenter on the market, including the Windows product.

The integrated mechanisms rely on vendors to follow Microsoft rules as well. It is possible that Sony is bypassing the file system structure to offer this recovery functionality, but that exposes Sony to incompatibility with numerous Windows native solutions such as defrag. I cannot give you a guaranteed answer, so the best thing to do is ask Sony support. You can also contact Diskeeper support via email.

On a related note, Sony is a partner of Diskeeper and promotes or provides Diskeeper on most of their Vaio computers. They tested Diskeeper in their labs prior to partnering with our company, but I can’t say whether they specifically tested on the LA1.

As for the PC World article, I was involved and know what they tested and can implicitly state that they did not test for the performance impact of existing fragmentation. They ran their own new benchmark tool which tests proprietary actions. I’m sure they performed these tests accurately, and that was likely what Steve Gibson confirmed (we don’t know because the article is unclear about exactly what he confirmed), but it was not a true measure of fragmentation. You’ll note that almost all other major publications come up with different results (e.g. Windows IT Pro).

If you look hard enough, you can always find one, or a few, doctors who says that cancer isn’t such a bad thing. I think we all know that it is important to have trusted sources, and second opinions from additional trusted sources are often necessary.

It should also be noted that Steve Gibson does support defragmentation. Here is a quote from Steve Gibson:

“and take the opportunity to defragment our server's hard drives…”
(taken from http://www.grc.com/dos/grcdos.htm - which is a great read by the way).

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The “Diskeeper” folder is part of the I-FAAST feature. It is a hidden folder. Also, defrag does not change attributes (such as hidden or unhidden).

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What defrag product is best for your needs is up to you to decide. I suggest you get to the root of the issue with help from the vendors you purchased products from, as defrag will very likely help your MCE's performance over time.

Best,
Michael Materie
Diskeeper Corporation
 

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Nice PR speech. XP's native defrag might come from Diskeeper but it doesn't hook into your system with multiple layers of junk. The very nature of NTFS with it's larger clusters and intelligent choices about where to store file data on the disk makes it resistant to fragmentation. NTFS reserves space for the expansion of the Master File Table, reducing fragmentation of its structures. In contrast to FAT's first-come, first-served method, NTFS's method of writing files minimizes file fragmentation on NTFS volumes. The need for daily or weekly defragging are long gone. Diskeeper can and has caused problems for many... and for what? It would have helped if you had provided (as I did) some sort of third party tests to back up any performance enhancing assertions. I'm sure your product does all the wonderful things it claims but in the final wash running Diskeeper after XP's defragger will provide no meaningful benefit for the average computer user.

The occasional defrag with XP's own utility does what needs to be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Michael,

Thanks for getting back to me. I do appreciate it. The reason that I thought there might have been a connection with Diskeeper was simply because it was the last piece of software that I installed before I hit problems.

I have, today, contacted Sony and they are going to supply me with a fresh set of recovery disks.

Once again, thanks for getting back to me.

G
 

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Mystic, I don't doubt that Diskeeper has caused issues for some customers. I'd like to say its perfect, but we do have some bugs in the software on occasion. They are rare but that's why we have support engineers - to help customers, and that is why I responded to Garbo, just as you did - to help him out.

A support forum such as this is, in large part, for people to seek out help for PC problems. It's very likely to be "negative" in the sense that a "bug" in a software product is published by a user seeking help.

In this case, there just isn't enough information to say what is really wrong with Garbo's PC. It may be solved in this thread by someone else with a similar experience, but if not, the vendor support teams are an excellent resource for help.

The layers of "junk" as you call them, are a Windows service (dkservice.exe), and in older Diskeeper editions, separate executables for the defragmentation process (DfrgNTFS.exe, etc...). It's unfortunate you feel they are junk, they do serve a purpose and provide value.

You are correct and I should have posted links to the references rather than just comment on their existence. Here is one for starters (Windows IT Pro):
http://files.diskeeper.com/pdf/ImpactofDiskFragmentation.pdf

Here is the PC World article you referenced:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,86934-page,8/article.html

If you search other major publications like PC Mag, Redmond Mag, etc... or analyst groups like Gartner or IDC, you'll find a large number of reviews and test cases regarding fragmentation.

As for NTFS, you are correct that it behaves better than FAT, but it is far from fragmentation-proof. Given that it is Diskeeper's job to know the file system we publish a lot of in-depth material on the subject. The following is an in-depth description of NTFS'es file allocation behavior.
http://files.diskeeper.com/pdf/HowFileFragmentationOccursonWindowsXP.pdf

You can view a flash-video on NTFS write behavior in the FAQ section at this link:
http://www.diskeeper.com/diskeeper/tour/index.html
(you can bypass the product tour and go right to the More Information section for technical data - there is also a short clip on the MFT and how it works)

I also agree that a defragmented disk is, from a performance perspective, a defragmented disk - apart from added value from features like I-FAAST (or other advanced features from other defrag vendors). A large part of the value of third party defragmenters is they can defragment in scenarios where the Windows product cannot. They also, typically, defrag free space effectively, use less resources, and have greater flexibility with respect to scheduling or automation.

If the value of a third party product doesn't provide a benefit over the Windows product, then don't buy it. That is obviously your opinion, and I'm sure it's very true for you.

Garbo, I just read that Sony's helping you out - good news! If you still need help in the future contact our support team.
 
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