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O&O Defrag Free Edition 14.1.431 (64-bit)

O&O releases a free version of its powerful defrag tool for home and non-commercial use 

by Nick Peers

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License: Free, for personal-use only
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

Windows XP x64 required for 64-bit build

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 10 May 2011
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2307
Developer: O&O Software
RSS News Feed: http://www.oo-software.com/home/en/press/news/index.html?ftr
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/oosoftware
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/OO-Software/167294916284
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O&O Defrag Free Edition
O&O Defrag Free features all of the technology, but only some of the features of its bigger brother.

Let us be frank: the Windows Defragmentation tool is best described as functional. Defragging your hard drive is an essential part of PC maintenance as otherwise files get scattered in multiple segments (or fragments) all over your drive, forcing the disk’s mechanical parts to work harder to piece them back together when they’re needed. Net result: files are slower to access, so computer slows down, but another side-effect is that the drive’s temperature increases and its moving parts wear out that much quicker.

XP’s Defrag tool doesn’t even run automatically, so it’s essential you find another solution. And even though Windows 7 and Vista do attempt to run on a weekly basis, the default timing isn’t great and the results are barely adequate. Your hard drive is the biggest bottleneck in your system, so it pays to make sure it’s defragged regularly to give it the best possible chance of performing at a half-decent level.

Third-party defrag tools have long trumped Windows’ own meagre efforts, and in recent years a number of powerful, versatile and feature-rich freebies have come on to the market, such as Puran Defrag Free and Auslogics Disk Defrag. That probably explains why O&O – one of the pioneers in disk defrag technology – has finally wised up to the fact it needs to provide a free version of its own defrag tool to appeal to the home market.

The net result is this: O&O Defrag Free Edition. It’s based on its Professional big brother, so you enjoy the top-notch performance gains and light system footprint that it brings. The downside is that it’s actually a cut-down version, so you’re only able to use one of two defrag methods (as opposed to eight in the full version), neither of which will keep your drive defragged in the background as you work. There’s no boot-time defragmentation either for system files, and while the program comes with three “zones” for placing files in for best performance on your drive, you can’t actually configure them as you can with the Pro Edition.

It sounds churlish to mention these limitations in the free version, but we do so because many of these options are available in other free tools, so should be noted here. However, if you’re looking for a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution and are happy for your drive to be defragged on a regular basis, then O&O Defrag Free definitely represents a step up from the basic tool provided by Windows itself.

This is the 64-bit version of O&O Defrag Free Edition: a separate build is available for 32-bit versions of Windows.

Verdict:

Get top-notch defrag technology for no cost with O&O Defrag Free Edition – it’s just a shame its feature set is so limited. 

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 (v11.0.6)

Free Full Commercial Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 is a compact, simple, but surprisingly feature-packed disc burning suite.

The program makes it easy to create simple data discs and audio CDs, for instance: just drag and drop your files onto the list area and you'll be burning the finished disc in a couple of clicks.

That's just the start, though. Burning Studio 2013 can also create data discs with customised, interactive multi-page menus, perfect if you'd like a more professional way to share and present the disc contents.

A built-in backup tool allows you to create backups which may be encrypted, compressed, and span several CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

And there are modules to create VCD or SVCD video projects; burn video DVDs or Blu-ray discs from prepared folders; create, browse or burn disc images (ISO, CUE/ BIN and Ashdisc formats are supported); copy discs, erase them, design and print disc covers, labels and booklets, and more.

The focus throughout is on ease of use, though, and so Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 remains very straightforward, whatever you're doing. Most disc projects are created via the same simple interface, and for the most part all you have to do is drag and drop the necessary files. But experts will find more advanced options are only a click away, and if you need to then you can set ISO and UDF version, enable Joliet, make a disc bootable and more.

Note the download here will take you to the Downloadcrew Software Store where you can download Burning Studio 2013.

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