PerfectDisk can kiss my arse

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RyanVM
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PerfectDisk can kiss my arse

Post by RyanVM » Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:15 pm

I just discovered that PerfectDisk has a nice "feature" where after running it on a laptop I'm fixing it up, it causes Windows to no longer want to boot past the splash screen. Very nice :evil:

Time for a format and back to Diskeeper, I guess.

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Post by FlyingGleek » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:57 am

RyanVM,

did you run boot time defrag before you ran the online defrag? On a small partition (I've noticed it with even a 15GB C: drive), if you do a boot time defrag first it will trash windows.

PS I LOVE PD, diskeeper doesn't even defrag!

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Post by alsiladka » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:09 am

DK for me , with the Pro Premium edition , just enable the IFAAST and daily full day Scedule , and forget about manual defrags.

Works really great

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Post by RogueSpear » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:21 am

FWIW Diskeeper totally pooched no less than a half dozen computers for me in one week at work. This was back in the version 7 days, but since then I went to PerfectDisk and haven't looked back. Couple hundred workstations and several servers have been running smooth as silk ever since.

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Post by RyanVM » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:47 am

FlyingGleek wrote:RyanVM,

did you run boot time defrag before you ran the online defrag? On a small partition (I've noticed it with even a 15GB C: drive), if you do a boot time defrag first it will trash windows.

PS I LOVE PD, diskeeper doesn't even defrag!
Nope, just a regular defrag in Windows

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Post by Ghostrider » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:15 pm

RogueSpear wrote:FWIW Diskeeper totally pooched no less than a half dozen computers for me in one week at work. This was back in the version 7 days, but since then I went to PerfectDisk and haven't looked back. Couple hundred workstations and several servers have been running smooth as silk ever since.
Diskeeper 10 isn't much better, it pooched a 2 terabyte raid array belonging to one of my customers, he tried to blame the problem on the server we built for him saying Diskeeper couldn't be the problem. :rolleyes: I think it had more to do with the fact he had just lost $30.000 worth of production data and wanted to pass the buck. Son of a B***ch was related to the boss, so he got away with it anyway.

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Post by 5eraph » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:32 pm

Is there anything better for terabyte volumes? I'd really hate to pay the exorbitant price for Diskeeper Enterprise that they're asking if there's something better on the cheap that will allow you to defrag such large volumes. $1,000 is far too much for a defragmenter I'll use at home...

And they expect this not to get pirated?!

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Post by dumpydooby » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:23 am

Eww. I stopped defragging once I started using NTFS. It doesn't even make a noticable difference anymore (with the fast HDDs and NTFS). If you think it does, it's all in your head, IMO.

However, I will admit that HDDs are the bottleneck of today's computers. But defragging would be like adding a 64MB stick of RAM to a computer with 256MB -- even if it does make a difference, it doesn't matter because it's still too frickin' slow.

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Post by RogueSpear » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:49 am

I could not possibly disagree more... well with conditions. Basically, the slower the computer, the more it will benefit from the defrag. At my main site I still have some old Gateway desktop computers that have.. get this.. Pentium 233MMX CPUs in them. These computers just won't give up the ghost. They have 512MB of RAM, all of them are on their second hard drive. Anyway, I have PerfectDisk defrag them daily at 2am and it makes a huge difference.

My desktop computer at work has 2GB of RAM and everything else is at least up to date, if not cutting edge. I might remember to defrag it like once every couple months or so, and you're correct that I don't notice a difference. But the thing is pretty fast anyway.

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Post by keytotime » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:01 am

What defrag? Just reinstall window's. Yeah defrag help's alot, I've never had a problem with perfect disk. Luckly I have more than 1 hdd, so I can afford to reinstall windows quite often.

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Post by RogueSpear » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:23 am

When you're administering 200 workstations here, 35 to 40 somewhere else, and a couple dozen scattered around a 50 mile radius, even with RIS you don't want to just be reinstalling computers all the time.

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Post by keytotime » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:48 am

Yeah, I had to manage 500 computer's over 5 vlan's. It's a pain. We had P2 400MHZ running Autocad 2k2 and Photoshop CS2 and P4 3.06 GHZ running Word 2k3. PAIN

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Post by dumpydooby » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:24 pm

RogueSpear wrote:I could not possibly disagree more... well with conditions. Basically, the slower the computer, the more it will benefit from the defrag. At my main site I still have some old Gateway desktop computers that have.. get this.. Pentium 233MMX CPUs in them. These computers just won't give up the ghost. They have 512MB of RAM, all of them are on their second hard drive. Anyway, I have PerfectDisk defrag them daily at 2am and it makes a huge difference.

My desktop computer at work has 2GB of RAM and everything else is at least up to date, if not cutting edge. I might remember to defrag it like once every couple months or so, and you're correct that I don't notice a difference. But the thing is pretty fast anyway.
Yeah, with older computers it makes a difference. That's why I was saying it doesn't make a difference ANYMORE (implying "this day and age"). I think we're on the same page on this one. ;)

Windows XP will do its own little defrag when the computer idles. Does it work slower than PD or something? Just wondering. After reading your post, I think I'll probably add PD (or something similar) to my discs to have them do defrags at 2am (had never thought of scheduling a defrag).

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Post by DarkNiteS11 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:52 pm

It's not just that the built in defrag works slower, it's that it just plain doesn't work in some situations. Free space consolidation is one of them, and large files is another. Not to mention I've noticed a huge difference allowing PerfectDisk to manage my layout.ini files versus XP doing it in idle time (which is next to never here). The combination of utilities such as PerfectDisk and CCleaner can keep a PC running smooth for a long time or revive a previously decrapdified desktop (such as a relatives).

Working with several audio and video utilities, and doing a lot of capturing and encoding, it would be death to such a workstation to not have free space consolidation. With it my larger drives are tolerable to ~87% capacity (that means 0 dropped frames), without it they're horrid at ~66% capactiy, RAID 0 with 64K clusters or not. That's a huge difference I would definitely notice.

Casual users probably wouldn't notice as much of a difference with todays setups though. On some PC's I've noticed a good cleaning making more performance impact then online/offline defrags.
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Post by 5eraph » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:46 pm

keytotime, the volume I need to defragment doesn't have the Windows installation on it, so reinstalling Windows will not change anything. Second, this is the volume where I store all the files that are commonly used on my network; I can't just arbitrarily wipe it and call it defragmented. ;)

The question still stands though: What third party application works better than the Windows defragmenter that will allow me to defragment terabyte volumes?

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Post by RogueSpear » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:38 pm

I can't vouch for TB volumes, but I've been using PerfectDisk on among other things: striped, mirrored and 5 arrays at sizes up to 500MB. I've been using it on both hardware level RAID 5 (in a ProLiant DL380) and on Windows 2000 Server RAID 5. I've yet to run into anything that it's had a problem with.

As explained earlier, I had MAJOR problems with Diskeeper. When I finally got in touch with the Church of Scientology (who owns it), they said it was all my fault. They didn't know exactly how, but they were pretty certain it was me. Luckily it didn't take an act of congress to get my $4,000 refunded.

I demoed O&O on a dozen workstations and a development server. I was not impressed at all with the management capabilities (or lack of), nor was I impress with the excrutiating amount of time it took to defrag.

Now keep in mind I've been using PerfectDisk for about 3 years now, so things may have changed drastically with both Diskeeper and O&O, but I'm so completely satisfied with PerfectDisk that it would take an awful lot for me to even consider a switch.

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Post by GrunkaLunka » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:23 pm

RogueSpear wrote:When I finally got in touch with the Church of Scientology (who owns it)
OT: OMFG! I thought you were joking, but it's true! LOL, I don't know why I find that extremely funny. I'll probably get in trouble for saying that though, seeing as to how they'll be ruling the wolrd pretty soon (with it being the newest Hollywood religion fad and tons of people mindlessly following whatever their favorite actor/singer does).

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Post by 5eraph » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:34 pm

RogueSpear wrote:When I finally got in touch with the Church of Scientology (who owns it)
GrunkaLunka wrote:OMFG! I thought you were joking, but it's true! LOL
That would explain Diskeeper's pricing. :rolleyes:

Thanks for the suggestion, RogueSpear. I'll give it a try. Hopefully the Workstation edition won't tell me to eat sh*t and purchase the Server edition like Diskeeper does. :x

Even so, PerfectDisk Server is much more affordable than Diskeeper Enterprise.

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Post by DarkNiteS11 » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:21 pm

5eraph wrote:The question still stands though: What third party application works better than the Windows defragmenter that will allow me to defragment terabyte volumes?
I deal in terabytes per day, per machine, and sometimes per hour in the raw video editing realm. I can say that PerfectDisk (since v6) has yet to fail me. I use the workstation edition 7.0.0.46 at home where my primary machine's array is 1.6TB and have not had any issues other than sometimes I'm working beyond the time the scheduled defrag begins.

Terabyte Volume Edition... that's almost laughable, if it weren't such a scam.

You can read this, or just see for yourself.
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Post by 5eraph » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:03 am

Thank you for clearing that up for me, DarkNiteS11. When I first read that comparison shown in the link you provide I noticed it doesn't specify between PerfectDisk Workstation and Server editions. It's good to hear that PerfectDisk isn't limited by volume size like Diskeeper is between editions.

My array is similar in size: 4 x 500 GB in RAID 5 for 1.5 TB (where 1 TB = 1000000 MB, Windows reports a bit less).

I won't knock Diskeeper for performance or stability because it has worked more or less consistently for me, but the fact that all editions of Diskeeper except Enterprise (v10) will refuse to defragment terabyte volumes is a serious marketing error on their part; especially since having such space available in the home is becoming more commonplace now with the push of XP Media Center and X-Box audio/video streaming capabilities. This limitation is a serious flaw as far as I'm concerned.

EDIT:

Upon further inspection, Diskeeper's Professional Premiere edition (which wasn't available until recently) supports up to 2 TB for much less than Enterprise, but lacks their top-of-the-line Terabyte Volume Engine. I'll most likely stick with PerfectDisk Workstation which is still cheaper.

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Post by RyanVM » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:52 pm

Get this, I've figured out what's been going on and it's got nothing to do with Perfect Disk (that part was just coincidental). Below is how I found out where the problem lied. Hopefully some of you guys will find it useful when you're trying to track down bugs on your own some day.

Apparently the KB900808 hotfix doesn't agree with Dell computers. I found that out when I reformatted a friend's system and the same problem turned up again, only with no PerfectDisk around this time. Then I confirmed that it happened on yet ANOTHER system. The common denominator between all three systems? Two Dell laptops and a Dell desktop.

A little bit more background. The restart problem was one that doesn't necessarily show up right away. After installing Windows, things appeared to be working great. However, after enough power cycles, the computer will just refuse to boot anymore. The Windows splash screen shows and then it just goes black forever. The two laptops would still boot into safe mode. The desktop wouldn't even let me do that.

I figured out via trial and error that the problem first showed up with version 2.0.3. I took a look at the hotfixes which were added during that time and I narrowed it down to a few select fixes (a very useful technique - don't waste your time with things that you can be nearly certain aren't the cause until you've ruled out all the likely suspects). So, I installed 2.0.2a on the system. I then started installing the suspect hotfixes. As luck would have it, I found it on the first try. As soon as KB900808 went on the system, it would no longer boot into Windows, showing the exact same symptoms as previously described.

To verify that KB900808's version of fastfat.sys was the problem with the newest update pack, I then took version 2.0.4 of the update pack (which I confirmed had the same problem) and removed fastfat.sys from it. I did the install of Windows and sure enough, no problems. I power cycled the system for about 30 minutes - an array of shutdowns and restarts - no problem. I then installed KB900808. Sure enough, same problem once again.

What amazes me most about this whole situation is that it's a bug which first appeared in version 2.0.3. The Update Pack gets about 15,000 downloads per month right now. Over two versions, that's 30,000 downloads. What amazes me is that I've solidly reproduced this problem on three systems and yet nobody else seems to have run into it (and I find it very hard to believe I wouldn't if someone here had). Maybe it's Dell-specific (which is also kind of worrisome), but still.

Oh well, I guess what matters most is that the problematic fix has been identified and removed. Hopefully my successful testing methodology is useful for others trying to diagnose their own problems. The most important thing is to be as systematic as possible. Eliminate as many variables as possible and re-introduce them one at a time in order to get the best data possible.

And yes, needless to say, KB900808 will not being 2.0.5 :P
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Post by RogueSpear » Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Hmm.. I reinstalled my wife's Dell Inspiron 8200 a few weeks back with a source that has 2.0.3 on it. It's been booted, rebooted, defraged both online and offline at least a few dozen times. Before I reinstalled the laptop, I went to Dell's website and downloaded the latest BIOS revision, which must have been like 5 versions newer than what was on there. I don't know if there was a common issue with their BIOS across models.

Well I suppose I'll be holding my breath for a while :rolleyes:

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Post by RyanVM » Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:34 pm

I ran into it on an Inspiron B130, an Inspiron 9300, and a Dimension 4600. All were updated to the latest BIOS revision.

I also ran into it with a non-unattended CD, so I knew it wasn't one of my regtweaks at fault.
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Post by warrior1109 » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:24 am

I've not ran into this one yet, as I rarely deal with Dell machines, but thanks to you Ryan, we all now know what this bug is, and now can avoid it, thanks once again Ryan!

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Post by techtype » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:19 am

I hate to be the one to point it out, but this is an example of why some of us dread seeing non-public hotfixes included in the pack. Somehow, no amount of pre-testing can screen out all the real-world problems.
A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in this article. Only apply it to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next Windows XP service pack that contains this hotfix.

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Post by RogueSpear » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:38 am

I used to not agree with techtype. I thought "the more fixes the better" and that Microsoft must have had some sort of nefarious reason for keeping these things out of our hands. I was a little disappointed when Ryan decided to not include every hotfix under the sun. But in the last few months I have started to move into techtype's camp.

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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:52 am

To be completely honest, I don't entirely disagree either. However, I think the biggest thing to have is discretion. I learned the hard way that adding every fix under the sun is a bad idea. However, there are some areas where I want to be as current as possible, such as the kernel, wireless drivers, and some other stuff. Also, fixes such as 319740 which only went public in the last month have been nice to have for the last year :P.

I also personally think that hotfixes for some of the most "high-risk" areas such as the XP kernel do get fairly well-tested, simply due to the critical nature of the area they're updating.

And, we've also seen hotfixes (*ahem*KB912945*ahem*) which are "tested" by MS which can cause plenty of big problems regardless :P.
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Post by 5eraph » Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:00 am

techtype wrote:Somehow, no amount of pre-testing can screen out all the real-world problems.
The same could be said for some public hotfixes. ;)

I do believe that Ryan has come to a good compromise starting with v2.0.0. Hardliners now have the option to use Xable's lightweight pack instead. All the bases are covered. :D

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Post by techtype » Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:14 am

RyanVM wrote:To be completely honest, I don't entirely disagree either. However, I think the biggest thing to have is discretion. I learned the hard way that adding every fix under the sun is a bad idea. However, there are some areas where I want to be as current as possible, such as the kernel, wireless drivers, and some other stuff. Also, fixes such as 319740 which only went public in the last month have been nice to have for the last year
That's about where I've landed after much vascilating between the minimum packs and yours. I have come to depend on your discretion. I hope this experience leans you toward even more caution.

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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:06 am

Yeah, I think Xable and boooggy have done a great job filling the void for those who want only the essentials. And at least I have a real system now that I can do testing on, which will certainly only improve my testing process.
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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:06 am

hmm, I just had my first instance of the problem happening in VirtualPC too. I guess it's not limited to Dell systems afterall.
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Post by RogueSpear » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:33 am

I'm just curious as to whether or not this is a correctable problem on computers that go belly up. I have a couple of questions, if you can easily answer them:

Can you replace fastfat.sys by booting into BartPE and "fix" the problem?

Does the boot up sequence give a blue screen or does it just hang where the little thing zips from left to right on the opening splash?

I don't even know how many computers I have deployed in the last few weeks, but I figure it might pay off to investigate ahead of time. So far I am absolutely not able to recreate this problem either.

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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:49 am

I have no idea if replacing fastfat.sys after the fact will work or not. My hunch is yes, but I have nothing to back that up with.

The hang is right after the splash screen. The splash screen goes away like it's going to log in, but the screen just stays black.
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Post by RogueSpear » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:23 pm

Ok, at my main work, I have probably a dozen machines (including my personal laptop and desktop) installed with this hotfix. If something like what you describe arises, I'll try to replace fastfat.sys and see if that clears it up. But for now I just can't seem to reproduce the issue on demand.

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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:41 pm

I've created a shortcut that I put in the startup folder to power cycle the system using psshutdown. I have it automatically log in and then restart 15 seconds later. I suppose that's as good of a test as anything.
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Post by techtype » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:45 pm

As you said before, it seems very odd that no one else has reported this. Is it possible that it requires another factor along with the hotfix, one that is unique (or almost so) to you.
For example, your tweaks plus the hotfix.

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Post by RyanVM » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:50 pm

Well like I already said, I ruled out my tweaks because I did one install with a non-unattended CD. It could be some app that gets installed after the fact, though.
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Post by techtype » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:28 am

@Ryan

What is your current thinking on this? Any new insights? Were you able to replicate it consistently?

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Post by RyanVM » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:47 am

Like I already said, I haven't been able to reproduce it since removing the updated fastfat.sys, and I've power cycled for over an hour when trying to.
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Post by techtype » Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:16 pm

The reason that I was checking is because I have some Universal Images that were based (before they were turned into Universal Images) on an install from your latest pack. I'm considering changing out fastfat.sys in the images. However, I wanted to be sure that you had not found anything new that would shed more light on the matter.

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Post by RyanVM » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:46 pm

I would remove it if I were you (for the record, I'll be included the SP2 version of fastfat.sys in the next update pack to make sure that those upgrading over a previous pack are reverted as well)
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