Monday, March 23, 2009

free alternative to defrag.nsf

My friend Adam asked me recently about defrag.nsf. In case you don't know, this is a Windows-only tool for Domino that will do a file-level defragmentation of Domino databases. According to the product page the theory is this will increase performance. I haven't tried the product so I can't state whether this is true or not, but I do know that you can get the same results for free.

defrag.nsf is using the Windows defragmentation API to do file-specific defragmentation. Microsoft baked this into Windows NT 4 and the same API has been in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 and 2008. It is robust, stable, and has been proven over time. Because all the necessary libraries are included with Windows you could write this application yourself if you wanted to.

But you don't have to. Sysinternals, a division of Microsoft, has the free contig tool that does the exact same thing. You can defrag a single file, a directory, or recurse directories. And it accepts wildcards, so you could defrag "c:\program files\ibm\lotus\domino\data\mail\*.nsf".

If you decide you want to find out if file fragmentation is an issue for your Domino server it wouldn't hurt to try out the free contig tool and compare it to the results from defrag.nsf.

P.S. While I was researching this I came across Ulrich Kraus' write up of contig. The comments there include links to more free defragmentation utilities.


  1. Thanks for the info. I noticed however, that defrag.nsf goes a step further to maintain a certain database size, thus slowing down future re-defragmentation of the databases, something that will start after a contig. Not sure how practical all this would be a compact is usually each week. The free option is certainly to be considered.
    Thanks again.

  2. Michael, thanks for the input about defrag.nsf. The Windows degfragment API does provide a way to specify a buffer within a file, it's just that contig does not enable this. I'm working on a single-file defragmenter that does have that option, and it's integrated with Windows Explorer so you can simply right-click a file and select Defrag or Defrag with options.