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In Software, Automatic Should Mean What It Says

Per the American Heritage Dictionary, “automatic” means, “Acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control.” This would seem to indicate something that, after it is initiated, operated with no more input from the user, such as an automatic transmission or an automatic security light system. But unfortunately when it comes to software, “automatic” can be a relative term.

Ideally, “automatic” software would be simple to install. There would be no extended training periods for IT personnel to learn how to use it, nor the necessity to study lengthy documentation. Following installation, the software would run without further input from the user. While it is running, it would never interfere with computer resources or users on the system. And it also wouldn’t require scheduling of any sort.

As any computer system administrator or IT person knows, many solutions touted as “automatic” violate many of these factors, beginning with complex installation procedures and continuing through the decisions the user has to make in order for the software to run. Probably the worst offender is software that, while labeled “automatic” must yet be scheduled. This is true, for example, of many defragmentation solutions.

Not only must these defragmenters be scheduled, but there is a step prior to the scheduling that isn’t mentioned in the promotion and advertising: analysis. Each and every hard drive must be analyzed for its level of fragmentation in order to set a defragmentation schedule that might address it. Such analysis and scheduling requires a trained and experienced IT person–something that is in short supply these days. Hence, valuable company resources are being wasted on a solution that is supposed to be “automatic.”

There’s more. While running, these defragmenters have a negative impact on performance for users. And probably worst of all, due to today’s enormous file sizes and disk capacities, scheduled defragmentation is no longer keeping up with the fragmentation; in between scheduled runs, fragmentation continues to build and continues to impact performance. In some cases, as with very large drives, fragmentation isn’t being addressed at all. So not only are these “automatic” solutions not automatic, they’re not even performing the functions they are supposed to be performing.

A truly automatic defragmentation solution runs invisibly, in the background, whenever otherwise idle system resources are available, never interfering with performance for users. It is easy to install and, once installed, it runs from there on out. It requires no scheduling. Best of all, it consistently maximizes performance.

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When choosing an automatic solution, make sure it is truly automatic.

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