Beware Fake Windows Defragmentation Tools

Dennis Faas's picture

PC security and fraud analysts are today warning users of the alarming online spread of fake defragmentation tools for Microsoft's Windows operating system (OS). These fraudulent programs, referred to as scareware, are sold to consumers to "fix their PC," based on an illegitimate warning message, but perform no necessary function.

Bogus Defrag Tools Flood Online Market

GFI-Sunbelt Security recently posted a warning online their blog, stating that many bogus defrag tools have made their way online in recent weeks. The company recommends users steer clear of several deceptive products, including:

  • HDDRepair
  • HDDRescue
  • HDDPlus
  • UltraDefragger
  • ScanDisk
  • Defrag Express
  • WinHDD

These applications claim that they will defrag a user's Windows hard drive, charging $20 or more for the procedure, which actually does nothing. (Source: In many cases, the programs claim that a user's hard drive is full of errors, and that the purchase of additional software is necessary to resolve the problem.

How Defragging (Really) Works

For those unaware, defragmentation is a process that is used to speed up file read and write access times on a hard drive (the "C" drive). File fragmentation occurs as files are added and removed to a hard drive's media platter, which constantly spins.

A heavily fragmented hard drive will spend a great deal of time accessing parts of files that are scattered throughout the hard disk platter, resulting in longer load times.

Defragging a drive moves fragmented segments of files close together, so that the hard drive spends less time moving its read / write heads to different sections of the disk. Newer solid state hard drives (SSDs) do not use media platters and instead use computer chips to store files and thus do not need defragging.

While it's still not a bad idea to use a defrag tool regularly for most users, it's certainly not worth spending a great deal of money on with so many free Windows defrag utilities available. In fact, Windows has these defragging functions built into its operating system.

Scareware, Fraudulent Software Nothing New

Scareware is by no means a new tactic employed by online fraudsters. Scareware is software that uses tactics to scare users into making a purchase, and has been around for some time now. That said, scareware has typically been associated with PC optimization products or malware / spyware threats, but up until now, has not included defragmentation products. (Source:

Web users are encouraged to thoroughly research any product before they buy it.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet