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Some people don’t realize that the performance of their hard drive can be affected by how fragmented the files are on it. That’s why sometimes after doing a fresh Windows installation I will take a baseline benchmark for the hard drive that I can use down the road to see if my computer’s declining performance is related to the hard drive fragmentation.

DiskBench is a pretty good tool for benchmarking a hard drive. You can have it test file copy speeds, entire directory copying, read speeds, or write speeds (by creating a file). It’s a simple no-install/portable program that I’ve found to be pretty useful the few times I’ve actually fired it up.

One of the more interesting features it has is the ability to create files of varying sizes in a single batch. This can be useful to figure out if a hard drive’s performance only starts to decline when a file transfer/copy hits a particular size. It will output the size of each test file along with the transfer rate.

I’m sure you won’t be likely to use this a whole lot, but seeing that it’s portable means you can just drop it in a folder so that you have it handy.

DiskBench Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)