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First Look: Drive Genius 2, disk utility

updated 02:45 pm EST, Thu February 28, 2008

First Look: Drive Genius 2

Your data is only as safe as your hard drive. Backing up can protect your data, but for complete protection, you need to maintain your hard disk. Not only can hard disk maintenance keep your hard disk from failing and losing valuable data, but hard disk maintenance can speed up your computer by making it run more efficiently. Although Apple provides every Macintosh with its Disk Utility program, you may want a more powerful disk maintenance and repair program, such as Drive Genius 2 from ProSoft Engineering.

When you start Drive Genius 2, the program displays its options in a dynamic user interface where each program option appears as an icon. Moving the mouse pointer over an icon makes it zoom towards you before launching that particular feature. While this may seem like eye candy, it does make the program fun to use and indirectly encourages you to use it more often.


Drive Genius 2 offers a graphical user interface


Drive Genius 2 divides its features into three categories: Maintenance, Management, and Optimization tools. The maintenance tools repairs typical hard disk problems such as directory corruption, which occurs when your computer literally loses track of the files stored in a particular folder. This happens because computers store both files on the hard disk and the physical location of those files in a table.

If this table gets fouled up, the computer can't find its files even though they still physically exist. Directory repairing simply verifies that all files listed in directory tables still physically exist and that all existing files are accurately listed in a directory table. Directory corruption occurs on every computer, so without repairing directories periodically, your computer may seem to lose data even when your hard disk is working perfectly fine.

Of course, hard disks sometimes physically fail, so Drive Genius 2 can run integrity checks to warn you when your hard disk might be on the verge of failing. By knowing this ahead of time, you can backup your data more frequently and use Drive Genius 2 to clone your hard disk to another location such as an external hard disk. Now if your hard disk fails, you'll have an exact duplicate stored on this external hard disk, which you can use to store on a new or repaired hard disk to get your Macintosh up and running right away.

The second group of hard disk tools are the management tools. If you want to erase a hard disk, Drive Genius 2 can reformat the whole thing. If you have important data stored on a hard disk, you can securely wipe out all files using Drive Genius 2's shred feature, which conforms to the Department of Defense's 5220.22 specification for overwriting a hard disk multiple times with random information to wipe away all traces of previous files.


Shredding a hard disk prevents anyone from retrieving a file


The third group of Drive Genius 2's features are optimization tools. To compare your hard disk's physical capabilities, Drive Genius offers a Bench Test feature so you can visually see how fast (or slow) your hard disk may be in storing or retrieving data.


Check how fast your Macintosh is compared to other models


Contrary to popular belief, Mac OS X hard disks can get fragmented. Disk fragmentation occurs as files grow or shrink in size. Initially, the computer stores each file in continuous strips but the more files you store and the more you modify your files, the less free room your hard disk has and the more open gaps appear between existing files.

If the computer stores a large file, it may need to divide that file into smaller chunks, which it stuffs in the gaps between existing files. This breaking up of files and storing them in different physical locations is called fragmentation, so defragmenting a hard disk simply yanks all your files off the hard disk so it can store them back on the hard disk more efficiently as one continuous strip.

Drive Genius 2 is typically the type of program people buy after they start having problems, but if you use it before you have problems, you can prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you want to keep your computer in top working condition, the $99 investment in Drive Genius 2 is worth safeguarding your data.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Andru

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    0

    It doesn't work...

    on machines bought in late 2007.

    I found that out rather inconveniently as I broke out the copy I purchased at MacWorld08 to fix my laptop yesterday.

    To my utmost consternation, the damn thing won't work on my MacBook Pro purchased in Dec. I called support and they gave me a rather lame reply asking me to wait for an update.

    Yeah right!

    Like I am going to wait till I get an update to get my Mac fixed. How much more lame can that get from tech support.

    DiskWarrior wasn't any help either as I have yet to receive my DW4.1 update DVD that will boot on my laptop.

    Thank goodness I had a copy of TechTool Pro 4. These guys had a working copy by MacWorld08 and they gave me the update DVD that would boot and run on my computer at MacWorld. If it weren't for them, I'd have to had to make a trip to the Apple Store.

  1. Gordon B

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2002

    0

    Prosoft Reply

    Gordon from Prosoft here---

    3rd Party developers such as Prosoft license the boot technology from Apple Computer. Unfortunately, Apple has not released a bootable Leopard DDK yet, and the existing licensable technology from Apple does not support machines released since June 2007, so we are indeed waiting for that. Some developers choose to hack or make unsupported changes to Apple's boot technology, however, Prosoft does not. There are other workarounds which do not involve hacks that our support team can work with you on, as we wait for Apple to release a new boot DDK to support these newer machines-

  1. burger

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2000

    0

    Apple is losing my praise

    I used to rip on my PC buddies that had to deal with making boot disks or having to have a specific disk to install on the Dell or Compaq system. We used to be able to pick up nearly any Mac OS install disk, boot any mac and install the OS. Then, Apple decided to go the new route of having the Install disk be specific to the hardware. You suck! I have over 40 install disks in my office and I never thought the day would come where I had to catalog which disks worked with which systems so religiously.

    Here's an example- Disk names: MacBook MacBook Pro Mac Pro For Mac Computers Power Mac G5 PowerBook G4

    Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Just because it says Mac Pro, doesn't mean it will boot all Mac Pros. Just because it says PowerBook G4, doesn't mean it works on all 12", 15" and 17" models and versions.

    Boooooo......!

  1. horvatic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002

    0

    Drive Genius 2 crashes

    I have drive Genius 2 and it crashes during defragmentation. I have to keep restarting it in Leopard. Disk Warrior sent me a disk a week after I requested my 4.1 update.

  1. Mimi-mim

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    looks very good

    I'm not completely satisfied with DiskWarrior, so Drive Genius 2 looks very interesting to me. I'm downloading the trial version. There's certainly plenty of room for competition in this arena. Maybe I'll just buy Drive Genius 2 instead of upgrading DiskWarrior. It's such a pain to buy and use DiskWarrior.

  1. Gordon B

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2002

    0

    Trial Version

    Gordon from Prosoft here-

    The trial version of Drive Genius is actually very limited in terms of what it does. As a disk utility that you don't necessarily have to install, and one that has features you might only use every once in awhile, it's very hard to have a demo to be honest. We can't really do a 30-day demo, since you could install it, defrag all your drives, repartition them, do benchmarking for all your drives, do a repair, do SMART testing on all your drives, etc and get all that done before 30 days is up (in essence, be able to use the product and all it's features without purchasing). I think the competition has similar issues and therefore have fairly limited demos too...

    Gordon from Prosoft

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