capsule review

DiskWarrior 2.1

Nothing strikes fear into a Mac user's heart like the sight of a blinking question mark on startup -- unless it's discovering that neither rebuilding the desktop, zapping the PRAM, or starting with extensions off will make your Mac happy again. Fortunately, Alsoft's DiskWarrior 2.1 promises to bring your hard drive back from the dead. The latest version of this powerful directory-repair program adds OS 9.1 compatibility and a new function that compares the file information in your original and repaired directories.

Directory Assistance

The DiskWarrior CD contains three utilities: DiskWarrior optimizes directories, PlusOptimizer optimizes disks, and an extension (newly compatible with OS 9.1) monitors data as it's written to the directory. The only piece missing from the collection is a tool for checking your disk's physical media.

DiskWarrior works its optimization magic with a click of a button. The program starts by locating your hard drive's directory information and verifying that it's valid. If the directory data is corrupt, DiskWarrior scours your hard drive for the correct information and rebuilds the directory. The new version now compares the data from your original directory with what's on your repaired directory -- with earlier versions, you had to eyeball these changes yourself.

In my testing, the DiskWarrior extension was intelligent enough to disallow improper changes I made to my disk's directory. The overall result is correct data and faster access to files on your hard drive, though you'll have to decide whether those improvements are worth the $30 upgrade price.

The Fix Is In: DiskWarrior's minimalist interface may lack flash, but it makes hard-disk repair a one-click matter.
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