capsule review

TechTool Pro 3.0

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The Swiss Army Knife is proof that you can sometimes solve almost any problem using a single tool. Micromat's TechTool Pro 3.0.3, comprising dozens of utilities that do everything from testing RAM and video to checking for viruses and conflicts, is another such tool. While tools like Norton Utilities (3.5 mice; Reviews, March 2001) optimize and repair hard-disk problems, TechTool goes the extra mile by including tools to test virtually every component in your computer. With this update, TechTool Pro gets a redesigned interface and several new but marginally useful features.

Tell Me What You Can't Do

TechTool Pro's value lies in its ability to check every system component to verify that it's in good working order. New features in version 3.0 include a Trash Cache, virus protection, and a knowledge-based conflict manager. The Trash Cache, which saves deleted files for quick recovery, can store a user-definable number of deleted files for as long as you wish. The virus checker is minimally useful, given that it ignores Microsoft Word macro viruses -- the only viruses Mac users are likely to encounter. And the directory-repair utility missed some directory changes we made. But TechTool's conflict manager easily tracked down major conflicts and was able to detect minor software conflicts that Casady & Greene's Conflict Catcher (5.0 mice; Reviews, December 1998) doesn't even look for.

Micromat has completely revamped TechTool's look and feel, breaking it into two distinct interfaces. One lets you run 13 of the program's most-used utilities simultaneously from a single window; the other gives you access to all of TechTool's utilities but forces you to run each in its own window, making for a cluttered workspace.

This Ain't Your Momma's Edsel: TechTool Pro's new interface may need refinement, but its complete collection of utilities will keep any tech-head happy.
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