capsule review

Drive Genius 1.0.1

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With Norton Utilities for the Mac gone but not forgotten, Mac users have relied upon Micromat’s Tech Tool 4 (   ; May 2004 ) and Alsoft’s DiskWarrior 3 (   ; October 2003 ) to manage, maintain, and repair their hard drives, especially when they need to do more than Apple’s Disk Utility can provide. Prosoft Engineering has incorporated SubRosaSoft’s VolumeWorks, CopyCatX, and DiskGuardian applications, along with some new features, into an application called Drive Genius. The program lets you resize and move volumes, create and delete partitions, and optimize, repair, and rebuild your drive. With Drive Genius, Prosoft has raised the standard for disk utilities.

Drive Genius’ slick-looking brushed-metal interface has three panes: One lists your Mac’s devices and drives and/or volumes and partitions; another displays your drive’s detailed technical specifications, and a third contains a formidable tool palette with 10 disk-management tools.

Select either a hard drive or one of its volumes to duplicate or edit a volume, shred data, launch an integrity check, obtain benchtest results, or scan your drive for bad blocks. Furthermore, you can initialize and repartition your hard drive while volumes are being repaired and defragmented.

Drive Genius features unique initialization, duplication and backup, and partitioning tools. The Duplication/Backup tool performs a device copy rather than a block-to-block copy of your drive, which means that the copy retains intricate details like icon placement and disk permissions. I especially liked the Partition tool because it lets you reallocate drive space without erasing or losing data. Simply chose a device, click the Resize icon, select the amount of drive space you want in the partition using a slider control, and click the Start icon. Seconds later, you have a partitioned drive. Contrast that with partitioning your disk using Apple’s Disk Utility: you have to back up all your data, erase the drive, partition it, and then copy the data back into the drive. (However, backing up data is always a good idea, despite Drive Genius’ ease of use.)

Furthermore, you can reset your partition map (to guarantee 100 percent use of drive space), delete volumes, or hide a specific volume.

Initializing a drive takes seconds, and verifying, repairing, or rebuilding a volume takes only minutes. The Shred tool is time-consuming, however, as Drive Genius zeroes out or writes over, your old data three times—it claims to adhere to Department of Defense standards. It shredded data and empty space at a rate of between 0.5 and 2 gigabytes a minute. But Drive Genius can take hours to defragment a drive.

Booting up my dual-processor 1.42GHz Power Mac G4 via the Drive Genius CD took a seemingly interminable 4 minutes and 35 seconds. And you must re-enter the serial number each time you boot from the CD, a task I found cumbersome. Prosoft says that its upcoming Tiger-compatible release of Drive Genius will eliminate the need to punch in a serial number every time you boot from the disc.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Drive Genius delivers excellent maintenance and management tools that let you optimize, repair, and rebuild your hard drives. While the lengthy CD boot-up and the re-entering of serial numbers was tedious, the program’s ability to initialize and repartition your hard drive while volumes are being repaired and defragmented make up for that inconvenience.

Drive Genius’ user-friendly interface and extensive tool palette are intuitive and easy to use.
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