Sep 16 2005
As far as professional-grade utilities are concerned, Drive Genius is the new kid on the block. Though it is young, it does exit the starting gate with quite a few useful features.
Prosoft Engineering claims that the included Repartition tool is Drive Genius’s “most acclaimed feature”, but I personally believe that Drive Genius is its own “most acclaimed feature”. Drive Genius comes packed with everything you need to diagnose and repair any hard drive problem you may encounter in a normal working environment, including a boot-able CD with MacOS X v10.3 or higher.
Repair: The first tool that Drive Genius greats you with is entitled, “Repair”. Repair practically mirrors Apple’s Disk Utility, with the exception of its “Rebuild” feature. The Repair tool can be used to verify and repair the basic structure of your chosen volume, repair permissions, and rebuild volume structures to recover lost or hidden files and to repair volume data inaccuracies.
Defragment: I was quite pleased with Drive Genius’s defragmentation routines. Unlike my previous experience with TechTool Pro 4, Drive Genius did not crash during the defragmentation processes, and it only took about half the time to complete.
Duplicate: This is one of the gems that sets Drive Genius apart from its competition. The Duplicate tool allows you to duplicate a volume, bit-by-bit (skipping free space), or to make an exact copy of a volume (including free space). This is a powerful addition to Drive Genius and can be used to backup your critical volumes on a daily basis, or to backup a volume before performing risky repairs or maintenance routines.
Sector Edit: This is the second gem that sets Drive Genius apart from its competition. The Sector Edit tool allows expert users to edit the raw hex data that makes up an entire volume. This is probably the most dangerous utility that you could ever use. One wrong move, and you’ll loose your entire volume. Please use the Duplicate tool to backup your volume before using the Sector Edit tool.
Shred: Do you need to erase all traces of some sensitive data? The Shred tool will do it for you, but so will MacOS X’s “Secure Empty Trash” feature (available in MacOS X v10.3 and higher).
Integrity Check: The Integrity Check tool may seem redundant when compared to a drive’s internal SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) diagnostic routines, but it is actually a very useful feature. The Integrity Check Tool will run your drive through a selected set of tests which involves either reading or writing a certain chunk of data in a repetitive fashion. The speeds of each read or write are presented in a graph. At the end of the test, an average read or write speed is clearly visible. Any result that differs from the average may be the sign of a fault in the drive.
Scan: The Scan tool scans your volume for bad sectors and runs a small suite of read verification tests. This tool should be considered as a “cousin” to the Integrity Check tool as both are used to verify the integrity and reliability of your volume.
Benchtest: Just another benchmark tool.
Initialize: Just another wipe and re-format tool.
Repartition: This is the third and final gem that sets Drive Genius apart from its competition. The Repartition tool can be used to resize and manage partitions without having to erase the entire volume. The Repartition tool is incredibly easy to use, but it is also a potentially dangerous tool. I highly recommend that you read the manual’s chapter on the Repartition tool before using it. You may want to run the Duplicate tool as well.
All things considered, Drive Genius is a good utility suite, and worth keeping around for the occasional hard drive mishap.
Pros: Drive Genius comes packed with everything you need to diagnose and repair any hard drive problem you may encounter in a normal working environment, including a boot-able CD with MacOS X v10.3 or higher. The inclusion of a backup tool, a partition tool, and a dangerous sector editing tool sets Drive Genius apart from its competition.
Cons: Some of Drive Genius’s tools can be easily replaced by tools that have been included with MacOS X. But, it’s the collection of tools that counts, not necessarily the tools themselves. The unfortunate lack of tests for other hardware components also sets Drive Genius apart from its competition.