Drive Genius 1.5.1

Keeping your hard drive healthy is a critical part in making sure you Mac stays trouble-free. Drive Genius from Prosoft Engineering takes care of several aspects of this job in a single easy to use application.

Drive Genius offers a pretty extensive features set: It supports PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, it fixes a slew of issues that otherwise would keep your Mac from working, formats and partitions disks, performs disk diagnostics and benchmarks, defragments files, clones disks, and securely deletes documents. Booting from the Drive Genius CD works on PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, too.

Drive Genius

Most people probably look to Drive Genius when they need to fix their Mac when it stops booting, gets super sluggish, or when applications crash far too often. Its disk repair tools include disk structure, volume headers, volume bit maps, directory rebuilding, and repairing permissions. It also performs volume structure tests.

Drive Genius includes a disk repair option.

Formatting and repartitioning hard drives is something you can already do with Appleis Disk Utility application, but Drive Genius handles those tasks with a bit more flexibility. Prosoftis utility also lets you resize and shift partitions on-the-fly so you donit lose the data thatis already on your disk. Even though I didnit have any issues when I repartitioned my test drive, I recommend you backup your data before using these features.

If you suspect your drive may have a mechanical problem, or you just want to see how its performance stacks up against other drives, Drive Genius can help. It includes a test to scan for bad blocks, checks the drive mechanism, performs long term read and write integrity checks, and benchmarks your driveis performance. Internal drives that support S.M.A.R.T., or built-in monitoring that watches to see if your drive is getting ready to fail, get checked, too.

Unfortunately, you canit check the S.M.A.R.T. status of external drives. The blame for that one falls on Appleis shoulders: Mac OS X does not support S.M.A.R.T status checks on USB and FireWire-connected drives.

There was a time when defragmenting, or optimizing, Mac OS X drives was generally considered to be a bad thing. But now even Apple recommends defragmenting your drive once a year. Despite my fears that defragmenting would result in lost data and a drive that no longer booted (a fear from the early days of Mac OS X when I watched defraggers break symlink after symlink, destroying the operating system), I tested this feature, too - but not on my primary boot drive, of course.

Each component includes a simple interface.

Much to my surprise and delight, Drive Genius rejoined every file that was split across the drive, and left it bootable, too. I can finally feel comfortable recommending a disk defragger again. I havenit been able to do that since the old days of Mac OS 9.

Novice users, however, may have trouble finding some of the Drive Genius features. For some, you need to click the Volumes tab first. For others, you need to click the Devices tab. The groupings will make sense to More seasoned users, but others will likely get confused trying to figure out which features go along with each tab.

The Bottom Line
Drive Genius is a reliable, friendly disk maintenance suite with tools for the novice and advanced user alike. It includes the disk repair and diagnosing tools that everyone needs, and throws in some nice bonuses like on-the-fly repartitioning and drive benchmarking, too. I firmly believe in keeping a couple disk repair applications handy, and Drive Genius is always within armis reach.

Product: Drive Genius 1.5.1

Company: Prosoft Engineering

List Price: $99


Pros: Plenty of tools in one package, does its job well.
Cons: A few features may take some work to find.