Drive Genius 3.0 Review
The very kind folks at Prosoft Engineering (http://www.prosofteng.com) were nice enough to send me a copy of their Drive Genius 3.0 software to review. I had originally seen this software on one of my regular Mac sites that I visit and thought to myself “This is exactly what I need to help speed up my slow drive.” I’ve been using Onyx and it works for cleaning caches, etc… but it didn’t seem to help the drives performance in any way.
A little information on Drive Genius 3:
Drive Genius has established itself as THE industry standard disk utility for the Mac platform.
Prosoft continues to develop and evolve Drive Genius by improving and adding new features with the latest release, Drive Genius 3. Drive Genius 3 is built upon the same award-winning foundation of the original Drive Genius. Drive Genius 3 now runs as a 64-bit application on Mac OS 10.6 or later with a compatible 64-bit processor and it now offers RAID support. A new feature called DrivePulse® has been added as well as improvements to Defrag, Repartition and Scan. Drive Genius 3 also now offers email notifications to alert you when long-running tasks are completed.
The new DrivePulse® feature helps you monitor the overall health of your drive, alerting you to possible issues before they become major problems. DrivePulse® monitors hardware (via SMART and bad-block testing), volume consistency (via verifying volume structures) and volume fragmentation (via examining volume structures). DrivePulse® automates everything so the user never has to remember to run these tests manually.
The most popular feature in Drive Genius is Defrag. In Drive Genius 3 we have improved Defrag and it now provides even better defragmentation of your files and even more fragmentation information in a new user interface. It will defrag the drive by combining all the empty free space together into one contiguous block, this in turns improves the overall speed and performance of the drive. Enhanced repartition has also been improved and gives you the ability to add, delete, hide, expand or shrink OS X partitions so you can organize your drive more efficiently. DriveSlim™ is another popular feature which helps you get the most out of your Macintosh by identifying unnecessary files that are clogging and filling up your hard drive. DriveSlim allows you to reclaim space on your hard drive for files that you really need and use.
Drive Genius 3 also features a wide array of other features including; directory repair, device/volume cloning, integrity testing, benchmarking, secure erase and several other tools to help maintain your hard drive.
Drive Genius was originally introduced in at Macworld San Francisco in 2005 and since that time it has become one of the top selling hard drive utilities on the Macintosh platform. Drive Genius 3 ships on a bootable DVD.
Onwards to the specifics:
Publisher: Prosoft Engineering, Inc
Free Demo Available at: http://www.prosofteng.com/downloads/download.php
Requires Mac OSX v10.5.3 or newer – 512 MB RAM Minimum
DVD drive – 512 MB RAM minimum – Intel Processor
Documentation: PDF Manual
Support: Prosoft takes pride in providing the best customer service possible. We offer unlimited FREE pre and post sales technical support via phone or email. Our support team is located in our corporate office in Northern California and is avail able from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. We also offer low cost replacement DVDs and reasonable upgrade policies. If a customer looses their DVD or needs an updated one mailed, it is only $7.50…enough to cover our costs. Other companies charge up to $29 + shipping.
Intended Audience: With its huge list of features, Drive Genius 3 is appealing to anyone with a Mac who is interested in improving the speed and performance of their Mac.
Where to Buy: Apple Stores and most other online stores
Support: 925-426-6306 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This tool is a disk management system that allows the user to perform multiple tasks in order to squeeze the maximum performance out of their drive. As we all know, the more files you add to a hard drive, the slower they perform and ultimately affect your system speed.
The install DMG file is around 28 megs, so it’s a meager install.
The software has a nifty user interface that moves in a 3D space and functions similarly to Cover Flow in OS X (that’s the best way I can describe it at least).
Here are 2 screenshots of the UI:
Youtube video showcasing briefly the user interface of the software:
The software offers 13 tools in total. They’re broken down as:
7. Integrity Check
13. Sector Edit
As the name implies, this section gives you all the information you’ll ever need for your drive. It displays every drive on your Mac and gives you full General information in addition to details. In fact, there’s so much information in it that only the purest geek will actually read it all. 🙂
This function isn’t too dissimilar over the Windows defrag tool. You select a drive and begin the defragmentation of it. When selecting a drive, it will analyze that specific drive and show you a visual depiction of how fragmented the drive is in addition to the specific percentage. It also recommends if a defrag is needed or not. It gives 2 views, Volume Fragmentation and File Fragmentation. To me the File Fragmentation option is easier to understand because it lists specific files, size and count to give you a true idea of how much clutter your system has. This tool doesn’t take nearly as long as the Windows defrag does. My iMac has a 500gb drive and it took approximately 20 minutes to run. The final result was a noticeable increase is speed.
DriveSlim is a tool for “slimming” files on your Mac. You’re given a selection of slimming options to choose from. They are Large Files, Duplicate Files, Unused Localization, Universal Binaries and Cache/Temporary Items. Each one will target those respective areas and optimize them and/or remove unnecessary files.
Repair does exactly that.. it verifies permissions and corrects them if the need arises. This section gives you the following options: Verify, Repair (usable after verifying), Rebuild (also useable after verifying), Repair Permissions and finally Verify Preferences. I found this tool to be useful as sometimes disk permissions can get out of whack depending on what you’re installing and configuring.
This section will scan your drive and tests the actual blocks (or sectors) of your hard drive. This can take a bit of time and even more so if you choose the option to perform an extended scan.
DrivePulse will continually monitor your drives and volumes in the background for reliability and performance. It will give you alerts of potential issues before they become actual problems. It states that “drives will only be processed after the user has been inactive for a period of time”, nice! That’s the best time to do it, when I’m away from my desk. This is a great feature!
7. Integrity Check
Integrity Check performs long term integrity tests on selected drives. Options given are graph type, test type, read/write size and test duration. This is a nice function to run to see the general status of your drive.
This section allows you to quickly erase a drive and create new HFS+ volumes. This tool is one to be cautious of because using it incorrectly will result in bad things. If you like running multiple partitions and need to manage them, this is a great tool… otherwise you shouldn’t need to use it.
Another great section. This section gives you the ability to Expand, Shrink, Add, Delete, Hide or Reveal volumes on any drive within your Mac. Again, if you’re an average user and only have 1 partition, this is a section of the software you shouldn’t need to use. For advanced users, it will be of great benefit.
The name says it all here, it allows you to select a volume and duplicate it. This comes in handy if you purchase a new drive and want to transfer your existing image to it or if you want to set up an identical drive on another system altogether.
This might be one of the best parts of the program. With it you can securely erase a drive, volume, file or folder. If you have valuable data or personal and you want to ensure that it’s properly deleted, then this area of Drive Genius 3 will be a godsend.
Benchtest reminds me of a program I used to use on my PC back in the day. It will benchmark your drives/volumes and compare the results with those from other computers. It’s a great way to figure out if you’re running where you need to be.
13. Sector Edit
Sector Edit is the final tool in Drive Genius 3. This tool SHOULD NOT be used by anyone but expert users. This gives you the ability to edit the raw data on your drives, volumes and files. Editing this data is similar to editing the registry on a Windows machine… the consequences could be severe to the tune of a non-booting system. Again, use this only if you’re an expert user and are comfortable editing this sort of information.
I personally ran the tools that, as an advanced Mac user, deemed necessary. Those tools were Defrag, DriveSlim, Repair and Benchtest. Upon completing those areas, I noticed a very marked gain to my drives operation. It no longer stutters when I click a large directory and it just runs better. My benchtest came back and I was happy with the speed results. I wish I had ran a benchtest prior to running the software to see how much of a gain I achieved, but that will come on the next run.
One important note is that some of the features of the program require that you use the bootable DVD that comes with it (if you chose the physical shipment from Prosoft). You can create a bootable DVD from the download and Prosoft includes directions on how to do so.
Bottom line, this is a great tool. The UI is actually fun to use and it works wonders on your hard drives performance. There’s many tools out there for Mac that can do similar functions, but the folks at Prosoft Engineering were able to effectively pull everything you’d possibly want to do in one suite. At a retail price of $99.00, it’s a bargain considering the gains in improvement you’ll see.
On a final note, please be sure to check back later as I’ll be posting my experience with it after a months use.
For more information about Prosoft Engineering and Drive Genius 3, visit http://www.prosofteng.com