Drive Genius Review

As any self respecting Mac geek, I’ve put together a toolbox to address the various computer problems I come across. One tool I’ve come to rely upon is Drive Genius 2 from ProSoft Engineering.

Drive Genius 2 is a jack-of-all-trades for Mac hard drive maintenance and repair. It includes modules for troubleshooting, repairing, defragmenting, partitioning, shredding, and even editing sectors. The geek meter goes all the way to 11 on this one.

The diagnosis, repair, and drive slimming tools are excellent. I own a few drives that don’t have the automatic S.M.A.R.T diagnosis built in and Drive Genius is a big help. Likewise, the drive slimming module found several large files that had completely dropped off my radar.

The repartition tool must involve some dark magic. It allows you to repartition your drive without reformating. Using Drive Genius 2, repartition does not equal reformat. Amen. If you partition your drives, this one tool alone could be reason enough to buy Drive Genius. 2

With Drive Genius you can do just about anything you want to your hard drives and a couple things you may want to avoid. For instance, I have always avoided defragmenting my Mac hard drives.

I’ve read conflicting authorities as to whether or not this is a good thing. In the interest of science, I decided to take one for the team and repartition as part of this review. The results were inconclusive. While my computer did not turn into a burning hunk of metal, performance didn’t noticeably improve either. I don’t see myself defragging often, if ever, in the future. However, I know some users that work with large media files who swear by it. Regardless, Drive Genius 2 gives you the option.

One complaint I have with this application is the user interface. The application launches into a 3d environment with several (but not all) of the application modules available to you. There are no labels over the icons so in order to figure out what any one module is, you have to click on the icon and wait for the application go through a several second animation sequence that sweeps you down to the icon. If you clicked the wrong icon, you have to sweep back up to the large view and start over again. To further complicate matters, there is an arrow that rolls your current icons out and a new set in. At no point are all the module icons on the screen at the same time. It just feels gimmicky to me which is kind of bizarre in light of the fact that the actual Drive Genius modules feel rock solid. The application also has some animations and graphics in its individual modules. I did not find those obtrusive at all. So you have exceptional utility software tied to an awkward user interface. It would have felt so much better if they just had all of the icons on one screen with a little summary of what each one does with mouse-over. Hopefully this will get fixed in a future build. Thankfully, there is a drop down menu that simply lists the module names and allows you to skip the fancy graphics.

My heartburn with the interface aside, Drive Genius 2 is a trustworthy utility to keep in your Mac toolbox. It also is useful for routine maintenance. A license runs $99 and you can get more information at ProSoftEngineering.com. I would recommend this application as a good investment for anyone serious about drive maintenance and troubleshooting.

You can listen to this review on Surfbits Macreviewcast #197