Drive 10 V1.1.4


Andy Foster

Review Summary

Drive 10 by Micromat is a basic, native OS X disk utility for hard disks formatted in HFS or HFS+. While Norton Utilities has more sophisticated controls for disk repair and recovery, Drive 10 performs hardware checks that Norton Disk Doctor does not. Drive 10 is easy to use and understand, comes with basic disk repair and optimization functions, and has a beautiful interface. Additionally, it only costs about $69; and for a limited time, purchasing it will also get you a free upgrade to Tech Tools 4.

Installation is straightforward, though the inability to check and repair the boot volume without booting from the CD really makes installing it on one’s hard disk questionable unless you have large files (like video) primarily on other hard disks and want to use the program to keep them optimized. Frankly, while it takes a while to boot from the CD and you have to tell it what language you want it to use each time, I saw no real difference in performance running it from a CD or a hard disk. For that reason, my personal preference is to simply run it from the CD whenever I want to check and optimize my machine’s hard disks, do them all at once, and forgo installing it anywhere.
Drive 10 is fun to run. Like any disk utility, its run time will depend on the size of your hard disks and how many files you have on them. So far, I have seen nothing to indicate that large hard disks are a problem for this utility, something that cannot be said, at least for the moment, for Speed Disk on Norton Utilities 3.0 (it croaks with may files). While they are not very full, I ran the program on two 160GB Maxtor hard disks, and it worked well, except for one small bug I am experiencing only on my dual 1.25 Ghz MDD PowerMac. The program causes a kernel panic as it returns to the Control Panel from the optimization routine under OS 10.2.6. It did exhibit this problem when the PowerMac was loaded with OS 10.2.3, the same version of OS X that is loaded on the CD. (NOTE: I do not believe this is a problem with Drive 10 but rather is something I haven’t been able to put my finger on with the PowerMac. Norton Speed Disk hangs on this machine and never even completes an optimization on this machine. Still, it is strange nonetheless, and resetting the PRAM has had no effect.)

Drive 10 gets four out of five stars (effectiveness and value).

The Real Review

One of the players in the world of Macintosh disk utilities is Micromat. While their Tech Tool utility suite is more widely known, their latest entry into the field of Mac utilities is Drive 10. A derivative of Tech Tools, whose OS 10 version is currently in development, Drive 10 is a stand-alone disk repair utility that with version 1.1 now also sports a file and disk optimization routine. In this article, I’ll take a look at version 1.1.4.

The Drive 10 box encloses a single non-copy protected, non-product-activated CD, a small users manual, and a postcard for mail in registration. The product will work on any Macintosh system running Mac OS X that has a CD or DVD drive. Your hard disk must use the HFS or HFS+ format. You have two ways of using the program. You can install it on a hard drive or run it from the bootable CD. While your inclination may be to do the first, running it from the CD gives you more freedom, as I’ll discuss later. To install the program, simply slip it into your CD or DVD drive and double-click on the Drive 10 CD’s icon. A window will open showing you a VISE installer icon labeled “Drive 10 Installer”. Next to it will be a .PDF copy of the User’s Manual. I dragged a copy of it to my hard drive before running the Installer so I could use it for reference, if needed.

Double-clicking on the VISE Installer icon launches the installation routine.

As usual, you’ll have to type in your user i.d. and administrator password to get the software to install.

Once that’s done, you’ll see the Drive 10 Installer window. Click on “Continue”; and after agreeing to the software license, you’ll get the installer window that allows you to select an Easy or Custom installation. Since this is a Mac, Easy is the standard; and it installs the application into your Applications folder. I clicked on the “Select Folder” button, though, since I like all my system utilities in one place, and installed it into my Applications/Utilities folder.

Once you get ready to run the application, you just double-click on the Drive 10 icon in whatever folder you installed it. After asking you for your name and registration number (which is inside the users manual and on a card inside the box), it’ll answer you with the main window called the Control Center which looks like this: