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Reader Reports on Drive GeniusReturn to News Page

Drive Genius User Reports
Posted: 7/22/2005
Last Updated: 10/13/2006 (Drive Genius V1.5.1/Univ. Binary)

This page has reader feedback on Prosoft's Drive Genius. I have not used this software personally but welcome reports from anyone that has. (Please include system/drive details, OS version and Drive Genius version in reports. Thanks!)

Drive Genius 1.5.1 Update/Universal Binary Prosoft eng. sent an email about a Universal Binary update to Drive Genius with a link to a PDF doc (http://www.prosofteng.com/press/DG_Universal.pdf) Current owners of the software can buy the univ. update for $10 per the PR. The latest version as of Oct. 13th, 2006 is v1.5.1.

Reader Feedback on Drive Genius: (most recent first)
If you've used Drive Genius, let me know what you think.

(added 3/2/2006)
" I purchased Drive Genius 3 weeks ago since I'm a Mac tech and have to work on a lot of machines. Anyway, it's been great so far. It's helped on a Powerbook, G4 and my dual G5 2GHz. My only complaint so far is that the defrag takes FOREVER. I'm not saying it doesn't help system performance, but it gives me bad flashbacks of TechTool Pro on OS 9, as that defrag utility was also dog slow.

I also found that it isn't reliable in duplicating a hard drive with corrupt files and/or bad blocks. I spent hours trying to rescue a G4 with a dying hard drive last week and almost gave up. The duplication utility couldn't handle the bad files and would quit instead of skipping over them. It also refused to fix the drive using the Verification utility. That tool is designed to identify/fix bad blocks but it failed miserably in my experience.

Believe it or not, I installed the new HD, installed 10.4 and used Apple's built-in migration tool. Well, lo and behold, it worked! It gave a report of the bad files, but at least it completed the process and allowed me to transfer all my files and settings to the new drive.
-Devin C."


(added 2/28/2006)
" Hi Mike, Great site. Just last night, I defragged using Drive Genius (v1.2). No Problems - lots of Benefits.

Hardware:
Quad G5 Tower
2 x 74GB WDC WD740GD-00FLC0 10Krpm internal SATA drives (internal bus)
--DriveA Partition1: 3GB swap/vm
--DriveA Partition2: 66GB MacOSX + Applications
--DriveB Partition1: 3GB scratch/caches
--DriveB Partition2: 66GB /Users
1 x 120GB LaCie Firewire 400 external 7,200rpm drive: ~/Music ~/Movies

Software:
Mac OS X 10.4.5 w/all updates

Process:
Step 1. I have a v1.1 cd, so my first step was to buy, download, and burn (using Disk Utility) the Drive Genius 1.2 disk image for $5. "Yes, the current version of Drive Genius v1.2 is compatible with Tiger."
http://www.prosofteng.com/products/drive_genius.php

Step 2. While still in Disk Utility, repair drive permissions for my boot volume.

Step 3. Boot from (freshly burnt) Drive Genius 1.2 cd

Step 4. Repair -> Verify all volumes

Step 5. Defrag a volume, then Repair -> Rebuild same volume, repeat for each volume

Step 6. reboot

Step 7. profit

Why defrag?
The version of Mac OS X that is powering my quad g5 tower was first freshly installed as 10.3 in my DP1.25GHz tower on SCSI drives. I booted the DP1.25 tower from the Tiger install CD (which wouldn't install on the quad - but Disk Utility ran just fine - which is what I was booting from it for) and using Disk Utility, I cloned each of my partitions onto an external firewire drive. Then I booted from the Tiger CD onto the quad tower, I partition the new drives, then I reversed the cloning process from the firewire drive to the SATA drives.

I rebooted, and everything was where I left it, except for little snitch freaking out, and all my Adobe and Macromedia apps needed to be re-authenticated. Also, Mail.app started to crash with an "out of space in your home directory" error. Restarting Mail.app fixed the problem, but it was chronic and it needed to be fixed.

Everything was usable, but my drives were a fragmented mess. I want my system running at tip-top. So that's when I started the defrag process that I detailed above. I'm very happy.

After defragging, I didn't even see the "Mac OS X blue boot screen or window (the one with the process bar) upon startup. It went from grey apple logo, straight to my desktop. Wow!

Drive Genius is a nice replacement for Speed Disk. You can't use customizable profiles like Speed Disk, but still, it does a nice job.

One quick note, in the back of the drive genius manual, there's a section on moving the swap to a new partition. Actually, I'm mentioned in that section because I worked on that process. But I just wanted to note that for Tiger that process has changed and the new process can be found at:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20060206013801960
Thank you, Kenneth "TigerKR" R "


(added 2/27/2006 - in reply to defrag problem report today)
"The current version of Drive Genius is 1.2. I have had no problem with it on a G4 Dual 1.25 with 10.4.4. I haven't tried it with 10.4.5.
(I asked if he'd defragged an OS X drive with v1.2-Mike)
Yes, I defragged running it from an external Firewire drive. No problems.
Regards, Ken "


(added 2/27/2006 - in reply to defrag problem report today)
"Hi Mike, Here's a quickie about Drive Genius.
I've been using Drive Genius since last August and it works great. I defrag with it every month on 5 Macs without a single hiccup. Those people reporting problems with it must be having other issues that it cannot fix for them. I've repaired permissions, rebuilt volumes and use their benchmark all the time without any problems whatsoever. I'm using the latest version now, I think it's v1.2.
I also use the others, Disk Warrior, TTP, etc.. But Drive Genius is the one I use the most and it's my personal favorite.
Take care, Niko "


(added 2/27/2006)
"I bought DG because I was unhappy with the time TechTool Pro took to defrag and with the reporting feature.
I ran DG defragmentation as soon as I took it out of the box. (Just for the record I asked what DG version he was using.-Mike) The first thing I noticed when t was through was that the drive graph showed an incomplete defragmentation. While still booted from the CD I ran the Repair feature, then rebooted. Lo and behold, a host of unhappy abnormalities greeted me, and it's likely I've not found them all. They include: Safari and Address Book will not launch, iCal launches but displays no data, the time was reset to five hours ahead (from where I am, it was re-set to GMT), and the icon for Address Book was reset to a generic Apple icon (looks like the old AppleWorks icon).

Now I'm scared to do anything for fear of further screwing up my machine. I got DG because the reviewer at MacAddict really liked it, but now I wish I had stuck with Disc Warrior and TechTool Pro.
Jim W.
Lynchburg, VA USA "

I'm leery of running a defragger from any software on an OS X volume based on some past reports here (and on the TTpro feedback page) but later ones above (using v1.2) reported no problems. You first want to make sure there's free space on the drive and it has no directory problems... and I'd want a working backup of the drive also just in case (good to have regardless).
Update - Jim later sent a follow-up mail:


"Thanks, Mike. I used Drive Genius 1.2 on OS 10.4.5. You are quite right, of course, but I was ignorant of the problems others have had with defragging an OS 10 drive. (I had suggested having a backup just in case, running repairs, etc. on the drive before the defrag, have plenty of free space, etc.-Mike) I should have left well enough alone. I had backed up files, but not the entire drive, and I had run Disk Warrior a week before. I was waiting to hear from Prosoft before attempting a repair. Their responses (two of them) just came and judging from grammar and syntax they outsource their support. The responses, pasted below, don't offer much hope. I'm going to run Disk Warrior and maybe then Apple's Disc Utility. If they can't fix it, I guess I'll try to reload the system software.
-Jim W.

#1 This is very strange, this we have Not seen before. Were any of the Drive Genius processes you ran interrupted in any way? The first thing I would recommend is you backup the data on your entire hard drive, Drive Genius does have a Duplicate feature. At this point you will more than likely need to reload the these applications or the just the applications that became affected.

#2 Did the defrag complete? Did the repair complete? Was any process interrupted? What do you see when you verified the drive? What messaged did you get when you repaired the drive? Have you tried to repair the permissions? "


(added 8/30/2005)
" I bought Drive Genius for my emac 700/nVidia Power PC G4. I haven't really been doing much with huge file movement but I have had the computer for 3+ years and I wanted to clean it up. DG seemed a good solution. I am running X 10.2.8 with 256MB RAM.
I downloaded 1.1.5, and used it everytime. Anyway, here's the drama.

On verify, repair, and rebuild, I get the same error:

Error: Invalid extents btree depth information (2,0).
Error: Extent record counts disagrees with the number of records found (172/0).
Error: Volume bitmap shows block 1075 to be used but the catalog shows it to be free (-1073742960,1075,4584172).
Error: Free block count does not agree with the catalog (7046055/4584171).

I assume this is why I cannot defrag. So I mailed Prosoft with these error codes, told them my mac information, and asked why I cannot defrag or more importantly why DG cannot repair this. And the response was :

    "Okay. If you get the same problem with Drive Genius v1.1.5, and I see this is a B-Tree error, then the message I see if (it's?-Mike) telling you that Drive Genius itself is not able to repair this volume. With this being the case you will not be able to run the defrag."

I've seen a similar error like this on this product review page. Prosoft had no answers. Should I switch to Disk Warrior?
-Lenny R. "

I personally trust DiskWarrior more than any other utility although it doesn't have all the features of many others. It would be my first choice for directory repair (just make sure you have the latest version if runnin tiger). Also as a FYI - some have reported problems with defragging (with DG and others like TTPro) so I'd want a backup of the disk before I tried that. (And a backup creates a defragged disk in the process on the target.) There was a discussion recently in the main news page with Notes on Drive Free Space and Fragmentation that also might be worth reading.


(added 8/12/2005)
" Just to let you know the latest version of Drive Genius (1.1.5) now works on my system. I had purchased vers 1.1 sometime ago, but was never able to get the Verify, Repair, or Rebuild feature to work either on a Panther or a Tiger volume. Alterted by ProSoft that an update was available, I downloaded and burned a replacement boot disk of the app and successfully repaired both internal and external disks.

I'm running OS 10.4.2 on an internal hard drive on a Gigabit Ethernet which has been upgraded to a 1.4Ghz processor from OWC. And OS 10.3.9 on an 160GB external 400 firewire drive also from OWC.
-Bill W. "


Note: reports below were from before v1.1.5 was relased (using 1.1.1 typically).

(added 7/22/2005)
" Here's the promised Drive Genius report. Most of it revolves around work done on my TiBook (not wanting to risk the drives on my desktop until I knew what to expect.)

I tested repair, de-fragment, sector editor, and benchtest. (I have used duplicate, as done in the SubRosa software product CopyCatX, and it works as advertised. That said, I'm only assuming that it's the same under this label.)

backed up drive
started up from Drive Genius 1.1.1 CD
ran repair, verify; got

    "Error : Invalid extents btree depth information (2,0).
    Error : Extents record count disagrees with the number of records found (20/0).
    Error : Volume bitmap shows block 33217 to be used but the catalog shows it to be free. (-1073743184,1473,3470963)
    Error : Free block count does not agree with the catalog (6029018/9035285). "

ran rebuild and got same exact errors, (with same exact numbers)

put Tibook into target mode on my main mac and ran DiskWarrior. It indicated changes were made, and I re-wrote the directory.

ran Drive Genius repair, verify... and got the same exact numbers once again.
Ran Drive Genius repair, repair... and got the same exact numbers once again. (see * below)
removed TiBook from target mode, rebooted into single user mode and ran fsck. It reported no errors.
ran DG repair, verify... and got the same exact numbers once again.

returned to the TiBook's backup drive.
ran Drive Genius repair, verify... it said it needed repair. Chose repair from Drive Genius pop up menu . On re-analysis, got "volume appears to be OK"

Ran DiskWarrior on the backup (BU) volume, expecting no changes. DW reported 40 files with incorrect text encoding values; 6 folder incorrect custom icon flags repaired; root creation date repaired.
replaced directory.
ran Drive Genius repair, verify on BU volume again. got "volume appears to be OK"
rebooted TiBook with option key down and choose reboot from the BU volume, which I maintain with "SuperDuper!"

Wiped out TiBook main drive with Apple's Disk Utility, and restored with "SuperDuper!" from the BU.
restarted, and re-ran DG, repair, verify. Got a clean bill of health at last!

Questions (Rhetorical): (I'd send these to Prosoft to see what they say-Mike)
On TiBook: Why could Drive Genius not fix the problems it reported? Why did fsck report "disk appears OK" if DG found problems? Why did the rebuild (both with Drive Genius and DiskWarrior) fail to correct the problem? Why did DW report changes after DG did a "rebuild?" (see possible explanation/question next.) I'd run DiskWarrior and FSCK any number of times on my TiBook, but since neither seemed to acknowledge that which Drive Genius found, there is no way of knowing how long those reported problems existed.

On BU: does Drive Genius not check for all the things that DiskWarrior checks for? Does Drive Genius only check for directory structure, leaving out file flags, icons and so on? (If so, that's probably OK, since the directory structures themselves were OK, but it's nice to have the "extra checks" of DiskWarrior... Is this the reason for the fact that DiskWarrior reported changes even after the Drive Genius rebuild?)

OTOH: both DiskWarrior and Drive Genius followed my "first rule of disk repair" - do no damage. True: I did it right (backup first, etc) but violating this rule is cause for me to trash a product...

Drive Genius provided technical information beyond DiskWarrior's reports. This lead me to the complete drive reformat/restore from BU, and corrected an apparent problem that DiskWarrior didn't report nor repair (but note that while Drive Genius couldn't repair it either, it at least reported it.)

Other tests: Drive Genius successfully de-fragmented my test drive.

Summary:
Drive Genius is a valid addition to any repair toolkit, but like everything else for correcting such exotic problems (and trust me, a hard drive can get screwed up in completely unimaginable ways) it will succeed where others fail, and fail where others succeed - there are just too many ways for things to go wrong with a hard drive, for any software to be 100%, 100% of the time. Having tried literally every piece of repair software released for the Mac, over my 26 years in computing and service, I can say that while they improve, they continue to be imperfect.

Would I recommend Drive Genius? Yes. If you're a drive geek (like me) just the sector editor alone is worth the OWC price of $65. Would I recommend it for Joe Sixpak? Not really. He could hurt himself with it. If I were going to create a laundry-list of drive utilities for OS X, in order, they would be:

  1. DiskWarrior
  2. Drive Genius
  3. DataRescue X
  4. TechTool Pro 4.

(he later wrote)
re: my rhetorical questions on Drive Genius (which you suggested I send to Prosoft):

I did, in fact, send them the report before I sent it to you. (As a retired programmer myself, it's a programmer's courtesy kinda thing...)

Got a phone call back from them within an hour or so, thanking me for the report, and indicating that they had some inkling of some of these issues, but appreciated the extra info and details. Further, they are anticipating an update in "a few weeks" which will tackle some (unspecified) of these issues.

Their response was prompt and courteous, something I've come to see is standard from Prosoft, and which puts another feather in their cap, IMHO.
Cordially, Tracy V.
------------------------------------------
(*) (Drive genius identical reports before and after repair)
Error : Invalid extents btree depth information (2,0).
Error : Extents record count disagrees with the number of records found (20/0).
Error : Volume bitmap shows block 33217 to be used but the catalog shows it to be free. (-1073743184,1473,3470963)
Error : Free block count does not agree with the catalog (6029018/9035285).

Analyzing an HFS Plus volume.
Analyzing the extents overflow file.
Analyzing the catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Analyzing the catalog hierarchy.
Analyzing the extended attributes file.
Comparing the volume bitmap to the catalog files.
Analyzing the volume information.
Repairing volume.
Rechecking volume.
Analyzing an HFS Plus volume.
Analyzing the extents overflow file.
Analyzing the catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Analyzing the catalog hierarchy.
Analyzing the extended attributes file.
Comparing the volume bitmap to the catalog files.
Analyzing the volume information.

Analyzing the catalog file.
Error : Invalid extents btree depth information (2,0).
Error : Extents record count disagrees with the number of records found (20/0).
Error : Volume bitmap shows block 33217 to be used but the catalog shows it to be free. (-1073743184,1473,3470963)
Error : Free block count does not agree with the catalog (6029018/9035285).. "


(added 7/16/2005)
" Dear Mike, I purchased Drive Genius a few months ago, and of got to say the product is fantastic!

Both TechTool and DiskWarrior unable at time to fix a badly 'damaged' hard disk in a PowerBook G4 (at the time with 10.3.9) but Drive Genius did so quickly without fanfare. Also it has optimized/minor repaired all my other computers hard drive (now with 10.4.2 on).

Lastly I should point out the interfacing is really easy and straightforward to get on with. Unlike Drive Genius competitors there's no need to read extensive manuals before you start hitting buttons, plus it's quick. The only feature which perhaps shouldn't be so easy to access is Sector Edit.
Regards, James C.
(I asked if he was using 1.1.1 (latest version as of July 2005))
Drive Genius v1.1.1 and now OS 10.4.2, but used on 10.3.9 with a un-starable PowerBook which it fixed owning to Drive Genius. "

Some users reported bad experiences with it (I'd almost be leery defragmenting a drive with it from some of the comments) but then even OS X updates have good and bad experiences.


(added 7/15/2005)
" I have used Drive Genius on a Dual 2.7Ghz Power Mac G5 which arrived with the OEM installation of Tiger 10.4 although I believe I had updated to 10.4.1 at the time I used Drive Genius. I used the non- destructive partitioning feature to preserve the OEM original software package and to create two additional partitions for 10.3.9.
As there was already a TechTool Pro 4 eDrive partition, Drive Genius took the remaining space from a 250GB drive and created two additional partitions for a total of 4. eDrive is about 4GB and the others are equally sized at around 75GB.
Due to the formatted size of the drive not being truly 250GB that's the way it worked out.
All are bootable and all work as expected. Drive Genius was easy to use but I have only put it to that one task.
David"

I assume he was using v1.1.1 of Drive Genius but wrote to ask.


(added 7/15/2005)
" I'm a part-time Mac consultant.
I've used Drive Genius a little bit-just started using it.

I used it recently to re-partition my external firewire drive, without deleting my data, to create partitions to image the Tiger install DVD onto a partition to boot from and install Tiger onto a non-DVD eMac.

As the documentation did explain beforehand, the re-partition did take a loooong time (like 6-8 hours, I can't remember exactly). But it worked fine, and all my data was fine.

I also used Prosoft's Data Recovery (Data Rescue?-Mike) to recover a ton of data from my iBook's failing hard disk, and it worked very well.
- Rad W. "

There's an older page here with user feedback on Data Rescue when it was first released.


(added 7/15/2005)
" Mike, Using Drive Genius version 1.1.1 on a QS/2001/Giga DP1.467GHz/1GB RAM.
I bought Drive Genius from your original link to it. I thought that it might help recover a badly toasted Maxtor/FW/250GB/5400rpm drive that DiskWarrior 3.0.2 could not fix, but could recover 8GB from using the temporary Directory it makes.
Drive Genius was absolutely no help with it, it could not even mount it most of the time, or even come up with the names of the two Partitions, a problem DW3 also had about 1/4 of the time. As a last ditch effort I tried NDD on it and though it said it could fix it... I haven't been able to get anything off the Drive since NDD's attempt which Froze the machine up.

I probably should have known before hand, and is probably of little use or worry for most users, but I'll mention it just in case someone else doesn't... Drive Genius will not work with regular HFS (vs HFS+) Formatted Disks/Partitions.

I've tried it on two other HDs, one it said it had repaired, but kept saying it needed repair again... fixed it with DW3 then Drive Genius said it was fine. The second HD it said needed repair, I checked and double checked with DW3, which said the drive was fine, so I left it alone and it doesn't seem to be having any problems

I'm defragging a 25.5GB Partition on a WD/120GB drive that was 82% full, and it's about 3/5ths of the way through approaching 4 hours. While running dnetc Activity Monitor showed about 90 to 100% CPU for Drive Genius and it's SHFSPlus... quitting dnetc only raised it to 110 to 120%, with SHFSPlus never quite reaching 100%... single threaded methinks. Activity Monitor shows only about 15 R/Ws per second, and my guess is that'd be Sectors or maybe Blocks per Second. 90 to 104KB/Sec tranfer showing on Activity Monitor during this process.

I like the Graph that Defrag uses. Repair hasn't shown me much benefit yet. Duplicate I haven't tried yet. Sector Edit was a strong buying point for me since Norton won't be doing Macs anymore. Shred I have not used yet. Integrity Check and Scan seem OK. BenchTest I like, and may turn out to be more accurate than other Disk Benching APPs... not sure yet.
-BDAqua
(he later wrote)
Update... After 6 hrs on that 25GB Partition, it finished, but upon running Drive Genious' own Verify option, it reported...

"Processing the catalog btree\
Error : Catalog record count disagrees with the number of records found (1411176/41906).
Error : Volume bitmap shows block 2766 to be used but the catalog shows it to be free. (-1073742672,2766,1822035)
Error : Free block count does not agree with the catalog (1221135/35320627)."
Which it did not beforehand. Ran DW 3.0.2 immediately before using Drive Genius and after this error showed up... DW did find then fixed 2 icon problems, but no problem with Free or Used Blocks!
Ran Drive Genius' Verify again and it still reports that problem.
I guess I'll go use DW on all the Partitions and see if maybe they got overlapped or something. "


(added 7/15/2005)
" yes, I've used it many, many times and it hasn't failed me yet.
I consider it the last resort.
(I asked for his OS version and Drive Genius version used)
On 10.3.x and on several Macs w/ 10.2.x. None for Tiger as of yet.
I've used 1.01 through 1.1.1
I purchased the consultant's bundle several years ago and upgraded the whole lot earlier this year.
-Chuck W.
Certified Member, Apple Consultants Network "


(added 7/15/2005)
" Hey Mike,
I used it to defrag my Mac Mini (Tiger) and then I partitioned it on the fly to have 1 part Tiger client, the other Tiger server. No problems. Also after I was done with my Tiger server experiments, I deleted the partition and went back to 80GB full Tiger Client. No problems once again.

The only thing that bugs me is that you have to type in an awfully long serial every-time you boot from the CD. Speed is ok on boot also.
I would recommend it to anyone.
thanks, Rob "

I also asked Rob Drive Genius version he used. (Please include those details in reports - thanks.)


(added 7/15/2005)
" After having owned Drive Genius 1.11 for a couple of months, a situation came up recently on my older G4 Dual Ethernet (gigabit?-Mike) at the time running 10.4.1 that seemed ideal to test out the app's claims- repeated kernel panics. It failed miserably. It was unable to Verify, Repair or Rebuild the System - after running each of these steps , I got the message "This volume needs repair" only it wouldn't Repair. Attempts were made to fix the internal hard drive from booted a DG disk itself and from an external HD with DG installed all with the same results. Their Tech Support was unhelpful and offered the excuse that in some cases maybe the program was "too sensitive" and wait for an update. At this point I ran DiskWarrior and zip zip everything was OK again.
-Bill W. "


(added 7/15/2005)
" I've had Drive Genius for about three weeks and I have used it to diagnose several drives in the shop, and it seems to work well. I did have on instance on a PM G4 graphite with a 60 GB seagate where it seemed to "verify" then "repair" but then the drive would not mount, but the drive was flaky in the first place, so I can't attribute this Drive Genius.

I do like the repartition feature, though I've yet to use it!
Overall, a very nice app.
Dave T.
Technical Director, ACTC
Mac & PC Workshop "

(Yep - I asked for OS/DG version info.)


(added 7/15/2005)
" Hi Mike,
Just a quick note on Drive Genius. I have had 2 customers in the past month needing work done on the Macs after using the latest version (1.1.1) of this software. The first customer (iBook G4 with 10.2.x) lost everything after using the de-fragmenting option. The second (Powerbook G4 10.3.x) was left with a system that failed to boot and would not even allow a reinstall from the system disks, also after de-fragmenting. I would not recommend this software to anyone.
Kevan G., Fix My Mac.
http://www.fixmymac.co.uk "


(added 7/15/2005)
" hi Mike, I have Drive Genius 1.1.1; upgraded from 1.0 purchase.

1. tried defrag. Wouldn't do it . kept saying it needed repair, even after using DG for repair. repair never worked. after using diskwarrior 3.0.3 to rebuild directory then defrag worked.

2. tried to repartition sizes of two partitions on 250 gig maxtor on 1.25 GHz/17" G4 iMac. 10.3.9 on first, 10.4.1 on second partition. booted from 10.4.1 on external firewire HD. after 24 hrs. gave up. remounted drive with disk utility. Wasted $100 on this piece of junk.
-albert c. "


I welcome other reports on this software (or other brands of data recovery utilities). Please include system/drive details, OS version and Drive Genius version. Thanks...

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