Test four: Letting you know when things are about to go wrong

They say it's better to prevent a problem than to have to fix one, so we tested each application for its ability to spot potential problems and let us know when things might be about to fail.

DiskWarrior enables you to test the S.M.A.R.T status of disks and provide an alert, via the program itself, an email or AppleScript.

DiskTools Pro goes a step further, breaking down the individual tests to see what the status of each is, and you can edit how often the test is run. The application can also perform a data transfer integrity test to let you know how well a disk is performing.

Drive Genius lacks S.M.A.R.T status checking or alerts, but does have an integrity check; but by far and away the best tool for prewarning of potential failure is TechTool Pro.

It comes with a system preferences pane that monitors your Mac for S.M.A.R.T status and volume usage, enabling you to chose when and if warnings are given. If your hard disk is running too close to capacity, TechTool Pro lets you know.

Test four

Test five: Keeping your hard disk in the best of health

TechTool Pro and Drive Genius are again ahead of the curve here, with tools to make sure that the data on your hard disk is in the optimal place for speed of access. TechTool Pro has file and volume optimisation utilities.

Drive Genius has a defragment tool and also the DriveSlim option, which runs five separate functions aimed at making your hard disk more slimline. Large files not used in the last 30 days, duplicate files, unused localisation resources and temporary cache items can all be identified and removed.

Optimise

OPTIMISATION: DiskTools Pro enables you to test a hard disk before and after defragmentation

DiskTools Pro has a handy benchmarking tool so that you can test your hard disk performance before and after defragmentation, as well as other optimisation routines. You might only see minor speed increases, but at least you'll know the effort was worth the while.

DiskWarrior is once again at the back of the queue, with nothing to offer in this round. You could argue that keeping the directory structure healthy enhances speed, but nothing in the interface alludes to this.

Test results

Test 5