TechTool Pro has always been known as a big player in the community of Mac utilities, but has maintained its unique approach to combining an extremely powerful program with a very user-friendly interface.
Unfortunately for utility developers, OS X is a fairly robust system and doesn’t need a lot of monitoring or performance tweaks (in my opinion). That makes a review of a product like TechTool Pro 4 very difficult. Do you really need a product like this? Read my thought and then you decide.
Just as in previous versions, TechTool Pro 4 allows you to get your hands only as dirty as you want. The program divides its myriad of features into five sub-categories that are displayed as beautiful icons in the application’s only window.
Suites: TechTool Pro’s automated test suites are my favorite feature of this application. Suites allow you to run an automated group of tests to check a variety of components and sub-systems. If you don’t really care to drill down into the many features or individual tests, simply choose the Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced test suite and walk away.
Tests: If an automated test suite is too much for you, TechTool Pro 4 offers individual tests to check components, drives, files, etc. You can run a single test, or a number of tests simultaneously, which I absolutely love. After the tests are run, you can read the detailed report of the results, including whether or not the component has passed or failed.
One of my favorite features within TechTool Pro’s tests is the ability to press the little ‘i’ button next to each test to read a detailed description of the test. Not quite sure what the “Mathematics” test is? Neither do I, but you can read all about it with the click of a button.
Performance: This category contains features to enhance the overall speed of your computer system. However, I found this area a little lacking, again because of OS X’s ability to keep itself fairly slim and fit. Basically, you are able to perform a volume optimization and directory maintenance. Maybe I was thinking back to my PC days, but I expected some memory optimization, prioritize CPU processes, or some other technical optimization magic.
Tools: Beside great tools like Data Recovery, Volume Journaling, and Secure Wipe, TechTool Pro 4 also has the ability to create an emergency startup partition without needing to reformat. This “eDrive” gives you immediate access to your basic Mac OSX system as well as a copy of TechTool Pro to allow you to perform diagnostics and repairs. Say goodbye to bootable CD-ROMS and carrying a repair CD with you on the road.
It took me only about 3 minutes to set-up an eDrive which I was able to boot from easily by holding down the option key during boot-up.
Safety: TechTool Pro’s Safety tools provide you with a way to automatically run diagnostic and protection feature while your system is running. For example, the Protection Setup feature allows you to backup the volume structure of your hard rive, which will assist TechTool Pro with recovering lost files or volumes.
Price: $98 from micromat.com
Pros: Easy-to-use interface, varying degrees of diagnostics, fairly comprehensive reporting, clear and detailed documentation.
Cons: The high price, statistic die-hards will want even more information.
Final Word: If you are overly concerned about the status of your system and want an easy way to keep your system running like a well-oiled machine, this product is for you. Many people have proclaimed that TechTool Pro is the best utility for OS X.
If you’re like me and have never had any problems, and are performing regular backups, you may want to stick to a few high-quality freeware diagnostic tools and save the $98 for an iPhone (heaven knows you’ll need it). However, if TechTool Pro 4 was available for PC, I would buy it in a heartbeat!