Four Utilities For Solution Providers

Automating Maintenance

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Fighting Corruption

If there is a must-have utility for those who sell or service Macs, Disk Warrior is it. Recent Mac OSes have the ability to fix directory problems with a bundled utility, but aside from reformatting an ailing drive, what do you do when the disk utility—FSCK—does not correct a problem? This is where Disk Warrior comes in: Instead of fixing the corrupt directory, Disk Warrior constructs a replacement, thereby removing all traces of the corrupt directory. The built-in utility cannot repair all severely corrupted drives, but booting from Disk Warrior can fix the problem in most cases. The product is available from Alsoft, Spring, Texas, for $100.

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More Disk Maintenance

Today's hard drives offer reliability and economy, but they are not completely free of data corruption problems. Files can become corrupted from bad sectors on a drive or magnetic anomalies. For technicians, the challenge becomes recovering that important data, or better yet, preventing corruption problems in the first place. SpinRite from Gibson Research, Laguna Hills, Calif., aims to help technicians with those thorny issues. SpinRite V6.0 is a self-booting application that scans the physical hard drive and recovers lost data. The application is nondestructive—in other words, it won't add to file corruption. The tool scans the drive and then moves the recovered contents to an empty area of the drive for access. The product can also check drives and report on partitions. It works with all major drive formats. At $89, SpinRite proves to be an affordable tool for the harried technician.

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SpinRite 6.0

Search And Destroy

Search And Destroy Hijackthis is a handy piece of donationware useful for detecting malicious code but requires some knowledge to use. Solution providers need to make decisions based on possibly suspicious content gathered from searching a registry and hard drive. It is recommended that a baseline scan be run on all new systems, making it easier to recognize a change in the registry or files on the hard drive before they are infected. Once the user is familiar with results generated by a healthy system, it is easier to differentiate results that are abnormal. Examples of this would be registry keys that include a Web address for a vendor whose software is not installed on your system. Hijackthis has many other useful features that should not be overlooked. One is the ability to remove files from Windows that are active in memory on reboot, which is where most viruses and spyware like to hide. The utility also can help identify data streams emanating from malware. In addition, administrators can use the utility to examine startup list logs and to delineate entries from add/remove program lists. Defending systems is an uphill battle, but Hijackthis highlights potentially harmful entities before it becomes an all-out war. It can be downloaded at

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