Underrated Mac Photography Accessory You Need to Have

DSLR Camera on a tripod.

“I wish I had known about you guys a month ago.”

On a daily basis we are contacted by people dealing with data loss situations. We are a Data Recovery company, so our biggest concern is making sure no one ever loses critical data. Whether it’s pictures, videos, or documents, we want to keep your files safe.

When it comes to photographers, there are hundreds to thousands of photos being uploaded and edited on a daily basis. All this saving and moving files around on your system is going to lead to your rotational drives becoming fragmented, which will cause your system to noticeably slow down.

This is where Drive Genius comes in as one of the most powerful photography accessories.

When this Mac only software, Drive Genius, is installed, it initiates DrivePulse which runs in the background of your computer and systematically checks all of your drives whenever they are idle. If a problematic situation arises, the software warns you before you suffer any data loss.

The cost of a cleanroom service for a hard drive recovery can be anywhere from $500-$2500, depending on the issues your drive is suffering from. Maintaining the health of hard drives can prevent anyone from ever needing a data recovery service as well as potentially save a photography company.

Organize Your Drives/Photos

With up to thousands of photos being added on a daily basis, it becomes hard to keep track of all your files, folders, and projects. The Repartition tool included in Drive Genius is the easiest to use on the market, allowing you to add, resize, and move any of your partitions.

Partitioning your drive is essentially splitting the drive to be recognized into multiple drives. This helps with organization as well as helping to isolate corruption to a single partition.

Note: macOS 10.13 High Sierra introduces additional security changes along with the new APFS. Drive Genius does not support Repartition of APFS Volume/Partition and Drives at this time.

Discover Issues Well Before They Can Affect You

One of the best parts of having Drive Genius installed on your system is the built-in DrivePulse utility.

DrivePulse will scan your drives when your computer is in idle mode; this means that these scans will only run when your computer is not processing information. You will never need to be concerned with the software slowing down any work you’re doing on your system.

The scans that DrivePulse run are all the tools included in the Software Protect Section: Extended Physical Check, Consistency Check, Repair, Rebuild, Fix Permissions (not included in 10.10+ OS restriction) as well as checking for fragmentation status of rotational drives. These scans are the best indication to your hard drive’s health. The DrivePulse icon on the top right hand corner of your screen will be black by default, but will change to yellow with a minor issue, and change to red when there is something that requires immediate attention.

The goal with DrivePulse is that the user never needs to worry about taking care of their drives: let the software take care of them for you and just keep an eye open for any major issues.

Speed Up Your Drives for Quicker Transfer Time

Any photographer that has thousands upon thousands of images stored on their hard drive will start notice a hit in the overall speed eventually. Defragmenting your rotational hard drive will absolutely help this issue. The Drive Genius defragment tool is easy to use and will get your drives back to working at peak performance.

Since OS Mavericks, users have needed to boot their system from an external device in order to defrag their internal drive. Our technical support team noticed that this caused a significant amount of issues for users who were used to performing a live defrag to improve their systems.

Unfortunately, the trend we noticed was that more and more users were no longer defragmenting their rotational hard drives and were allowing the fragmentation to build up, which would lead to corruption of their photos as well as Data Loss.

Drive Genius will take care of this task for you by creating our proprietary BootWell drive, which you can use to boot your computer and run a defrag onto the internal drive.

Note: macOS 10.13 High Sierra introduces additional security changes along with the new APFS. Drive Genius does not support Defragment of APFS Volume/Partition and Drives at this time.

What Is the Drive Genius BootWell?

The BootWell drive is a boot drive that Drive Genius can create to boot your system to allow the software to defrag your internal rotational drive.

Again, that switch to OS Mavericks required users to defrag from a secondary startup drive. Understandably, many users just abandoned doing defrags all together due to the process becoming more difficult, which left them exposed to potential data loss situations.

A BootWell drive can be used to maintain, repair, or recover your primary startup drive in the event of a primary drive error.

For maintenance purposes, most Drive Genius utilities work on the primary startup drive “live” with no need for a secondary startup drive. However, all repair and recovery utilities require starting your computer from a secondary drive so they can have exclusive access to your primary drive.

The common utilities that require a secondary startup drive are:

These utilities will automatically prompt you to restart using a BootWell drive as needed.

The Ultimate Backup

The Clone tool in Drive Genius will do a full system clone, including your Operating System. This makes it ideal when setting up a new computer that you want to be exactly like your old one, or when you need to swap out your internal hard drive for a newer or faster drive.

At Prosoft we are mainly a data recovery company, so we like to put backup tools in as many of our software products as possible, and we heavily stress that our customers run regular backups. Hard drives are designed to last about 3-5 years but most people, especially in businesses, will use the same hard drive for 10 years without ever backing up or checking their drives.

How to Securely Erase Your Data

Secure Erase is a tool you would use to delete your files and make sure they cannot be recovered using a recovery software or by sending the drive into a recovery lab.

With photographers potentially having thousands of photos from their customers most intimate moments, secure erasing your drives when the job is completed is a great way at helping protect their files and photos from leaking into the wrong hands.

The secure erase tool in Drive Genius will allow you to run up to a 35 layer wiping, meaning your data will be overwritten 35 times to guarantee the data can never be recovered.

The reason to use a secure erase tool is if you are preparing to either donate, throw out, or recycle your current hard drive and you want the peace of mind that no one will be able to access any of your files or photos. The only way to protect yourself and your customers from identity theft is to make sure your data is never exposed, and with a secure erase you can ensure your data never falls into the wrong hands.

How to Check for Physical Damage on Your Drives

Image files stored on your hard drive don’t like to live on damaged drives. Physical Check is designed to detect hardware issues with drives. It goes through extensive tests to determine if there are possible hardware issues.

Data on a hard drive is stored in a series of small, atomic data areas (technical terms for these are blocks and/or sectors). During normal operation, every data area should be able to be written to and read from without stalling or, worse, a change in data contents between a write and a read.

However, since drives are mechanical devices, a drive can develop hardware problems where one or more data areas may lose storage capacity and become unreadable. Physical Check reads every data area on a drive in sequence and determines whether the drive reports an error for any of these reads. It can also do much more advanced tests, but at the expense of greatly increased testing time.

The time required for a Physical Check test to complete is dependent on the drive’s size, speed, and its physical health.

The “extended check” option will verify the read and write ability of every data area on the drive. Unlike the “revive” option which only attempts writes for bad areas, the “extended check” option will read and write the contents of every single data area on the drive; possibly multiple times.

This process goes through great pains to bypass all operating system layers and directly interact with the drive’s data. Therefore, enabling extended check will greatly increase the time needed to complete the scan.

If you have the time to let the extended check complete, it will find faults within the drive even when other tests, utilities or vendors themselves declare the drive to be in good condition.

Know What’s Going on With Your Drives to Keep Your Data Safe!

Drive Genius has become the perfect photography accessory for any Mac user for many different file protecting reasons. With Drive Genius installed on your system you won’t have to question the health of your drives, or be left wondering how much longer your drives are going to last you. We offer a tool that can be used by any level of computer user to ensure that their system is in the best physical health.

Our goal is to prevent data loss situations as much as possible. We recommend to all of our photographer friends to always run a hard drive monitoring tool such as Drive Genius, as well as running consistent backups through a software like Data Backup.

About the Author

Matt W.

My name is Matthew and I am a Technical Support Representative for Prosoft Engineering as well as our sister company, The Data Rescue Center. I am a people person and it is my passion to help others successfully use, and maximize the potential of their hardware and software.