Classic utilities programs updated
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Toronto Computes,
Utility software is big business. PC Computing
recently published a
graph suggesting that in 1998, the product category captured nearly 40%
of total software sales in the business market. Clearly, people feel
need more than they?re getting in the package with their computers.
Here are three new versions of old stand-bys for PC
- Seagate Software?s latest Backup Exec Desktop 98 is
aimed at Windows
users (other versions of the product are designed for NT or network
While both consumer versions of Windows include optional backup
these are rather anemic. The Win95 product supports only a few tape
for example. The Win98 version, produced for Microsoft by Seagate,
better support?but both versions have a major problem. If you actually
need to restore a crashed system, you?ll find you need to reinstall
before being able to access your backup?a tedious and time-consuming
Backup Exec gets past this, allowing users to create an emergency
floppy that can access your backup hardware and restore your system
needing to spend an hour or more getting Windows up and running first.
And it really works. I know?I recently had to make use of it. Other
features include automated scheduling of backups, and a file find
for fast restores of individual files. It supports CD-R, DVD-R, Jaz,
and LS-120 drives, and most tape drives. US$99, or US$49 for Win98
- Powerquest?s Partition Magic 4.0 can seem
like magic if you?re
to install multiple operating systems or repartition a large hard
Since time immemorial, DOS and now Win9x has included the FDISK
utility to control how a drive is partitioned into multiple units. The
problem is that any changes made with FDISK destroy all existing files
on a drive partition.
Partition Magic makes changes non-destructively. You can resize
partitions to make room for a new operating system without having to
from scratch. You can change an existing partition from standard FAT to
FAT32 or NT?s NTFS to minimize waste space, or switch back from
to standard FAT for compatibility between different operating systems.
All the time leaving your precious data intact. Linux and OS/2 file
are supported as well.
The new version adds FAT32 support for drives and
than 8 gigs. As well, it runs as a real Windows program?previous
looked like Windows, but to make any changes, needed to be run from a
boot. Version 4 lets you run it from within Win9x, though to actually
your desired changes, it automatically restarts your system, and runs a
DOS batch file. A copy of Boot Magic is included, to simplify choosing
between multiple operating systems at boot time.
- Symantec Software offers the venerable Norton
Utilities in both PC and
Mac versions. Mac users have been waiting a long time for a new
but 4.0 for Mac is finally here. The good news is that it supports new
features of the Mac OS, such as the HFS+ file system with its classic
Doctor and Speed Disk utilities. Speed Disk is faster than before, and
the program has been re-written in native Power PC code. Like the PC
there?s a crash protection feature, and a flashy new interface.
While this is a major upgrade of a long-awaited product, its attractive
new look includes a few warts:
While the FileSaver feature makes it easy to recover
erased files, it
can slow your system down when emptying the Trash or clearing a browser
The core NDD (Norton Disk Doctor)?s support for disks
non-Apple drivers is problematic?too often, in those cases, it ?fixes?
non-existent problems, in some cases, leaving the disks inaccessible.
has posted a patch supporting FWB?s Hard Disk ToolKit disks, but even
the patch, you may have problems with other non-Apple disks.
Finally, by moving to native PowerPC code for improved
owners of older Macs have, once
again, been left in the dust.