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Just click a button, and TechTool Protogo sets up your iPod as an emergency boot disk almost instantly.
Apple recently sold the 100 millionth iPod, which may be one reason that even system-utility developers like Micromat are jumping on the iPod bandwagon. TechTool Protogo, a software toolbox for performing system maintenance on your Mac, configures an iPod so you can use it as a boot disk. (You can also use any USB or FireWire storage device - it doesn't have to be an iPod. Protogo's box calls for a FireWire device, but we successfully tested it with a USB drive.)
Protogo includes one of our favorite troubleshooting utilities, TechTool Pro 4, which has simple-to-use tools for diagnosing and repairing problems, defragmenting a hard drive, recovering data, and more. You also get the DiskStudio partitioning tool and TechTool Classic, the TechTool toolset that works with Mac OS 9 or earlier.
Configuring our third-generation iPod for Protogo was a snap. We plugged in the iPod via FireWire, selected the iPod icon in the software, picked the profile we wanted, and clicked a button. The installation took about 10 minutes using a dual 2GHz Power Mac G5. To boot from the iPod, you select it as a startup device (System Preferences > Startup Disk). We also installed Protogo on a LaCie Little Big Disk and booted over FireWire 800 and USB. You can't use a fifth-gen iPod as a boot disk unless you clone a current startup disk to the iPod using a software-cloning tool such as Carbon Copy Cloner (donationware, www.bombich.com).
The bottom line. An iPod's drive wasn't made to be used as your everyday boot disk. But for weekly or monthly maintenance, an iPod or portable drive with Protogo works well.
PRICE: $135, $87 upgrade from TechTool Pro 4
REQUIREMENTS: FireWire storage device, Mac OS 10.4 or later
Easy to install. Excellent system utilities. Universal binary.
Wipes out storage device's contents during initial installation.