Micromat has announced TechTool Pro 4, a new version of its Mac problem-solving utility.

TechTool 4 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.3, and introduces new features for users. These include eDrive, which is a bootable OS X emergency partition containing TechTool Pro 4. The company says this emergency rescue resource is created on a user's hard drive with no need to reformat that drive. Users can then boot up using the eDrive in order to run the utility from that drive if the normal startup volume hits snags.

This means that users don't need to carry their TechTool CD around with them, but can still repair an ailing drive.

Additional features include email notification of problems, system optimization, and a selection of hardware tests that may help pinpoint unidentified problems. The software is also capable of simultaneously repairing or optimizing multiple volumes.

Micromat vice president, Rebecca Smith, said: "I believe we have a very strong product. TechTool Pro 4 is fully compatible with Mac OS X, including Panther. We boot all current machines that are capable of running OS X, such as the new G5s."

The product offers a host of powerful maintenance features, including drive optimization and defragmentation; volume-structure rebuilds; hardware testing; checks for Finder info and File Structures; bad-data-block detection; data recovery from damaged volumes; secure data deletion; and USB and FireWire tests.

The product costs $99 in the US. UK distribution and pricing have not yet been announced.