Seasoned IT veterans have the battle scars: scraped knuckles from frequent plugging and unplugging of drives within the sharp metal confines of an open Mac chassis.
While Diskology’s Disk Jockey won’t dull those razor-sharp edges, it will minimize the number of replugging sessions by letting you quickly clone, verify, or wipe hard drives. And you won’t have to dedicate an entire Mac to these tasks.
The Disk Jockey is a compact unit, featuring power and IDE connections for attaching two drives. It also has two FireWire 400 ports and one USB 2.0 port to connect to your Mac. Its eight operating modes are Standard, Mirrored, Spanned, Copy, Compare, Disk Check, Erase, and Secure Erase.
The Disk Jockey’s strength lies in its standalone capability. Copy mode clones one drive to another; a Compare operation is recommended after copying. Disk Check inspects the media for integrity, while Secure Erase is a more thorough version of Erase mode. These operations can be performed with two drives connected.
The minimal three-LED interface takes a little deciphering – you have to count the number of LED flashes to check the unit’s progress. Drive operations can take a long time to complete, especially with large-capacity drives.
Unfortunately, the Disk Jockey has some disadvantages that conventional external FireWire drives don’t: the Mac can’t boot from a Disk Jockey volume, and after a power failure, someone has to manually turn the Disk Jockey back on.
While the Disk Jockey performed admirably in our tests, we did run into one obstacle: if it discovers a bad disk block, it can’t automatically remap the bad block to a good one. Instead, it stops in its tracks until you can repair the block with Apple’s Disk Utility.
Finally, when you’re cloning a smaller-capacity drive to a larger-capacity drive, the extra space is lost unless you run the Disk Jockey Expander utility, which costs $25. Since most users will need this, it should be included with the unit. Serial ATA and laptop drive adaptors are also available.
The Disk Jockey is a worthy unit. It’s a compact tool for mundane disk cloning. While an LCD screen would be an immense improvement and bad-block remapping would be convenient, their absence won’t put off a hard-drive-lovin’ IT geek.