FWB is well known in Mac circles for its Hard Disk Toolkit, so these two sets of utilities add to an already impressive line-up. The SMART Toolkit takes advantage of SMART (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology), which is built into most IDE hard drives. It uses this to monitor drives and alert you before a drive starts to fail. Notifications come via email, as an update on your Web server, or by a selection of loud and annoying sound alerts. Installation and operation is simple: merely use the installer, and the Toolkit starts monitoring all drives on a Mac every five minutes.
The only time you see it after that is when starting-up, and if something dreadful is about to happen to a drive. Regular reports (highly detailed ones at that) can be sent to an email address if desired. Reports include info on the volumes on each drive, their capacity, and their SMART status. They also list the number of users of a machine and the names of those logged in. Information about the length of time the machine has been running, the load average, current network connection ports and all currently running processes on the system are also recorded in the report. It’s an efficient yet unobtrusive application, and one that no-doubt will be welcomed by system administrators, as well as the ordinary user who likes to be forewarned.
Privacy Toolkit is another useful utility, this time providing file encryption and the digital equivalent of a desktop paper shredder. Also easy to install, it’s made up of three parts: Encryptor, Decryptor and Shredder.
Encryptor uses 128-bit and rolling derivative keys encryption to encode data – it’s simply a case of dragging a file or folder to the Encryptor icon, selecting a password (and repeating it) and selecting a destination for the locked file. To unlock it, double-clicking the file opens the Decryptor interface where you repeat the previous steps. Obviously, if you are sending encrypted files over the Internet, you’d need someone at the other end with Decryptor on their machine. FWB offers this as a free download on its Web site, but when we checked there was only a bad link. It’s something to watch out for before you start using this to send encoded secret jam recipes to your aunt in Newcastle.
At both stages you can tick the check box marked Shred. This opens the third application – Shredder – which works in conjunction with the Trash to safely delete files. It moves the file being operated on to the Trash before commencing.
Shredder is probably of most use for eradicating data-sensitive material – it overwrites the contents of the files in the Trash with a secure pattern, or with zeros in a number of passes. You can set up to 50 passes in a preference pane, and also set the operation to Autostart when Shredder is started. Be warned though: once it’s gone, it’s really gone