LAW OFFICE COMPUTING
Cleaning Up Your Hard Drive
ast month I talked about procedures designed to rearrange the information on your hard drive so that it is easily accessible. If you have too much information on your hard drive and you are virtually out of space, then those procedures are in some sense like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. You won't accomplish nearly as much as you would if you preceded disk repair and defragmentation with a ruthless cutting of old directories. One of the best ways to do that is to buy one of the programs, such as "Uninstaller" that is designed to remove such programs from a disk. If you have a specific program that you know about that you want to remove, these little utilities are very useful. However, there is an awful lot of stuff that ends up on a hard drive over the years that you really no longer need. MicroLogic had put out a little $49 program called DiskMapper which is designed to give you a visual representation of your hard drive so that you can select various directories to either compress or remove entirely from the hard drive. DiskMapper gives you options for dealing with those directories. Some are just wasted space and you can delete them with a quick but careful mouse click. Others you may want to save in compressed form either on your current hard drive or by using some off-drive storage medium. I just used DiskMapper for the first time the other night and I recovered several hundred megabytes of space on my hard drive. DiskMapper is very easy to use and completely intuitive. You see a picture of everything on your hard drive and you simply use your mouse to click on a particular directory or program that you wish to get rid of. A click of the delete button removes that program forever from your hard drive. Click a different button and your directory is compressed and stored for later use. Of course you need to be very careful about what you remove and you must be sure that you know what a particular program does before you remove it. If you have any doubts, then DiskMapper gives you the option of simply compressing that part of the drive into a "zipped" file that you can resurrect at a later date. I think DiskMapper is a wonderful little program that everybody ought to have. You can buy it from MicroLogic at (201)342-6518, Fax:(201)342-0370. DiskMapper has received very strong reviews and should be coming to your local computer software outlet in the near future. To find out more, log on to the World Wide Web at MicroLogic and take a free test drive.
ne particularly popular way of claiming additional space can be used with DiskMapper. After identifying those parts of your hard drive that could be stored , the ZIP Drive from Iomega has a number of tools that come with the drive that will support that goal. One of those tools allows you to move an entire application from the main drive over to a ZIP disk in either compressed or normal format. The ZIP drive has taken the country by storm and as of a few weeks ago Iomega has entered into agreements that make it look like the ZIP drive will soon replace the old 1.4 floppy drive on many new computers. A single ZIP disk will hold about 70 floppies at about half the cost. That possibility is one of the reasons that Iomega has had such a run on the stock market. Most applications can be broken down into 100MB segments and the ability to take all of your seldom used applications and store them off of your hard drive in immediately accessible form is very useful. The ZIP drive comes in several configuration for both Mac and IBM computers. The parallel interface is common for IBM based computers but there is a SCSI version for Macs that will run on an IBM if you have a SCSI port connection. The SCSI drive is about 6 times faster than the parallel port drive model. There is a rebate program going on right now that allows you to by a ZIP drive of either version for $150 or less after a rebate. The ZIP disks are widely available for under $20 and you can expect that price to drop over the course of the coming months. Check out the Price Club for dynamite prices on these products. When used in conjunction with DiskMapper, the ZIP drive is a solution to many of your information storage needs. In a future column I will talk about back up procedures and software, but for now I think everybody ought to have a ZIP drive and simply copy their critical files to ZIP disks. They will be immediately accessible in case of a crash and the cost is minimal. Not only will that provide you with a way of logically organizing your files, it will insure their safety. Your malpractice carrier will be impressed-- and thankful!!