PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

Bigger and bigger

Aug  2002 

When I got my first 5Mbyte Rodime hard drive, I wondered how on earth I could ever find enough stuff to fill it up.  I just bought a 120GbByte hard disk for under £200, and I have no doubt at all it will be full before the year is out. Letís look at that number in full so we can properly appreciate the enormity: 120,000,000,000 bytes.

Now, backing the blighter up is clearly going to be a nightmare. The use of online incremental backup services is become viable with the gradual spread of ďalways onĒ services like DSL or cable modems, but at 256kBit, thatís around 1,000 hours. Not really an option.

Even using DVD, thatís an awful lot of expensive 4.7Gbyte DVD RAM disks, and a lot of time. Letís face it, the only sane solution is another one of the same, or an external drive connected via the 1394 port (you do have a 1394 high speed serial port these days, donít you..?) In fact, a separate box on the network that contains nothing but an array of drives for backing up workstations is far from an arcane idea Ė and these days when I want to move a large data file from drive C to drive D on my XP desktop, I copy across via a network drive because its quicker across a 100Mbit network connection than across the IDE bus. I also have a theory that if I want to defrag my hard disk in under a week, I should move all the files from one drive to another and back again.

PowerDesk 5

Managing the contents of monster disk systems is something I have entrusted to PowerDesk from OnTrack for many years now, and now that the XP-compatible edition is available, I would like to draw your attention to it again. There are a few extras in version 5 that pander to the MP3 and digital photography masses, but at the heart itís a familiar and solid ways of navigating disks and networks, and a world better than anything Microsoft includes by way of file management, the file viewers and archiving utility alone is worth the price of admission, but the list of what gizmos it contains would cover this page and then some.

One handy new gizmo is the ability to append notes to files, and even though I seem to have about 100 apps that keep wanting to grab the file association for MP3 playing, I found the MP3 preview player in PowerDesk is actually really useful since it doesnít take 10+ seconds to load up and then arty and trick me into delegating various file format associations that I didnít want to.

The File tips feature is wonderful Ė just hover the pointer over a filename and up pops the details and a thumbnail if the image is a supported type. 

The thumbnail view of the displayed directory is another nice thing that rounds off the best and most indispensable utility on my PC.

Itís always dangerous to unreservedly recommend anything to anyone, but this is one of the few bits of software that I have no hesitation will enhance anyoneís PC Ė and you will, like me, wonder how you ever managed without it.  Download for $30