Having the opportunity to review both DriveScrubber and Search and Recover at the same time has been really helpful. One attempts to hide deleted data while the other attempts to recover it.
When you delete a folder or file in Windows, it’s not actually erased, but just hidden from view so other applications can use the disk space. There is never any erasing of data per se, just overwriting data. DriveScrubber will overwrite the deleted portions of a disk, or the whole disk, with random data so that the original data can never be recovered. Why doesn’t Windows just overwrite the data when you delete a file or folder? The only reason is that it would just take too long. Marking a file as deleted and moving on and letting other applications use the disk drive makes Windows run faster.
If you ever sell a hard drive or PC or even donate one, you’ll want a way to clean the hard drive, and that’s where DriveScrubber comes in. When you run DriveScrubber, you are presented with a very simple user interface and two main choices: wipe all contents of a drive or wipe the free space of a drive.
[see screenshot 1]
If you choose to wipe a drive completely, you will be prompted to create a boot CD or floppy drive and then, when you reboot, it will scrub the drive completely.
[see screenshot 2]
If you choose just to clean the free space in a drive, it will do it right there for you.
[see screenshot 3]
Initially, I had problems getting the drive to clean past 54 percent (and stay tuned; I detail that later), but eventually I received a fix from iolo.
[see screenshot 4]
Using Search and Recover I was able to verify that I had many candidates for undelete before a scrub and then no candidates for undelete after a scrub.
Price to Value (3 out of 5)
If there is fair competition the market works, and this is no exception. The fact that Final Draft has a direct competitor proves this point and puts the price to value roughly where it should be. It’s also true that from time to time the package is either on sale or offered at a discount (for special events), which probably makes the pricing more attractive and much closer to where it should be.
It’s difficult to find the product on sale.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
The installation/setup could not have been easier. Standard no-frills dialog boxes were used, the process was straightforward, and everything seemed to function smoothly. The installation procedure in the User’s Guide is extremely well-documented as well. The fonts are large and easy to look at, and the instructions are intuitive, concise, and so clear that a novice user could follow the steps with no problem. There’s also a very straightforward block diagram to aid the process. Overall, the installation was super easy and there were no surprises.
A look at the readme.txt file that comes with the program prior to installation does not inspire confidence. For example: “Clicking on the ruler no longer crashes the program,” “The program no longer crashes when dragging and dropping a Script,” and there are a lot more where that came from. It makes one wonder why so many earlier versions were not tested adequately and then sold anyway. Not only that, but other questions can be raised. For example, were these longstanding problems that took too long to fix or were these new problems caused during the development of a more recent version? Moreover, what kind of unhappy surprises are in store for the user installing this program for the first time?
User Interface (4 out of 5)
The UI is as close to a clone of Word as is humanly possible. The toolbar at the top is actually much simpler than Word and is easy to use and easy to read as well. This is probably to be expected and anyone with experience doing normal word processing should be very comfortable.
There’s no selection for different font colors. This could be useful during development if someone wanted to highlight specific sections of a project. The “Ask the Expert” window has a color scheme that’s hard to look at and there’s no icon in the upper-right corner to close the window, as one would expect. It’s actually hard to see, but for some reason they put Exit in a small font down in the bottom right-hand corner.
Product Features (4 out of 5)
Final Draft utilizes a basic set of features as well as another set of what might be called “special features.” The basic and special features available in Final Draft are those that would be expected in any high-end scriptwriting software and include things such as the following:
· To begin a “new” project, one can choose from 15 Script templates, which include everything from “BBC Screenplay for TV” to US Screenplay (Spanish); six Text Documents, which includes everything from Manuscript to Treatment; and 80 TV Templates, which includes everything from 24 to Without a Trace. While not exhaustive, this provides ample coverage.
· The ability to import files from any word processor and then export to a variety of formats including PDF. This is important because of document protection issues.
· A Format Assistant. This is an option that checks a script for common formatting errors, such as missing dialog, extra spaces, carriage returns, and blank elements. Once it’s run, a window opens showing a list of errors that can be easily fixed by simply selecting Fix. This is a nice feature.
· Index Card/Outline/Navigator Panels are available so that instead of editing a script on a standard page, the user can display a script in Index Card format or in an outline. This makes navigation easier and aids in script development.
· A Creative Handbook is included that contains a number of sample contracts from the Writers Guild of America, West. This would fall more in the category of special features, but could nevertheless be quite useful.
· Another special feature would include the “Ask the Expert” option. This allows the user to obtain useful hints about their project.
· Avid XML Export Script: Files can be exported to Avid editing tools for use with Script-based editing and subtitling.
· The CollaboWriter feature allows user to write, edit, and discuss a script with other Final Draft users in real time over the Internet.
· Final Draft has a feature called Voices that can read back a script using a variety of electronic voices that can be modified by the user.
· The Production feature uses pop-up menus to allow an in-production script to be locked, and will create pages to help keep the script intact when content is added or removed.
This is a strong set of features and, given a sWhat’s Not:
Having features is one thing; however, using these features is probably not going to be intuitive for the novice. Additionally, while Final Draft provides a feature-rich environment, there are still at least a couple of things missing. For example:
· There’s no template for a comic-book script.
· The program exports to Avid editing tools but not to Final Cut Pro.
· There’s no introductory demo. The unfamiliar/novice user has to go to the User’s Guide and flip pages while simultaneously trying to construct a script. Thus, it would be better if some kind of demo came with the program.
Performance (3 out of 5)
Once everything is set up, it works smoothly.
Files cannot be imported directly from Word. Final Draft will only open other documents if they are in either Notepad (.txt) or WordPad (.rtf) format. This forces the Word user to copy and paste into either Notepad or WordPad, save the file, and then in Final Draft, follow the File -> Open -> select procedure so that a new document (.txt or .rtf) can be converted to either Script or Text format. This is simple enough and works just fine in the .txt case, but in the .rtf case, the Script conversion merges one of the templates from the File -> New procedure into the imported/converted document. As a result, Final Draft will only import/convert Notepad documents and will–let’s just say–unhappily alter WordPad converted documents.
The title page is separate from the rest of the script, rather than the first page of a script. This represents an unnecessary level of complication for those who want the title page in the same file as the main document.
For some of the TV show templates, Final Draft calls the show title an Action instead of a show title and it calls an episode name, you guessed it, an Action.
The program has an unusual way of locking two lines together and not responding to carriage returns.
If the user selects a template during a previous session, then from that time on, the program opens with that template instead of, for example, a blank project or nothing.
While the spell checker correctly flags suspected words, the user has to struggle through several right and left clicks in order to open up the usual window needed to select the Ignore command. But even if one is successful with the Ignore command, the red squiggly underline either doesn’t disappear at all or disappears only after a mysterious and uncorrelated delay. Once sufficiently annoyed by this, the only recourse is to use the Tools -> Spelling option. This feature, however, doesn’t update even after Skip is selected, which forces the user to go through the process twice in order to get the program to perform the skip function.
Help & Support (4 out of 5)
Final Draft has automated their support as much as possible. Overall it seems to work well.
Tech support over the phone is a negative. The first twenty minutes are free, but after that it cost $2.50/minute. This is unwelcome, especially if someone finds one of the many bugs that Final Draft should have found/fixed in the first place. In this regard, Final Draft would be well advised to not charge if the error was theirs.
It would be great if this software could run as a scheduled batch job. If you have a public PC (for example a kiosk or library PC) it would be great to clean the free space every evening or even between users. It’s a very quick process so you could potentially spend 10 or 15 seconds clearing the free space while other things are cleaned up like browser history.
Another option I’d like to see, and it’s not so much a feature, is the ability to buy this as part of a tools suite. Buying disc tools a la carte just means I have to worry about multiple registration keys, downloads, and installs. Iolo has another product called System Mechanic 7 for PC optimizing and maintenance. They could potentially bundle System Mechanic, Search and Recover 4 (undelete software), Drive Scrubber, as well as their anti-virus and firewall products into a “System Mechanic Professional Suite” and really have a compelling package.
My wife and I had typed up a spreadsheet with information on all our accounts. We needed it for my brother who was the executor of our will and we wanted to make sure he had a cheat sheet if anything should happen to us. Once we printed the spreadsheet we deleted the file but using Search and Recovery, sure enough, it was right there. After running iolo’s DriveScrubber I have some peace of mind that it’s gone forever. I wasn’t planning on donating my PC anytime soon but I do attend LAN parties and have my PC in places where it could be compromised. With iolo’s DriveScrubber I now have a solid solution for keeping private data safe!
Search and Recover 4