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Norton Disk Editor; Speed Disk

Apple Notes By Vic Lennard
Published July 2000

Empty disk? Norton Disk Editor shows a number of invisibles including various system items and Norton files...Empty disk? Norton Disk Editor shows a number of invisibles including various system items and Norton files...

This month Vic Lennard explains how to defragment your hard disk and discovers an impressive MP3 encoder.

I've received a number of emails from people on the subject of defragmenting hard disks. Unfortunately, the Mac OS doesn't possess a standard tool for this — perhaps such a utility should coexist with Disk First Aid and Drive Setup. However, there's a simple solution which I'll come to a little later.

What is disk fragmentation? Imagine that you have a clean hard disk and you've just saved a file to it. Now you save a second file, delete the first and then save a third file which is larger than the one you just trashed. It will fill up the disk space originally taken by the first file and then place the remainder after the second file. There you have it one fragmented file! In the course of a day, files are saved and deleted hundreds of times; just think how often you hit the Apple‑S key combination!

Why worry about fragmentation? Well, as the files become scattered around the hard disk, the process of reading and writing becomes slower as the disk heads hunt for the fragments. If you get a moment, take a look at You'll see the results of some tests which show around a 10 percent decrease in performance with a badly fragmented disk. Reduced performance is annoying but becomes a serious problem when you are working with large files which have to be handled at speed, such as digital audio or video files. What's the point of spending well over the odds for a fast ultra‑wide SCSI disk when its performance is compromised by fragmentation?

Most of you working with digital audio probably use a separate partition for audio files. How about moving your audio files to another partition, trashing the originals and then moving them back — doesn't that get rid of fragmentation? No. Just because you've trashed all visible files it doesn't mean that your partition is clean. I ran a quick test on my own system which had a spare 300Mb partition containing a couple of files. The files were trashed and the partition was opened in Norton Disk Editor. Was it empty? No. It contained various invisible system folders such as Move&Rename and TheFindByContentFolder plus a number of Desktop files, AppleShare PDS (which contains sharing information) and half a dozen Norton files for FileSaver and Norton AntiVirus. I don't even use Norton AntiVirus — these files were installed when I reviewed the product some time ago and as the files are invisible I've never bothered to remove them. Running Norton Speed Disk on this 'empty' partition revealed another interesting feature — it contained 166 files (taking up 11.8Mb of space) and was severely fragmented! So much for the manual answer.

So is there a simple solution? Yes. Buy a copy of Norton Utilities 5 and use Norton Speed Disk (typical street price: £79). Even better, if you don't own an antivirus program, buy the Norton Utilities 5/AntiVirus 6 bundle for an extra 10 pounds. There may be a shareware alternative to Speed Disk, but I wouldn't want to risk my data with anything but the best, and Speed Disk is tried and tested. When you run it on a hard disk, it gives you a visual representation of the data spread. A click on the 'Final' button then shows you how it will look when you finish. Click on 'Optimise', go and have a cup of coffee, and it'll be finished. A lot less painful than trying to edit out annoying clicks from audio files!

We're Jammin'

... a total of 166 items — and it's severely fragmented according to Norton Speed Disk!... a total of 166 items — and it's severely fragmented according to Norton Speed Disk!

In last month's Apple Notes I mentioned Casady & Greene's SoundJam MP Plus 2 in the Downloadable Goodies box. I've had some time to play with the 14‑day trial and I'm seriously impressed. It's the best MP3 encoder that I've come across. The audible effects of compression are minimal, courtesy of the proprietary algorithms used, and the encoding is very fast, especially on a Power Mac G4 for which it's optimised. The latest version (2.0.2) is downloadable from and is a mere 2.5Mb (which takes about 10 minutes with a 56K modem and a dodgy line...)

And Finally...

This is what the contents will be like after running Speed Disk with a nice, big empty space for audio files.This is what the contents will be like after running Speed Disk with a nice, big empty space for audio files.

This has nothing to do with music but it's a goodie. Having tried, for many months, to set up an Internet gateway using VicomSoft SoftRouter and a Hermstedt ISDN card, I finally took the plunge and bought
a NetGear RT328 ISDN router. This hardware box allows a network to share Internet access from a single account. Even though it's advertised as being Mac‑compatible, the setup software is PC‑only. Fine: I can fire up VirtualPC 3 on my Mac and run it from there. However, the software is US‑only and doesn't allow you to get past the first screen. Try the advanced settings and this messes up the router's ROM data. This can be reloaded... but only via the serial port on a PC. The result? NetGear had to send me a brand new router! This works fine and I now change settings via Telnet (old pre‑Internet software) on the Mac. The moral of the story?If you're a Mac owner, be very careful when buying a piece of hardware from a PC manufacturer which purports to be Mac‑compatible...

Contact Apple Notes

Cubase VST version 5: expected soon.Cubase VST version 5: expected soon.

If you're a manufacturer, software publisher or distributor with a new product, or a reader with a suggestion for a topic you'd like covered in Apple Notes, please email marking the email for the attention of Vic Lennard.

News In Brief

QTKeys – a neat way to find out about Apple QuickTime Musical Instruments.QTKeys – a neat way to find out about Apple QuickTime Musical Instruments.
  • • Emagic Logic Audio 4.0 was awarded the Frankfurt Musikmesse International Press Award (MIPA) 2000 in the 'Recording Software' category. The MIPA is awarded for innovation, by the votes of experts from 25 leading international music magazines.
  • Cubase VST 5 isn't too far off release. It boasts 16/24‑bit recording modes, a new EQ algorithm and set of plug‑ins, and a 32‑bit version with the Apogee UV‑22 dithering algorithm. TrueTape technology models magnetic tape for a more analogue 'feel' and InWire allows musicians to take part in real‑time sessions over the Internet. More soon.

Downloadable Goodies

While there are lots of direct‑to‑disk recording programs for the Mac, Authentic Sound Recorder from Interloop Productions (www.innerloop‑ looks interesting from the save‑disabled demo. It can record and play back simultaneously, for overdubbing, and mix up to four tracks. There are editing features, but you can create sets of synchronised tracks which can be mixed together into stereo recordings. Container files called 'sessions' can hold up to 50 tracks and/or 50 mixes. Worth a look.

With MegaSeg 1.3.1 ( you get to play DJ the digital way. Import any file formats supported by QuickTime 4.1 (including audio CD tracks, MP3, MOV, AIFF and WAV) and then call them up as you need them, fading in and out as you go. The demo is fully functional but only runs for 15 minutes per session. It has certainly seen a huge number of changes since it was first mentioned in Apple Notes in SOS February 2000.

Listen ( has been around for ages but has been modernised in version 2.5. It's full of melodic and harmonic exercises for 'training the ear' and has variable difficulty levels. The demo lets you try three of the 17 exercises.

Anything that helps you to come up with decent tunes is worth investigating. Harmony Assistant (www.myriad‑ does just that, offering good harmonising features alongside a score editor, digital sound recorder, chord calculator and accompaniment generator (including drums) plus tablature for guitarists, printing, and MIDI Karaoke format support. Save, print and export are disabled in the demo. The shareware version, Melody Assistant, doesn't have the harmonising, MIDI input or drum sequence capabilities.

With so many MP3 programs around, only a few stand out from the rest. MACAST is one of these. Formerly known as MacAmp, it's been around for three years and is available in a number of versions. MACAST Lite 2.1 has a minimal interface (you only see a small horizontal bar which behaves like the control strip) and some nice new features, including the ability to recognise almost any MP3 file you double‑click on, irrespective of what created that file! You can get a 30‑day trial from


It's good to see shareware authors updating their products frequently — especially when they add new features rather than just bug‑fixes (though these are welcome too). Audiocorder (, now at version 1.9.0, has only one change from the previous version but it's a biggie: the ability to play AIFF files, the standard among many Mac‑based digital software programs.

Ever wondered what you can do with the QuickTime musical instruments? Then check out QTKeys ( with its synth interface and easy access to all the sounds and drum kits. It has a built‑in recorder and also boasts a number of preset chords and scales.


  • Cubase VST 4.1r2 — various bug fixes.
  • DigiSystem INIT 5.0.1: Required to use Magma 13‑slot chassis, model PCI‑13R and Digidesign 13‑slot Pro Tools Expansion Chassis. Will work with either versions 5.0 or 5.0.1 of Pro Tools and Pro Tools LE.
  • Emagic Logic Platinum 4.2.2 (from 4.2.0).
  • Emagic Logic Gold 4.2.2 (from 4.1.6).
  • MOTU Audio System 2.1 — includes latest PCI‑324 drivers and consoles.
  • MOTU FreeMIDI 1.44 — includes a custom install option for the latest ClockWorks 1.07 console for all MOTU/MIDI interfaces.
  • Newer MAXpowr 2.0.4 — for all G3/G4 upgrade cards.
  • SeaSound drivers 1.3.1.
  • Sonnet Crescendo/Encore 1.4.4: Mac OS 9.0.4 compatibility.
  • SoundJam MP 2.0.2: maintenance update.