Over the years I have mentioned several Mac troubleshooting utility Apps, one of which is Drive Genius by Prosoft Engineering. Drive Genius is kind of a Swiss Army Knife of Mac utilities, it does all kinds of stuff to repair and clean up your Mac. If you were going to buy one utility App for the Mac I would recommend DG or perhaps Diskwarrior.
Drive Genius BootWell
So, why am I mentioning Drive Genius at this time. I have covered it in several other articles on the Macessence blog. I have mentioned previously that I have a external Tech Hard Drive. I have bootable systems on the drive which contain several Mac utilities including Drive Genius. When I want to tech a machine, I attach the Tech Drive and boot from it. Then I run the necessary Apps to fix whatever the problem happens to be.
However, most people do not have nor do they need a full Tech Drive. This is where the Drive Genius BootWell comes into play. If you own Drive Genius you can make a BootWell Drive of Drive Genius on Flash media. If you need to troubleshoot a Mac you can attach the BootWell Flash Drive to the Mac, boot from it and run Drive Genius to hopefully fix that machine.
So, if you are an owner of Drive Genius, it behooves you to invest a couple of dollars in a Flash Drive and create a BootWell boot disk with it. Then you have your own “Tech Drive” to use for Mac problems. Creating a BootWell drive is easy, here is how it is done.
Insert the Flash Drive into your Mac. It has to be at least 8 GB, but I would recommend a 16 GB or even 32 GB drive just to be safe. Flash Drives are not expensive. Next, boot up Drive Genius. Select your main Mac HD in the left sidebar and click on the BootWell icon:
You will be taken to this screen:
Select the Flash Drive and click Start. It took about an hour for my BootWell Drive to be created. It has to move a stripped down macOS over to the Flash Drive along with Drive Genius and a few other things. Even though this was a USB 3.0 Flash, it was still slow. It warns you in the window that it might take a few hours.
Once the BootWell Drive is created it will look something like this:
Now, this next step is crucial. You need to go into the Startup Disk Pref Pane, select the Drive Genius BootWell drive and “Restart” the machine from it. You could also do this with an “Option-Boot:”
Either way, you are making sure the BootWell Flash Drive will boot your machine. I booted my iMac from my BootWell Drive and took this picture:
When the Flash Drive is done booting up you are presented with this screen. You can then run various utilities on hard drives. I want to emphasize again, this BootWell startup process is very slow. And, using the utilities in Drive Genius is slow also so be patient. I am using an old iMac so YMMV. The bottomline is, if your machine is messed up, a slow fix is better than no fix.
If you do not have Drive Genius or some other Mac utility App I recommend you spring the cash to get one. If it is Drive Genius or DiskWarrior you can make a bootup drive for repairs (yes Diskwarrior does this too). This is very handy. You can take Flash media almost anywhere.