Company: Aladdin Systems
Estimated Price: $29.95
So you have a new program, or perhaps
an old one, and you want to make a
backup of it. Hey, you spent some
serious dough for that software, and heaven forbid anything amiss happens to your original master disks. However, some programs will not let you create workable second generation disks. My first copy of Photoshop 3.0, for instance. I could copy each disk, but somehow the program knew that they were on another disk, and would not let me reinstall from anything but the originals. Not even DiskDup+ worked!
So, what do you do? You want a backup copy, and preferably on a Zip disk. There is, of course, only one real answer: ShrinkWrap!
I have been using ShrinkWrap for years. It has always been one of the most important shareware programs on my hard drive. And, truth be told, it has always served its purpose well.
Recently, Aladdin Systems (creators of StuffIt in all its many forms) bought the rights to ShrinkWrap, and made some improvements to the software, dubbing it version 3.0. And while the everyday Mac user will not find the operation or execution of the program any different, the high-end user will.
First, what does ShrinkWrap actually do?
ShrinkWrap is a utility that can quickly and easily turn a disk into a file. The file can then be transmitted electronically (via the Internet, etc.) and just as quickly returned to an exact disk image of the original source disk. ShrinkWrap supports all of the commonly used image file formats. (Yes, I took that right out of Aladdin’s Product Overview document.)
That pretty much sums up what it does… kind of. Here’s a scenario:
Apple releases a new update for the Mac OS. They post it online as Disk Images, which you would download. You then use Disk Copy (free from Apple) or DiskDup+ (Shareware from Roger D. Bates, my personal favorite) Either of these programs then copy the Disk Image onto a real floppy disk. Viola! You now have a perfect copy of said disk.
Now, as we all know, it is a real pain in the posterior to install programs from floppy disks. Stick one in, wait five minutes, pull it out, repeat ten times, and restart. Wouldn’t it be much easier if you had, say, ten floppy disk drives, so that you could insert each disk all at once, and have the computer simply go on to the next one without you? You guessed it, that is pretty much what ShrinkWrap does.
Besides saving disks as an image, ShrinkWrap’s true glory shines when you use it to mount the images on your desktop. In other words, you drag all the Disk Images to ShrinkWrap, and each image creates a “disk” on your desktop. In fact, your Mac now thinks that those are actual disk drives in sitting on your desktop. To you, they look like disks. You can click them open, see what’s inside, install your programs, etc… This method is much faster when you are installing programs that you would normally need ten floppy disks for. (And remember, floppies are cheap and often go bad. Permanent backups of floppies on a removable media is much safer and dependable.)
Think about it. You can carry all your programs with you anywhere you want on one or two Zip disks, or create permanent backups. ShrinkWrap also works with any disk, meaning you could create a Image of a CD and mount it on your desktop.
Now, is ShrinkWrap worth the price? At only $29.95, I would say yes. This program is twice as fast as its nearest competitor, as well as being able to open more formats of disk images than any other similar program. It also compresses images around 30 percent smaller, meaning less storage space used and quicker download/upload times.
Many people will ask “Why buy this if I already have an older version that works great, like 2.1?” Fair question. The answer, simply put, is because Aladdin needs you, the consumer, to pay for quality products like ShrinkWrap 3.0 if you want them to continue to develop for the Mac. Aladdin is one of the most needed companies in the Macintosh development community. With award winning products like StuffIt Deluxe, Spring Cleaning, DropStuff, StuffIt Expander, and more, Mac users need to pony up a little money to help keep this great company going. Yes, for 95% of everything I use ShrinkWrap for, my version 2.1 will work just fine. But 3.0 seems faster than 2.1, is loaded with more advanced features, and is twice as compatible with other disk image file types.
ShrinkWrap is Trialware only, meaning you cannot buy it in a store. You can only download it from Aladdin, much like regular shareware programs. But with this one, you can rest assured you will have one of the very best software developers standing behind their product. And that’s something well worth investing your money in.
MacMice Rating: 4
Tim Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org)