Micromat announces TechTool Protogo; turns iPod into a bootable Mac OS X diagnostic tool

Micromat today announced the upcoming release of it latest product, TechTool Protogo. TechTool Protogo is a Mac OS X application that lets a Macintosh user turn an old iPod, a flash drive or other similar device into a bootable diagnostic tool that contains several of Micromat’s utilities. Users may also install other utilities if desired. This device can then be used to boot, check, maintain and repair Macintosh computers. It allows a customer to create a tool similar to Micromat’s TechTool Protege on a device they already own.

TechTool Protogo ships on a DVD that includes the Protogo configuration application, as well as Micromat’s TechTool Pro Classic (for Mac OS 9 systems and below), TechTool Pro 4 (for Mac OS X), and DiskStudio. Protogo includes several profiles for standard system/utility configurations, making it easy to set up a device for specific needs. One can also create and save custom profiles that include third-party utilities as well. The standard profiles included with the program range from a minimal bootable system with TechTool Pro 4 and DiskStudio, to a full-blown Mac OS X installation including a Finder, Classic, and multiple utility programs.

With Protogo, it is possible to create a portable diagnostic device that can:

• Boot most Macintosh computers
• Diagnose and repair hard drive problems
• Test major hardware components
• Find viruses (Mac OS 9)
• Find system conflicts (Mac OS 9)
• Optimize and defragment hard drive volumes
• Rebuild volume directories
• Recover data from damaged volumes
• Repartition hard drives without losing data
• Boot different Mac OS versions from different partitions
• Run a variety of utilities
• And much more…

TechTool Protogo will begin shipping at MacWorld Expo on January 9th, 2007. The retail price will be $199.00 with an estimated street price of $135.00. It will be available through select dealers and resellers worldwide, as well as directly from Micromat, Inc. An upgrade will be available as well to those who currently own TechTool Pro 4.

More info here.


  1. How could this harm the iPod? Unless you figure using up all the room is ‘harming it’. Besides, the iPod isn’t designed to work as a system drive – too slow, uses too much battery. Still, I think it would do more to harm its reputation than its hardware/software. As an emergency use? Why not?

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page

  2. Sounds great, but the PRICE?

    If we could run Disk Warrior and Apple Disk Utility in addition to TTP, that would be fantastic! No more clump of diagnostic CDs to lug around!!!

    Let’s hope the upgrade price for licensed TTP users is reasonable.

  3. I think a handheld OS X repair tool is great!

    Seeing how often I have had problems with OS X….it won;t harm any iPods. In fact I will use it less than my automated desert lobster locator.

    Just my $0.02

    P.S. My G4 Quick Silver has run problem free for 4.5 years. It has been hooked to the Internet via ADSL the entire time (minus hurricane generated interruptions).

  4. great idea. But I wonder what kinda impact this has on the iPod drive. On the other side they’re also mentioning flash drives as being supported. Really wonder why Apple didn’t think of this themselves…plus using the iPod as a backup device.

  5. @ Mr. Reeee: From Micromat’s website: “Protogo allows you to quickly create a bootable diagnostic device that contains Micromat’s most powerful tools as well as any of your own utilities you may wish to install.”

    I have not been able to verify how much drive space is required, though, or whether USB flash drives are supported (Micromat’s web page implies that only FireWire drives are supported).

  6. OK folks, this is not new NEWS. I’ve been booting Macs off my iPods since 2001. Any iPod that can be connected to a Mac using firewire (Gen 1 through 3) can also have Mac OX Tiger installed on it along with any other program you have. That includes an utilities for maintaining the integrity of your hard drives.

    The drive in the iPod isn’t spinning all the time when used as an iPod. It will spin all the time when you boot from it. It isn’t sapping the battery though since it is getting power through the firewire connection to the Mac. I’ve never had an iPod go south on me from booting from it. To this day my 2nd Gen iPod 20GB is what I use for troubleshhoting a sick Mac.

    I didn’t read anywhere in this article where it said it could be used on a USB based iPod. If they’ve figured out a way to do that then this may be the ONLY selling point that could justify the high price tag.

  7. One difference between this and a do-it-yourself emergency repair drive is that Micromat licenses a special version of OS X, which has a smaller footprint than the full install. At least that is what they do with their bootable CD-ROMs and eDrives, and I assume it’s the same with this. Which could be good or bad, depending on your needs.

  8. I just realized that the phrase “a special version” in my previous post could be misleading. I meant that they include a special stripped-down, bare-bones variant of the OS, which is not available as an install option from a regular Apple install disc. Otherwise it is the same “version” as whichever version is current.

  9. > Power PC Mac’s won’t boot from a USB drive. I found this out recently after purchasing a Maxtor USB external drive. I was disappointed.

    There are tips like this one that show how to boot some newer PPC Macs from a USB drive


    I suspect Micromat has devised a way to make this work on a wider range of PPC Macs (without the “hacking” open firmware steps) because they claim

    “Our current bootable products support all PowerPC and Intel Macintosh computers capable of running Mac OS X 10.4 or greater.”

    Way to go, Micromat! I look forward to seeing a demo at MacWorld SF.

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