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Using TechTool Protogo

The TechTool Protogo Interface

Profile Viewer

Devices Pane

Profiles Pane

Profile Editor

Using a Protogo Device

The TechTool Protogo Interface

You can run TechTool Protogo either from the installed version on your hard drive or directly from the TechTool Protogo DVD. To launch the program, double-click the Protogo icon. After the program has launched, you will see the main TechTool Protogo window.

Main Screen

The main window is divided into three panes with a button bar at the bottom. The upper pane is the Profile Viewer. This is a visual summary of the currently selected device and the profile. The two panes beneath the Profile Viewer display information about the storage devices attached to the computer and about the available device profiles, including any custom profiles you may have created. Use the New and Delete button below the Profiles pane to create or delete profiles. Click the Edit button to bring up the Profile Editor to set up a device profile the way you wish. Click the Build TechTool Protogo button to completely erase the selected device and configure it using the selected profile. These options are covered in more detail below.

Profile Viewer

Profile Viewer

The upper pane in the Protogo window is the Profile Viewer. The top left of the pane displays an icon for each Mac OS version included in the profile. Beneath this is a series of icons indicating the applications that are included on the volumes in the profile. The application icons move across the screen and disappear into an icon of the currently selected device. The lower portion of the pane displays the profile name and the beginning of the profile description. To view the full description, click the Edit button at the bottom of the screen (or double-click the profile name in the Profiles pane).

Devices Pane

The Devices pane is the lower left pane in the TechTool Protogo window. It displays an icon for each device available for use by Protogo.

Devices Pane

Click on a device icon to select it for use by the program. Listed next to each device icon is its name, device type and identifier (e.g. External FireWire (disk1)), and size.

Click on the Eject button beneath the Devices pane to eject the selected device.

Profiles Pane

The Profiles pane is the bottom right pane in the TechTool Protogo window.

Profiles Pane

A profile is a complete device configuration, including any volumes (partitions) and their contents. Both the included default profiles and any custom profiles you have created will be displayed in the Profiles pane. You can create profiles for use on devices ranging from 2GB flash drives containing a minimal bootable system with one or two utilities all the way up to large hard drives with full installations of Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and multiple utilities or other software.

The Profiles pane displays a Profile Strip for each available profile.

Profile Strip

Each Profile Strip includes the profile name, the number of volumes on the profile, and a brief description of the selected profile.

On the right side of the strip is a bar graph indicating the amount of used and free space on the device.


The graph colors indicate the following:

  • green–space used on the selected device by the profile.
  • white–free space available on the selected device.
  • red–insufficient space on the selected device to build the profile.

TechTool Protogo includes eight default profiles:

  • Mac OS X Intel Profile–will create a bootable Mac OS X partition based on a minimal system installation that boots Intel-based Macs (similar to a bootable CD or DVD with no Finder).
  • Mac OS X PowerPC Profile–will create a bootable Mac OS X partition based on a minimal system installation that boots PowerPC Macs as well as Intel Macs that are capable of booting Mac OS 10.5.8 (similar to a bootable CD or DVD with no Finder).
  • Mac OS X Basic Profile–will create a minimal copy of the active Mac OS X system installation.
  • MacOS X Recovery HD Profile–Backup your Mac OS X Lion Recovery partition. (Available on Macs with Mac OS X 10.7 installed and a valid Recovery HD)
  • Mac OS X Full Copy Profile–will create a full copy of the active Mac OS X system installation.
  • Mac OS X Intel & Mac OS 9 Profile–will create a partition based on the Mac OS X Intel Profile and a second partition based on the Mac OS 9 Profile.
  • Mac OS X PowerPC & Mac OS 9 Profile–will create a partition based on the Mac OS X PowerPC Profile and a second partition based on the Mac OS 9 Profile.
  • Mac OS 9 Profile–will create a bootable Mac OS 9 partition.

NOTE Users of Mac OS X 10.7 that have FileVault 2 enabled will be unable to access their encrypted volumes unless they use the Basic Profile to create a device that contains Mac OS X 10.7.x.

All profiles contain a default list of applications. For Mac OS X, these are:

  • TechTool Pro 6
  • Activity Monitor
  • Console
  • Disk Utility
  • Preview (Basic Only)
  • System Profiler
  • Terminal

For the Recovery HD Profile, the partition will contain:

  • Disk Utility
  • Safari
  • Console
  • Terminal

For Mac OS 9 the defaults are:

  • TechTool Pro 3.1.1
  • Disk First Aid
  • Drive Setup

Use the following buttons beneath the Profiles pane to work with profiles:

  • New–click this button to bring up the Profile Editor screen and create a new profile. Details about the Profile Editor are covered below.
  • Delete–click this button to delete the selected profile.
  • Edit–click this button to bring up the Profile Editor screen with information about the selected profile. You can then alter the configuration as desired. Details about the Profile Editor are covered below.
  • Build TechTool Protogo Device–click this button to copy the contents of the selected profile to the selected device.

WARNING Be sure that any important data on the device is backed up before choosing Build TechTool Protogo Device, since the entire device, including all volumes currently on it, will be completely erased. Any data on the device will be lost.

Profile Editor

Click the New button or Edit button beneath the Profiles pane to bring up the Profile Editor. The Profile Editor is where you create and/or configure a device profile to your specifications.

Profile Editor


At the top of the screen is the Profile Name field. Simply enter the desired name for the profile into the field.

On the right of the Profile Name field is the Select Profile to Copy pop-down menu. Use this menu if you wish to copy an existing profile's attributes into the Profile Editor so that you can produce a modified version of that profile. This is often easier than creating a new profile from scratch.

Beneath the Profile Name field is the Description field. Enter whatever you like in this field for a profile description. This information will be displayed in the Profile Viewer on the main Protogo screen.

On the left, below the Description field, is the Volume List. This displays a Volume Strip for each volume currently included in the profile.

Volume Strip

The Volume Strip shows an icon for the device. To the right of the icon are a number of fields:

  • Name–enter the desired name for the volume.
  • System–choose what Mac OS version, if any, to install on the volume from the pop-down menu.
  • Format–choose the desired volume format from the pop-down menu.
  • Disk Usage–this field displays the total amount of disk space used by the volume.
  • Additional Space–enter the amount of additional space you wish to include on the volume. Use the pop-down menu on the right of the field to choose whether this will be indicated in MB (megabytes or million bytes) or GB (gigabytes or billion bytes).

Click the Add Volume button beneath the Volume List to add a new volume (partition) to the profile. Click the Delete Volume button to delete the selected volume (partition) from the profile.

To the right of the Volume List is the Content List. This displays a list of the utility programs on the selected volume.

Content List

Click the (+) button to bring up a File/Folder Selection dialog to select a file or folder containing a utility you wish to add to the selected volume. It will be placed in the Applications/Utilities folder on the volume. Click the (-) button to delete the currently selected file or folder from the list. Click the Show File button to display a Finder window showing the original location of the selected file or folder.

NOTE Not all application programs are self-contained. If a program consists of multiple parts, then simply copying a program file into a profile may not produce a working program on the device.

Click the Save button on the lower right of the Profile Editor to save the current state of the profile and return to the TechTool Protogo window. Click the Cancel button to cancel any changes made in the current Profile Editor session and return to the TechTool Protogo window.

NOTE The profiles are saved in the file "~/Library/Preferences/com.micromat.protogo.profiles.plist" (where "~" refers to the current user's folder).

Using a Protogo Device

Once Protogo has finished building a bootable device, it can be used to start up a Mac to perform a variety of troubleshooting tasks.  There are several ways to start up from the new device.

Micromat Launcher

To start up from devices created using the Mac OS X Intel and PowerPC profiles, double click the Micromat Launcher.  The Mac will then restart from the Protogo Device.protogo_launcher

Startup Disk

Once Protogo has finished configuring your device, it will be visible in the Startup Disk Preference Pane under System Preferences.  Select the device to boot from, then click the Restart... button.


Startup Manager

A Protogo device can also be selected using the Startup Manager.  To start up from a device in this way, do the following:

  1. Startup or restart your Mac.
  2. Immediately upon hearing the startup chime, hold down the Option key until the Startup Manager appears.  The Startup Manager is a screen which displays the disks available that can start up your Mac.
  3. Using the arrow keys, select the device you wish to start up from.
  4. Press the Return key.

The Mac will now start up from the selected device.