Troubleshooting-utility news and update

Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week, which include two popular maintenance tools, filesystem management utilities, and some hardware-configuring options.

Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were updates for some popular maintenance tools, a few file management and search utilities, and a couple of hardware management suites, including a relatively good software monitor calibrator.

Maintenance
With OS X Lion's release the various maintenance utilities for OS X have been updated regularly to address bugs and compatibility issues with the new OS. This week, both the free OnyX and the $9.99 Lion Cache Cleaner have seen minor updates to versions that were already released for Lion, to address small bugs that have cropped up. The details of what's addressed by these updates aren't given, but as with other maintenance tools, do expect to see them updated regularly in the near future to fix small bugs with OS X Lion.

Files and filesystem
In filesystem utilities, the tool WhatSize is a great option for determining which files on your system are using the most disk space. This can be especially useful for locating odd system files (sleep images, caches, and log files) that may suddenly grow in size because of problems. The utility is $12.99 and its latest update addresses problems with file size calculations, compatibility with Lion, the handling of special characters in file paths, and some other problems that could cause hangs and pauses.

The next utility is Tidy Up, which, like WhatSize, can be used to find files that are using up your hard-drive space; however, it does so by targeting duplicate files instead of just outlining file sizes on disk. Tidy Up's latest update adds more Lion compatibility and fixes the option to search OS X's Mail program, in addition to fixing some crash conditions for the program. The tool is $30.00 for a license.

The last filesystem utility is EasyFind, which is an alternative to Apple's Spotlight search, and searches the entire filesystem to locate files by name. If there are problems with Spotlight, then having an alternative can sometimes be a quicker way to locate files. EasyFind is a free utility, and the latest update fixes some compatibility issues with OS X Lion.

Hardware
One utility I am happy to see updated is SuperCal, an alternative application for calibrating monitors in OS X. Apple's built-in calibrator is good for ensuring most monitors' colors are close, but can be a bit cumbersome to use. Hardware calibrators are best for ensuring continuity and accuracy across different monitors, but sometimes may result in odd color spectra that seem a bit washed out. SuperCal has extensive options for defining color response curves, and may be a good upgrade over Apple's built-in calibrator for casual users. A license for SuperCal is $19.00.

The last utility this week is SpeedTools Utilities, which is a collection of tools for managing your hard drive. The tools include optimization routines, backups, file recovery, and benchmarking, and can be a good all-around suite of disk management tools to have on your system. The suite is developed by Intech software corporation (a company that amusingly is one "i" short of requiring cover sheets on its TPS reports), and will cost $54.95 for a license.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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