Troubleshooting utility news and updates

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

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 to some maintenance and filesystem tools, including a major update of TechTool Pro, and some hardware and process management tools.

Maintenance
Some standard maintenance programs were updated this week. The tools OnyX and Maintenance are made by the same developer, with Maintenance being a stripped-down version of OnyX that just offers quick access to the maintenance components of the program. These utilities have been updated to improve cache and diagnostic report deletion routines, adding support for Safari's image cache and the Dock's "Single Application" mode. Both of these utilities are free applications.

The next update was to Cocktail, which offers a number of maintenance tasks and system-tweaking options. The latest version now allows you to purge inactive memory and optimize virtual memory usage. It also allows you to manage virtual memory swapping and improves the clearing of several system caches. The tool also has options for managing help viewer window floating behaviors and now has more up-to-date automater actions. Cocktail is $14.95 for a full license.

The last maintenance utility is MacPilot, which along with various maintenance tasks offers numerous system tweaking options for enabling hidden settings in OS X. The tool has been updated to address a small plugin bug, but otherwise has not been changed. MacPilot is $19.95 after the 15-day trial.

Disk and filesystem
The next set of utilities updated this week are for managing disks and filesystems, and include a cloning option, a file-sizing tool, and a file-locating tool.

Clone X was updated this week, and as its name suggests it is one of several options available for creating clones of drives. It can be used to make full system backups or bootable clones of the main hard drive that can be used when upgrading or migrating to new systems, or when performing maintenance tasks. The latest version now has more information when issuing error warnings, and has been updated to use several new programming APIs. As a result, OS X 10.4 or earlier are no longer supported by CloneX. The program is $49 for a license.

The next filesystem utility is DaisyDisk, which offers a graphical approach to sizing files and folders on your disk. Having a visual representation of files allows you to quickly find the ones that are taking up the most space, and be able to manage them easily. The latest version addresses some bugs with keyboard focus, some missing interface elements, Blu-ray discs not being detected (on Macs with external BD drives), among some smaller bugs. DaisyDisk costs $19.95 for a license.

The last disk and filesystem utility that was updated is Find Any File, which is a system search alternative to Spotlight and offers unique searching algorithms as well as result organization that may be useful if Spotlight does not work properly. The latest version fixes a bug where sorting results by date did not work properly.

Hardware
The only hardware-based tool this week is SwitchResX, which is a utility that offers numerous unsupported resolutions, color depths, and other unique settings for monitors. It can be used in special display setups, and offers settings both in the system menu and in contextual menus for convenient access. The program has been updated to fix broken compatibility with OS X 10.5, and now offers support for OS X 10.7 when it is released. SwitchResX is 14 euros for a license (about $26 at the moment).



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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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