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 file recovery software, some drive monitoring utilities, and duplicate file management tools.
Cocktail is a good option to use as part of a general maintenance routine and also has options to allow for adjusting hidden settings in OS X. The program has been updated this week to improve the procedure for managing potentially harmful files, and adds support for removing the recent "Mac Security," "Mac Defender," and "Mac Protector" malware threats that have surfaced for OS X. The program also now has an automator action for purging inactive memory. A full license for Cocktail will cost $14.95.
A relatively new maintenance program is iTuneUp, which is a cloud-based program that relies on system information from a community of users to suggest and tailor cleaning routines for your system. The program is a free utility that has been updated with a few stability improvements.
Files and File system
In file system management utilities, the popular disk utility Drive Genius has been updated with a number of enhancements. The program now offers options to cancel live defragmentation routines and fixes errors with the management of "large block" disks. The program is also now OS X 10.7 Lion ready. Drive Genius is a $99 program.
The second file system utility is WhatSize, which like DaisyDisk and GrandPerspective is a graphical approach to viewing the filesystem usage. The program can easily allow you to isolate large files and folders and better manage your hard drive usage, especially if you are running low on space. The latest update improves the routines for deleting and managing duplicate files, addresses bugs with the contextual menus, and CSV file export where file names were not included in file paths. WhatSize will cost $12.99 for a full license.
If you have lost files and need to recover them, there are a number of file recovery tools out there that will scan your hard drive block by block and identify file structures for recovery. Recovery is usually hit or miss, and some programs may have success at identifying a lost file when others do not. Some of the recovery programs that have been around for OS X for a while are the offerings from Stellar Phoenix, and its Photo Recovery tool has been recently updated to add support for a number of new file formats (file structure definitions that aid in the recovery process for those file types). Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is $39 for a license.
The last file management tool this week is another file recovery tool called "PhotoRescue Wizard," which offers another scanner for digital media to recover files lost after formatting or crashes. The developers have not issued any information on what is new in the latest release, but if you need to recover files from digital media and other options have failed, then this may be worth a shot. The program is $29 for a license.
There is only one hardware-based utility this week, which is the lightweight menu extra "MiniUsage" that can be used to montior a number of statistics about your system. The program can show you temperatures, fan speeds, network and disk activity, along with other system features. The latest update adds options to quit or force-quit the processes listed in the menu.