Our weekly utilities update report is a list of 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 to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems.
This week we have updates for hardware-monitoring and drive-scanning utilities, along with network diagnostics tools and some others for managing printers and software on your system.
In hardware utilities, the hard-drive repair, testing, and management utility Drive Genius ($99) has been updated to include a few more precautionary measures in scanning routines as well as some bug fixes. When defragmenting the drive you can now optionally do an in-depth drive verification to ensure the structure is OK before proceeding. Bug fixes include detection of HFSX and NTFS volumes, as well as GUI glitches and incorrect sizes listed for package files in the fragmentation list. Additionally, in Snow Leopard the program now will continue when bad blocks are found, instead of quitting during the "Duplicate" routine.
iStat Menus ($16) has seen a small update to add support for 2010 iMac fan-speed control, as well as support for the Magic Trackpad battery level. Beyond this are small bug fixes and enhancements to the user interface.
Lastly, in hardware-based utilities is SwitchResX ($14), which can be used to customize video output settings for unique monitor setups. It is just a maintenance release to fix a few minor bugs.
In networking utilities only WhatRoute (free!) has been updated, and this release adds a number of bug fixes and features, including enhancements for international specifications and layouts both in Google Maps as well as in the application itself. A couple of crashes also have been addressed for loading preference files and when traces are being run.
CNET's TechTracker (free!) software to catalog and update third-party utilities on your system has been updated to fix a problem with installing the preference pane in OS X 10.5. Lastly, Gutenprint 5.2.6 (Free!) is out, which includes new support for Epson Stylus Pro printer. Keep in mind, however, that updating printer software is often hit or miss in OS X and can cause problems with the printing system, so install this only if your printer is not working and you can go for a while without printing in the event of an error.
As always, be sure to back up your current system before installing or updating any software.