Our 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 the big updates are with data recovery utilities, but there are a couple of hardware and maintenance utilities as well.
Disk Drill is a relatively new data recovery package that is in development to be released as a licensed product, but for now is available with all functions enabled as a free utility. The software can recover files from hard drives and flash media devices, but also has a recovery vault feature that actively tracks files and prevents the loss of attributes like its name and location. The latest update to Disk Drill improves the performance of Recovery Vault and fixes some GUI glitches. In addition, it makes single-partitioned disk names more readable and includes a feedback reporter for offering suggestions and troubleshooting to the developers.
The second update is Data Rescue from ProSoft Engineering, which is one of the more common data recovery packages available for the Mac, and does a good job at taking precautions to preserve the original drive's data when running recovery routines. This update makes the program a full 64-bit native application, which may allow for faster performance when managing the recovery of large files. It also includes a number of new features such as a new welcome window and a "Expert" feature for formatting voluems to HFS+. There are improvements to the recovery engine, focusing on improved recovery for existing file types but also for some new ones (the software can be taught to recognize unknown file types). This is a full and significant update, and people running Data Rescue will also want to get a new boot DVD that contains the new software. A license for Data Rescue is $99.
In hardware monitoring and management utilities, the free SMARTReporter utility has been updated to fix problems with its auto-updater where updates would have to be redownloaded. The software has also been digitally signed with an official certificate, which ensures the package you are downloading has not been tampered with.
In maintenance utilities, the optimization program Socks has been updated to fix a bug that caused crashes at launch. The program allows you to tweak system features to save space and conserve RAM usage, as well as troubleshoot application and system hangs and maintain files on the drive so they are properly accessible. It runs a number of the same cache cleaning and permissions repairing routines that other maintenance utilities have, but includes a couple of scheduling and queueing options that may be useful. The program is free to try, but will cost $14.99 for a license.
The last utility updated in the past week is Yasu (Yet Another System Utility), which again has a set of cache cleaning, log management, and maintenance-script-running options. The program is a fairly simple window of check boxes for running the various routines, with an option to quickly restart or shutdown after the cleaning is done. Similar to the utility Maintenance, its simple approach may be appealing to those who just need a quick way to clean and get on with their work. Though not free, it may as well be at $3.50 per license.