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 on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This past week there were updates with maintenance tools, some popular ones for managing disks and filesystems, and an open source Unix port management utility.
The first updates this week are to OnyX and its stripped-down sibling "Maintenance," which both can be used to run routine maintenance tasks such as removing caches and temporary files. Both programs have been updated to better handle the fonts cache and deleting the system logs, as well as fix a bug with checking the volume for errors. In addition to these, Onyx specifically includes improved help, managing hidden .DS_Store files, and a few user interface bugs. Both programs are free.
The next maintenance tool updated is CleanMyMac, which like OnyX and Maintenance offers cache clearing solutions, but in addition it includes options to slim down applications by removing unused code and languages, as well as uninstall applications and securely erase files. The latest update adds App Store compatibility, and addresses problems with slimming applications under rosetta and clearing iPhoto caches. It also adds options to clean up iOS firmware updates.
Disk and file system
The disk and file system utilities updated this week are the main updates. DaisyDisk allows you to interactively view the files on your disk in a graphical form to see which are using up more space. The latest update adds a help section, better support for Blu-ray data discs, and fixes bugs with managing keyboard focus and visual feedback for drag and drop routines. DaisyDisk is $19.95 for a full license.
A tool that compliments the functions of DaisyDisk is dupeGuru, which locates duplicates or near duplicates of files on your hard drive, in an effort to prevent useless drive space usage. dupeGuru has been updated to fix a broken contextual menu, odd "unsaved results" messages when quitting, and some UI elements for preventing accidental cancellations of tasks.
The next file system tool is MiniTool Mac Data Recovery, which is one of several recovery options for OS X. The tool includes options to undelete files, recover damaged partitions, restore lost partitions, and also handle digital media. The tool is free, though is limited to restoring only 1GB of data.
The last update to disk utilities is Drive Genius, which was updated to version 3.1. The major new feature of this update is the ability to defragment the startup volume without booting off an alternative boot source. In addition, the Drive Pulse feature supports new error and warning options, including visual changes to the menu extra icon. The program also adds support for ExFAT and HFSX, though UFS volume support has been dropped. Beyond these features a number of bug fixes have been implemented. Drive Genius is $99 for a full license.
A note to Drive Genius users: The latest version should be downloaded separately and applied without using the built-in updater. A bug in the program's updater will prevent the update from installing correctly if used, so download the standalone disk image containing the update.
While not in itself a direct troubleshooting utility, being a package manager MacPorts offers numerous open source troubleshooting tools that are available to the Unix community. The tool can be used to monitor versions of packages installed and keep you updated with the latest releases of tools you use, compiling them from source code when needed. The latest update is a small bugfix, and like the similar utility "fink," is free software.