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.
If you love to monitor your hardware's temperature and other statistics (which is especially useful for servers--at home or otherwise), then you might take a look at Hardware Monitor, its Remote counterpart, and Temperature monitor. These utilities tap into the computer's built-in sensors to bring you measurements of component temperature, fan revolutions per minute, voltages, drive speeds, and numerous other useful information that can be used to diagnose problems with your system.
Hardware Monitor has been updated with support for the latest iMac computers, and those with "Westmere" class processors, including the latest Mac Pro systems. It also adds support for numerous additional sensors found in Intel-based Macs, and fixes bugs with some sensors not working. If you use network clients with Hardware Monitor, then you should ensure they are updated along with your main computer to ensure full compatibility. Hardware Monitor and Hardware Monitor Remote are free to try but will cost $7 each for a license.
The Temperature Monitor update likewise adds support for the latest Mac systems, but also changes some appearance and readout features to prevent confusion. It also fixes some problems with saved remote sensor entries where they were lost when restarting the program. You can now set Temperature Monitor Lite to open at log-in through its menus, instead of needing to use the System Preferences to do this. Temperature Monitor is a free utility.
The last hardware-related utility updated this week is SMARTReporter, which continually runs and notifies you of potential problems with your hard-drive-based on SMART readings. The program has been updated to fix I/O error checking routine issues that could result in crashes and high CPU usage. It also automatically detects this issue and will disable the I/O error checking feature if the problem persists in the current version. SMARTReporter is a free utility.
In Filesystem utilities, BlueHarvest will scan for and remove hidden Mac OS files that may appear on shared folders and filesystems that will be used with non-OS X systems. This will help prevent clutter if the storage resources are commonly used. The latest update fixes minor UI problems and improves support for NTFS in Snow Leopard. A license for BlueHarvest is $16.95.
Carbon Copy Cloner is one of several reputable drive-cloning programs and is a recommended option for making clone backups before doing system upgrades or program installations. This week's update fixes a variety of errors attributed to handling Access Control Entries and extended attributes. It also resolves an issue with Leopard where encrypted disk image passwords would not be recognized if the password field was still active. Beyond this, the update includes a number of fixes that make it a fairly substantial update. Carbon Copy Cloner is $10.
In Maintenance utilities, Cocktail has added support fro OS X 10.6.5 when it comes out (expected soon), and fixes compatibility issues with iTunes 10 and Safari 5. It also adds a Dock menu and improves some interface issues. A license for Cocktail is $14.95.
A new beta of the next version of OnyX is available, which allows you to run OnyX from a nonadministrative account, and fixes a few small bugs with the program. It also adds some iTunes-specific features and adds some new localization for Hungarian. OnyX is free.