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Troubleshooting utility news and updates

Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week, which this week covers some maintenance tools, drive management tools, and file recovery options.

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 for some maintenance tools, a couple of hard-disk monitoring tools, and some file recovery and duplicate file management tools.

In maintenance utilities this week, the tools Cocktail and Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner have been updated. Both of these updates are small bug-fix releases for compatibility with OS X 10.6.7. The Cocktail update also refines the program's routine to purge inactive memory. A license for Cocktail costs $14.95, and Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner costs $9.99.

Hardware utility updates this week revolve around disk management. The tool SMARTReporter is a program that will allow you to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. status of ATA drives (your internal disks) to watch for failures. This latest update is a significant one, bringing brand-new code for managing I/O error checking, event logging, and improvements to notification options, and adding options to perform more in-depth S.M.A.R.T. tests and reporting. The program is now at version 2.6.0, and is a free utility.

The next hardware utility is DiskRadar, which like SMARTReporter will monitor the disk's internal diagnostics, but also will monitor disk performance in real time to better determine if a failure is about to happen. The program also has options to graphically size files on disk, similar to the radial view that DaisyDisk uses. The program has been updated to add a couple of small "tweaks and fixes" from its initial v1.0 release. A full license will cost $12.95.

Files and folders
If you are looking to recover lost files on your system, one of the more popular options is Data Rescue (by the makers of Drive Genius), but a relatively new option is Disk Drill by CleverFiles. The program has recently finished development and is now available in a limited Free version or a full Pro option that will cost between $89 and $299, depending on the license. The latest update adds specific support for additional file formats, and offers better bad block detection and management. It also improves managing of lost partitions and sorting of recovered files. There are some small bug fixes to the interface and implemented support for OS X 10.7 Lion.

The final utility update this week is DupeGuru, a program that helps you locate duplicate files on your disk. This can happen after migrating accounts, various program libraries or projects (suc has iTunes, iPhoto, or Final Cut Pro/Express) or if you have reinstalled your system. One benefit to this program is it can help find duplicate files even if their names have been changed. The tool has been updated to fix a couple of crash situations. You can use it to delete up to 10 duplicate files per launch session for free, or buy a full license for $19.95.

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