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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 include maintenance tools and file system handling tools for OS X.

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 mainly updates for file system management tools, but also a couple of maintenance tools and a hardware utility.

Files and file system
While not technically applications, AppleScripts and compiled AppleScript applications can be coded to perform a variety of tasks for the system that will do a number of file management and maintenance tasks. There are several AppleScript repositories, including Doug's AppleScripts and AppleScripts by Tom X. Recently the scripts "iRemove .DS_Store files and "iShow Invisible from AppleScripts by Tom X were updated to address some small bugs and be ready for OS X 10.7 Lion. These scripts specifically remove the hidden .DS_Store files that OS X puts within every folder on the system, and enables or disables the viewing of hidden files in the Finder. These scripts are all free, and you can use them to help in your own scripting if needed.

The second utility updated this week is DaisyDisk, which is a popular tool for graphically viewing file sizes to see which files and folders are using the most space on your disk. The tool competes with others like WhatSize and the free GrandPerspective and Disk Inventory X (PowerPC Only) tools. It has been updated to address some tiny bugs in the previous version. DaisyDisk is $19.95 for a license.

The last file system update is for SuperDuper, which is one of several popular cloning utilities for OS X that will allow you to make bootable mirror-copy backups of your hard drive. The program is $27.95 for a license, and its latest version includes a number of new features such as the capability to prevent drives from being ejected during synchronizations and prevent errors with aggressive verification routines performed on active files. If you use SuperDuper to create and maintain your disk clones, then you might consider applying this update.

In maintenance utilities this week, Yasu has been updated to add Safari and system kernel cleaning routines. It also now will exclude some of Safari's local storage options where pertinent settings and information are stored. Yasu is $3.50 for a license.

The only other maintenance-related update this week is for OnyX, which like Yasu offers quick access to a number of built-in maintenance routines in addition to offering unique approaches to clearing caches and other temporary files. The latest version fixes some small bugs and adds minor improvements to cache cleaning, some user interface elements, and screen-capture settings. OnyX is free software.

The final utility this week is gfxCardStatus. It is not directly a troubleshooting utility, but does allow you to manage the graphics cards in your system, which can help you troubleshoot graphics problems. GfxCardStatus is a free utility and has been updated to fix a few memory leaks and support the graphics chipsets in the latest Mac systems.

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