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 to maintenance utilities and one hardware management tool.
Most of the updates this week are for maintenance utilities, some of which can be used for running in OS X, and also for managing files on the filesystem.
Cocktail is a popular tool for running maintenance routines, giving quick ways to run cleaning and repair routines in OS X. The latest version offers options for removing variants of the MacDefender scamware, and improvements for checking the S.M.A.R.T. status of hard drives. A license for Cocktail costs $14.95.
Also updated is the popular program OnyX. This release is the third beta update for version 2.2.8, and is a small bug-fix for the version. The 2.2.8 update brings a number of new options for managing memory and virtual memory, as well as offering some cosmetic and UI enhancements. OnyX is a free utility for OS X.
The next utility is CheckUp, which can be used to check the health of your Mac's disks and memory, fix common problems, and show you performance and usage information in a graphical manner. The latest update to CheckUp prepares the program for those who are going to upgrade to OS X 10.7 Lion when it is released. CheckUp costs $30.00 for a full license.
The last maintenance utility is HDCleanUp, a disk-cleaning tool for OS X that will show large files, deleted files, log files, and others that you may not need but that may be taking up hard-disk space. The tool costs $7.99 for a license, and the latest update is a bug-fix release.
The final utility updated this week is SMART Utility, a hardware-management utility for hard drives that reads the drive's S.M.A.R.T. statistics (built-in diagnostics) to determine if the drive is behaving incorrectly, and will report any problems to you if they appear. While S.M.A.R.T. is not always the most reliable option for determining hard-drive health, it is an available one that may help, and regularly checking it is recommended. There are some free S.M.A.R.T. reporting utilities, but SMART Utility requires you to purchase a $25 license.