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. This week there are updates for maintenance utilities, SMART status monitors, and virtualization utilities among others.
In Hardware utilities, the SMARTReporter utility for monitoring the status of the computer's internal diagnostics has been updated to fix problems with e-mail delivery not working, and with the program continuing to check drives when set not to.
When people run Disk Utility's Permissions fix on the boot drive, many times they may see a warning stating, "ACLs found but not expected" for a file. There is a small freeware command-line tool called "ACLr8" that will analyze the file system for files that may present this error in Disk Utility, and provide you an option to remove ACLs on these files so the errors will not happen. The current update fixes a problem with quotes in file path names.
In maintenance utilities, TinkerTool System has been updated with a new feature to detect and delete orphaned preference files that can clutter preferences folders. It also can now clean crash report files and can tweak applications to launch in specified languages if they are localized to do so, which may be good in situations like running Rosetta Stone language-teaching software, where you might want to run the program in the language you are learning. TinkerTool System is $14.00 for a license.
The next maintenance release this week is a small update for OnyX, which addresses a few bugs and incorporates a few new options in the iTunes tweaking panel. There are also a few code optimizations for various routines. OnyX is free software.
While not a troubleshooting utility, I love freeware, and the VirtualBox package by Oracle (originally developed by Sun) is a notable option for people wanting to run PC software on their Macs. The program is a virtualization alternative to Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion, and while it may not be as fast or as feature-rich as the alternatives, it will allow for a full Windows VM experience. The program has been updated to fix a number of small stability and performance issues.