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, file recovery and file system management utilities, and some temperature and hardware monitoring tools.
The popular "TinkerTool" utility is a useful option for finding hidden settings in OS X and installed applications, but the TinkerTool System utility made by the same developers has a number of settings and options for optimizing and maintaining OS X itself. The update this week adds support for Office 2011, and tools for cleaning privacy data on several browser versions. It also clears some other small bugs with user interface elements, inspecting optical discs in 10.6.5, and removing preferences on decomissioned network computers. TinkerTool System is $14 for a license.
The second maintenance utility this week is Cocktail, which has its own set of maintenance features for OS X, allowing for automatic cleaning and scheduling of tasks. Cocktail has been updated to fix an issue with localization deletion not updating the "locate" database, along with some OS X 10.6.5 compatibility issues.
Disk Drill is a relatively new file recovery application which is currently a free utility while it is in development. The tool has been updated to add new in-app navigation features as well as include a user-friendly uninstaller. It also fixes and improves options for detecting and supporting secondary file systems (Time Machine, Boot Camp, and USB drives). The utility also has improved warnings and update checking routines.
The next file system utility update is JDiskReport, which is a free, cross-platform tool developed in Java that will analyze your drive and show statistics on file system use. Similar to tools like DaisyDisk and Grand Perspective, this one offers a graphical view of disk usage but instead of focusing on which files and folders are using the most space it helps you find more obsolete and orphaned files and folders.
The last set of updates this week involves the Hardware and Temperature Monitor tools from Bresink Software (the developers of TinkerTool). As their names suggest, Hardware Monitor and Temperature Monitor can be used to see live statistics of fan speeds, sudden motion sensors, battery levels, amperage sensors, the temperatures of numerous components, among other monitorable features of Mac systems. The latest updates add support for the latest MacBook Air models, and also fixes some small bugs with date production strings for specific systems being incorrect. The tools have also withdrawn support for monitoring the Hard Drive Proximity and Graphics Processor 1 Analog Sensor, with the developers stating these sensors do not work reliably on some iMac and portable systems. Temperature Monitor is a free utility, but Hardware Monitor and it's "Remote" utility will cost $7 for a full license.