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Dan BrowneMaintenance
by on Aug 11, 2008 at 4:14:56 am

I am a PC tech in a Mac world at the moment and I'm in need of some help. On PC there where several tools I used for maintaining my computer, it kept it nice and fast and so I never had many troubles with it. I have now been forced onto a mac and so wanting to learn all the small things that makes it tick and all that jazz. Are there any cool programs for optimising and maintaining macs, one of the best ones I had for PC was one called Tuneup Utilities. Anything like that for mac? I have had a play with Disk Utility and Disk Warrior, just wondering if there is anything else.

Thanks a million,


Dan Browne
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Cloud South Films

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Jeff CarpenterRe: Maintenance
by on Aug 11, 2008 at 4:54:51 pm

There are some programs, but from what I've seen they're mostly geared towards solving problems. In other words, if the system is slow or unreliable in some way, there are programs to help you track down and fix these problems.

Disk Warrior is one of the important ones, actually.

For actual maintenance, there's not a whole lot to do. Here's a general 'to-do' list, but there's no one program than does these things.

1) Run 'Software Update' in the Apple-menu once a week or so.

2) Don't let your drive fill up more than 80%.

3) IF you have strange problems, launch Disk Utility and try the 'Repair Disk' and 'Repair Disk Permissions' features. This is only after you have a problem, though. I see no reason to do these things on a regular basis.

4) If you use iPhoto, once a year or so, launch it by holding COMMAND-ALT and clicking the icon. It will start-up in a mode that lets you re-build the thumbnail icons and library directory. This can help speed up iPhoto if you have thousands of photos.

The bottom line is, there's not much you need to worry about. I'm sure others here can give you a few hints, but they'll probably be small stuff, just like my list here.

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Kevin CampRe: Maintenance
by on Aug 11, 2008 at 7:57:54 pm

use disk warrior to defrag if you have lots of large files (osx will defrag files smaller than 20mb automatically).

i'd use the disk utility to repair permissions after installing anything new (software update, new applications, etc.)... some installers may reset or change permissions from what they should be and that may cause problems later.

if you shutdown your system at night, osx won't run some of the disk maintenance scripts. that's not a problem though, you can force them to run from terminal (application>utilities). just type the following:

sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

it will ask for a password, enter on and it will run the scripts ('daily', 'weekly' and 'monthly' are separate scripts, if you wanted you could run just one of them by not entering the others, ie: 'sudo periodic weekly'). these can help keep log files small and help keep file searches quick and such.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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John FoleyRe: Maintenance
by on Aug 14, 2008 at 10:47:52 pm

-use disk warrior to defrag if you have lots of large files-

Disk warrior does not optimize or defrag data. It's only purpose is to rebuild disk directories.

As a matter of fact, NEVER try to defrag your OSX boot drive cause that will screw things up! OSX UNIX takes care of itself, as long as there is sufficient disk space to to so.

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Chuck RetiRe: Maintenance
by on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:21:14 pm

Onyx (free) and Cocktail (shareware) are great "Swiss Army Knife" tools that allow cleanup of cache files, logs, etc. (including the aforementioned daily/weekly/monthly scripts), as well as a few tweaks to Finder and Safari (that do not modify System files). Both utilities are GUI gateways to OS functions available to users, but usually only via Terminal commands.

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