1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Jan 14, 2009 2:39 AM by Barry Fisher
Suave! Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello All,

I would like to know which is the very best Mac OS X system optimization/cleaning programme available - preferably one that detects and fixes any errors and faults within the system and apps. I got an e-mail about a product called 'Spring Cleaning 10" for Macs which claims to keep ones Mac in tip top shape - has anyone used this and is it any good? There are so many products out there that claim to to be the best that I am at a loss as to which ones are any good!

Suave!

Intel C2D MBP 2.2, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • 1. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (38,475 points)
    The OS does a lot of basic maintenance automatically. Booting from your installer disc and running Disk Utility to verify/repair permissions and your drive periodically is also important (and free). Onyx is handy (and again free) for many tasks that go beyond regular maintenance. I believe many of the things it looks like SC does are basically available elsewhere for free, and there are some things it does not do that are more important. I am a bit leery about this kind of "point and let have at it" utility vs. actually understanding a little bit about your computer and what it needs.

    If you really have money to burn I'd save it for something like Diskwarrior which is a pretty powerful tool that can keep one of the most critical elements of your computer, the directory, in good shape.

    Your first priority should be a backup external drive that is bootable (usually Firewire connection).

    [Mac Tune-up: 34 Software Speedups|http://www.macworld.com/article/49489/2006/02/softwarespeed.html]

    [52 Ways to Speed Up OS X|http://www.imafish.co.uk/articles/post/articles/130/52-ways-to-speed-up-os-x>

    [Tuning Mac OS X Performance|http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/performance.html]

    [11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac's Performance|http://lowendmac.com/eubanks/07/0312.html]

    [The Top 7 Free Utilities To Maintain A Mac.|http://mac360.com/index.php/mac360/comments/thetop_7_free_utilities_to_maintain_amac>

    [Mac OS X: System maintenance|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=607640]

    [Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance|http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html#Anchor-31774]

    [Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance|http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=8230024#8230024 ]

    [a brody's Topic: Myths of required versus not required maintenance for Mac OS X|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1772235]

    [Are the desktops cluttered with files and folders?|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7668937#7668937]

    Message was edited by: Limnos
  • 2. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    a brody Level 9 Level 9 (63,295 points)
    Limnos,
    It appears you haven't read my myths of required maintenance link which you refer to. Onyx is only necessary for troubleshooting. Before any repair permissions, or other tool is used, a backup plan* is essential. That which appears to require maintenance may actually be a damaged drive. That's why you must backup your data frequently.

    - * Links to my pages may give me compensation.
  • 3. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (38,475 points)
    abrody,

    I have read your maintenance document, and include it for comparison with the other documents out there.

    Did I say don't back up ("Your first priority should be a backup external drive that is bootable (usually Firewire connection)"?

    Backing up frequently is certainly critical though it isn't truly what I call maintenance. I happen to have a spare car. If I don't change the oil in my first one I very likely will need the spare within a couple of 10k miles of driving due to engine failure, but if I change the oil I anticipate getting at least 200k miles out of the first one, though I still have the spare for emergency use. I suspect if you repair permissions on your computer and repair directory corruption then one can minimize the ultimate need for the backup by dealing with these issues early. Unless you have a RAID, backups are rarely truly up to date. I back up my computer a couple of times per week but feel I can happily say I have never in 23 years actually needed a backup to restore my computer and suspect this is probably due to the basic maintenance I perform using utilities such as Disk Utility. Actually you need to backup before maintenance in case maintenance causes problems, but then backup after maintenance too so if there were problems with the drive you don't have a faulty backup from your pre-maintenance backup.

    Given the reality of the situation, I suspect many people do not have backups. While there is no ultimate substitute for a backup, if a computer is maintained you can probably prolong the time before you need that backup, though there is always the likelihood you will ultimately need it.

    Onyx does things other than troubleshooting. For example, it has rebuild LaunchServices which lets you do a "spring cleaning" of the apps reported for opening files on the computer. I believe it also lets you set some hidden preferences, so it goes a bit beyond the regular maintenance tool features. Some of this is also what SC apparently does, so I pointed it out more as a free utility for doing some of those things should one be investigating SC as a tool for doing those.
  • 4. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    a brody Level 9 Level 9 (63,295 points)
    Given the reality of the situation, I suspect many people do not have backups. While there is no ultimate substitute for a backup, if a computer is maintained you can probably prolong the time before you need that backup, though there is always the likelihood you will ultimately need it.


    Unfortunately such tools have just as great a likelihood of requiring a backup to recover from errors they make as not. Cache cleaning is one example. We get so many people come into these boards whose applications no longer launch, or unexpectedly quit. What is the cause? LaunchServices cache files have gone south. And guess what sent them there? Tools such as Onyx, Macaroni, Applejack.

    Disk Warrior while it is great, will not fix a dying hard drive. Getting data off a dying hard drive before it dies, or while it is dying should be a priority before attempting to repair it with a tool when you don't know it is dying.

    Free backup solutions exist. Free data recovery does not if there is no backup.

    Suffice it to say, priority should be placed on backing up before any "maintenance" tools are used. Since failure of drives can happen at anytime without any warning, due to mechanical issues which no maintenance tool can fix, backing up is still a priority. It should be a part of one's regular routine, and as such is more routine than general maintenance. Maintenance implies a routine practice. Thus backup is maintenance in an indirect way. It is maintenance of your data's integrity.
  • 5. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8 (45,810 points)
    Re: Optimization (i.e., defrag) - Look at *About disk optimization with Mac OS X*
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=25668

     Cheers, Tom

  • 6. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Baby Boomer (USofA) Level 9 Level 9 (55,575 points)
    Check out the following User Tip(s)



    Mac OS X 10.3/10.4: System maintenance








  • 7. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (38,475 points)
    Unfortunately such tools have just as great a likelihood of requiring a backup to recover from errors they make as not. Cache cleaning is one example. We get so many people come into these boards whose applications no longer launch, or unexpectedly quit. What is the cause? LaunchServices cache files have gone south. And guess what sent them there? Tools such as Onyx, Macaroni, Applejack.


    The Mac OS does all the cache cleaning I have ever done on this computer.

    I am sure that some people have over-zealously applied some of these tools unwisely, but most of the references I have seen to cache cleaning and deletion on these forums in the past year or so have been as solution recommendations (which sometimes work) to people who already have existing computer problems rather than being caused by them toying with their computers. Again, my main reason for mentioning Onyx was not for its prophylactic "maintenance" capabilities but as a tool for dealing with specific issues that already exist. I use it, rarely, but only in response to specific issues.

    Disk Warrior while it is great, will not fix a dying hard drive.

    Agreed, but I think a dying hard drive is a very different issue from the "maintenance" about which the OP was asking. A dying hard drive is when anybody will need a backup (though I once made it through a dying hard drive case without using my backups or special tools, but that's another story).

    Free backup solutions exist.

    Software, yes, but the reality of the situation is many people do not consider another $100 for a backup drive to be part of a computer purchase.

    Suffice it to say, priority should be placed on backing up before any "maintenance" tools are used.

    Uh, again, didn't I say, "Your first priority"???

    Since failure of drives can happen at anytime without any warning, due to mechanical issues which no maintenance tool can fix, backing up is still a priority. It should be a part of one's regular routine, and as such is more routine than general maintenance. Maintenance implies a routine practice. Thus backup is maintenance in an indirect way. It is maintenance of your data's integrity.

    I think we will have to agree to disagree on the definition of maintenance. For me, maintenance is upkeep of the existing drive, equivalent to changing the oil in my car. I consider a backup like having my second car in case my first car fails, whether it be by an accident or aging. So, I make sure my second car is in good running condition before I start doing any major work on my first car in case something goes wrong during repairs, just the way you might want to back up before you run a tool on a hard drive. I do happen to have a second car; many people don't and then get stuck when the first fails. However, if you maintain your only car you are less likely to need that second car (that's why I now own two 28 year old cars ). Yes, eventually you will need it, but that will be either due to an accident (= sudden hard drive failure or serious directory crash) or due to the car just wearing out (= hard drive failing after many years of service as they all do). Some people buy new computers before the drives wear out (I think of all the good 250MB drives I have in a box upstairs) so in that case they are simply gambling on their current drive being in good shape mechanically and if they can at least maintain file/directory integrity on the drive they can run reduced risk of eventually needing that backup.
  • 8. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    AxL Level 6 Level 6 (11,440 points)
    Most important and only really important for Mac OS X anyway,
    is to *always keep enough free space* on the boot volume, like about 10% to 15% depending on total HD capacity.

    All the rest is quite very much automatically handled on-the-fly, or not so crucial that it would make any huge difference as regular maintenance.

    a brody is correct that backing up is the next most important thing on a Mac, well, on any computer but it is another matter entirely anyway: nothing to do with maintenance.

    So,
    if you can afford this "Spring Cleaning 10" software, you can use it, as it still contains some interesting features and nothing that could harm your Mac, but as the others said, there are so many other free solutions, besides all the genuine tools that came with Mac OS X install DVD, and of course bundled in our default installed Utilities.

    Always read the ReadMe files and the instructions.
  • 9. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Suave! Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Again All,

    Thank you kindly or all the input so far. The reason I asked the question is that I am not very savvy when it comes to detailed computer issues and frankly reading solutions to some of the many problems folks face on these apple discussions leave me in the wilderness as I have usually no clue what they are talking about - it gets far too technical for me!

    With that said, if I may, coming from Windows, I do find it very frustrating (and that is obviously due to my lack of detailed understanding on how the Mac works) when it comes to easily finding faults on ones Mac - it feels like one has to be a computer engineer to sort problems out! For novices like me, I wish there was some tool that could scan ones system and find faults, inform you of them and then take corrective action for you are guide you on what to do.

    For example, my MBP was running impeccably until recently - it would be at about 40ºC to 45ºC no matter what I did, whether idling, running Safari or a combination of apps. Then suddenly, I have noticed that it now even when just idling is at about 55ºC and when surfing the web via Safari, it goes even higher, when watching videos online, the temperature and CPU usage just skyrockets and I have to do a shutdown.

    I read discussions, ask for help, try finding answers on the web etc and do what I can with my limited knowledge. It takes a very long time and is extremely frustrating. I have done a PRAM reset, repaired permissions, run Clam XV for viruses, run Onyx twice, reset Safari, run Tech Tool Pro Deluxe and even now run a programme called Cocktail. Nothing has worked and the problem still remains. People say go into activity monitor and Console and sort the problem from there but the data in there is meaningless to me and I would not know what to do with ity or how to fix anything there as it is all in techno language.

    I hope you can all see why for novices like me, using a mac is the most frustrating thing ever when things go wrong - it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack for answers or solutions and even amongst all the tech-savvy people on discussions, opinions vary greatly and there is rarely a definitive solution or answer to issues and when there is, it is usually so technical that it leaves novices like me scared or clueless. I just wish there was self diagnostic system that could tell one when something is wrong or causing an issue with the system. I hope you all now can understand why I asked the original question. I hate, hate windows but am so frustrated with things like this with apple that I am seriously thinking of going back - I thought apple would make my life easier, but I have to spend so much time looking for solutions to problems and then can never find that it now feels like it is defeating the very purpose I switched to apple in the first place. I am so very fed up. Thank you all again!

    Suave!
  • 10. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)
    I hope you can all see why for novices like me, using a mac is the most frustrating thing ever when things go wrong...


    Yes, I think most or all of us do, but part of it is unlearning the Windows® way, which is quite different,

    Hang in there, it gets easier... and Happy New Year!
  • 11. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (38,475 points)
    For example, my MBP was running impeccably until recently - it would be at about 40ºC to 45ºC no matter what I did, whether idling, running Safari or a combination of apps. Then suddenly, I have noticed that it now even when just idling is at about 55ºC and when surfing the web via Safari, it goes even higher, when watching videos online, the temperature and CPU usage just skyrockets and I have to do a shutdown.

    Video requires a lot of CPU usage, as well as video card usage. Those all generate heat. I don't really follow MBP stuff closely (just having a desktop) but I know laptops in particular can have cooling issues due to compact design, positioning, etc., and perhaps model-specific issues. There are specific MBP forums when you have a question more hardware related (though CPU usage can secondarily be related to software too, if you can trace it that far).

    Reading the forums is very handy in learning about Macs in general. Bear in mind that some questions asked are being asked by experienced users and being answered by even more experienced users, so don't feel disheartened by those topics.

    When we ask you what activity monitor and console report it is like doctors in another city asking you to take your temperature and blood pressure because they cannot be there to do it themselves. Eventually it is handy and faster for you to be able to understand some of the things yourself but we need for you to report these things so we can see what they say.

    There is underlying complexity to the technology we want (really need?). If people want transportation that doesn't break down and works in any weather then walking is about the most guaranteed, but I think people aren't satisfied with that and want airconditioning, electric windows, CD players, GPS, etc. As a result of complexity there isn't one tool because similar issues can arise from a variety of sources with a huge number of combinations. I don't think there is a single tool for any operating system. It might be possible to write such a program - if people were willing to pay maybe $10,000 per copy and there was a stable full of programmers working 24/7 to update it every few minutes as new problem combinations arose. Also, what you are seeing when a problem arises is the powerful Unix background that lies under the hood of OSX, just the way that all that most people see is the simple inside of their car and not the engine compartment. The reality of coming to a help site is people are trying to be a bit more do-it-yourself vs. taking it to a professional repair shop, and like with a car it then results in having to deal a bit with the complexities of the engine. The advantage is you have a bunch of interested fellow DIYers with some experience who understand what it is like to learn about things, and who don't charge you $80 per hour (as do car mechanics and computer repair technicians).

    Having been in the reverse situation with borrowing a Windows XP PC for a year, I didn't find it any easier than with a Mac. I also recently did the big step from OS9 to OSX which is almost as big as from Windows to Mac. It is a matter of perseverance.
  • 12. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    a brody Level 9 Level 9 (63,295 points)
    Computer temperatures internally of up to 70 C are not uncommon. If the computer starts shutting down on its own, without your prompting it to, it could be the heat sensor is finding fault with the heat of the computer. I would run the hardware test that came with the computer:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303081

    And if it is still shutting down on its own, it may mean the RAM is faulty, as faulty RAM has been known to cause that, and not be detectable otherwise.

    If you are shutting it down to cool down just because you are worried it will overheat, you can cool it down by putting it on a surface that will dissipate heat such as a notebook cooler with a built-in fan. There are several on the market from Antec and other manufacturers.
  • 13. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    Barry Fisher Level 3 Level 3 (655 points)
    Actually this is directed to this thread in general. Given that back-up is first defense, and also given that there are 10, 20 ora a hundred different articles and tools, tips and methods relating to free ways to optimize and maintain OSX, can anyone say besides all that, does Spring Cleaning do a good job for those of us, who work on our computers and don't want to take time as all you good mac users do to run down all the tips and experiment and can afford the 30 bucks it cost?. Some of us just want to get on with it. I use Cocktail wich handles some of the caches, logs and permissions as maintenance, Spring Cleaning talks about disposing duplicate files and that sort of clutter. Does it do what it says and is that a good thing for the computer? That's what I'd be interested in knowing? (I too am getting their ads in the emails, what bot is doing that for them?:) Thanx for your info.
  • 14. Re: Best Mac OS X Cleaning/Optimization Software?
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,480 points)
    Hi Barry,

    My last experience with Spring Cleaning was quite awhile ago in OS9, perhaps even the 1st version, but at that time it was more work than it was worth.

    Like I say, I haven't tried it's newer iterations, but the closest I can come right now to finding & handling Duplicate files is Drive Genius' Slim Drive feature.
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