3448 Views 1 2 Previous Next 23 Replies Latest reply: Feb 26, 2009 2:13 PM by a brody Go to original post
The most common scenario of corrupt caches is when System Preferences don't launch (and is otherwise present in the Applications folder), and Disk Utility doesn't launch (and is otherwise present in the Applications -> Utilities folder). Similarly, programs that don't launch that used to be able to launch in the same operating system revision which have not been moved typically indicate cache files are going south. If you are clearing caches as a matter of so-called "maintenance" you may actually cause these applications to not be able to launch in the first place. I've seen this happen regardless of the utility used. Sometimes it has gotten so bad as to make the Finder not launch on next login. Attempts to archive and install fail to solve the problem. Suffice it to say, you have to be very careful how you remove caches if you do so at all. I've seen cases whereby I manually remove the caches using the Finder's drag and drop, restart the computer, and then the application launches fine, and then the next restart the application fails to launch again. That persistently recreation of corrupt cache files can be a real pain to deal with.
You don't want to dig yourself a deeper hole in your system by using utilities when they aren't being used for troubleshooting. A healthy system should NEVER have system level caches removed. It uses caches to optimize launch times.
Onyx, in the hands of the unwary, can be a tad heavy handed. I rarely use it, preferring TinkerTool System (not to be confused with the free TinkerTool) to clean caches, do the cron jobs etc.
TinkerTool System is not free, but it is inexpensive and it works. One of the things I like about it is that it tells you if you are attempting to do something that can harm your system.
You can download it from here:
Still it is cache and font cache cleaners, which can lead to problems.
Be careful with these.
When you see what can happen to caches, when they go bad, do to inappropriate use of such cleaners, you really need to backup your data before attempting to use such cleaners. The belief that any such tool should be used for "maintenance" outside of your basic backup strategy really needs to be re-examined. Mac OS X does its own maintenance. Backing up, and making sure your hard drive doesn't get too full are probably the only things you have to really concern yourself when maintaining your system outside of making sure everything you use has been tested with the revision of the operating system you are about to use, or are using.
I do not use any tool outside of a backup tool on a regular basis. The rest are strictly for troubleshooting, not maintenance. Maintenance suggests regular intervals of use. You don't troubleshoot your computer every day. But you should backup your data every day unless you have a tolerance for lost data greater than that.
Other than DiskWarrior (which I seem to remember using in 2005 or 2006), I don't have ANY of the 'gizmos' mentioned and wouldn't dream of having one. I have been using Macs for 20+ years, like to think I know my way around just a bit - and I'm sorry to be so unhelpful and unable to answer your question.
+Ah, correction!+ Perhaps I have actually given you a better and more helpful answer than might appear.
Do take note of what *a brody* has been telling you. Take care with the mass of pseudo-advice you'll get from lots of 'newbies' and from the not-too-well-informed who know a bit, but not enough.
I think you are exaggerating the problems that can result from cache cleaning. I've done it many times without any problems at all, but I agree it shouldn't be done as maintenance but only as repair.
I consider Disk Warrior to be the most valuable tool a Mac user can have and I have used that one for maintenance at times.
I will note that since upgrading to an iMac, from an old Quicksilver Mac, and upgraded to Leopard, I have rarely used any utility app at all in over a year, except to run what used to be called cron scripts and for log deletion.
Any minor problems I've had have been fixed with a simple restart. And people should never forget that a Safe Boot can fix a number of problems.
It is no exaggeration, that one time the only thing that fixed one customer's Mac was recovery of data, after an erase and install since I couldn't stop the caches from recorrupting themselves after alternate reboots and even an archive and install.
I was not too happy by that.
And one other was faced with that issue, though luckily that was not their primary machine.
One was due to Onyx, the other Macaroni.
Ever since then, I've been very wary of such tools.