4759 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Sep 27, 2009 6:25 AM by pward
OS X does a good job of running maintenance tasks itself. there is no need to for any 3rd party tools. there are a few of them around like Onyx (has not been updated for SL yet), Cocktail or leopard Cache cleaner but I would recommend you DO NOT run them as regular maintenance. that can actually do more harm than good. that's especially true for various cache cleaning tools which can easily make your system unbootable. as I said, OS X takes care of it automatically. only use those 3rd party tools if you have a problem but not as periodic maintenance.
The main maintenance tool you need is a backup which is an absolute must.
Other good troubleshooting (but not maintenance) tools are Disk Warrior (very good directory repair tool), TechTool Pro (can also do drive defragmentation) and
Don't buy the hype about needing to defragment OS X - this is a hold over from OS 9 days and fear based at best.
OS X is a sophisticated system that actually relies on discontiguous clusters and even more advanced features surfacing in Snow Leopard.
Attempting to 'defrag' can actually work to defeat what is already working in your favor. Give it a pass.
Apple has this to say about that...
"You probably won't need to optimize at all if you use Mac OS X. Here's why:"
K T wrote:
Don't buy the hype about needing to defragment OS X
is this a reference of my mentioning that techTool Pro can defrag? that's the only mention of defragmenting in this thread but i hardly hyped it. in fact, I specifically mentioned that this should not be done as regular maintenance. personally, I've never defragged a single hard drive since i switched to OS X.
but that KB article is misleading too. OS X only defrags files smaller than 20MB and it does not do any disk defragmenation (as opposed to file defragmentation). so people who work with many large files or have fairly full disks might need to defrag anyway. however, I recommend doing it by cloning rather than using defragmening tools.
1. Disk Warrior - fixes many problems Disk Utility can't even find. The most common potentially
serious problem Disk Warrior fixes that Disk Utility won't fix are Directory Structure problems.
2. iDefrag - a disk optimizer.
It has often been asserted that defragmentation (or disk optimization) is not a good idea on
systems using Apple’s HFS+ filesystem. The main reasons given for this historically have been:
HFS+ is very much better at keeping files defragmented than many other commodity filesystems.
Advanced features in recent versions of HFS+ can easily be disrupted by a defragmentation tool
that does not support them, resulting in decreased performance.
There is a risk associated with defragmentation.
Whilst these arguments are certainly valid, they are not the whole story. For one thing, iDefrag,
unlike most other disk defragmentation tools, fully supports the most recent features of HFS+,
namely the metadata zone (or “hot band”) and the adaptive hot file clustering support added in
Mac OS X 10.3. Not only does it avoid disrupting them, but it is capable of fixing disruption caused
by other software by moving files into or out of the metadata zone as appropriate.
Sensible arguments for occasional optimization of your disk include:
HFS+ is not very good at keeping free space contiguous, which can, in turn, lead to large files
becoming very fragmented, and can also cause problems for the virtual memory subsystem on Mac
Older versions of the Mac OS are not themselves aware of the metadata zone policy, and may
disrupt its performance.
HFS+ uses B-Tree index files to hold information about the filesystem. If a large number of files
are placed on a disk, the filesystem may have to enlarge these B-Tree structures; however, there is
no built-in mechanism to shrink them again once the files are deleted, so the space taken up by
these files has been lost.
Whilst HFS+ is good at keeping individual files defragmented, mechanisms like Software Update
may result in files that are components of the same piece of software being scattered across the
disk, leading to increased start-up times, both for Mac OS X itself and for applications software.
This is a form of fragmentation that is typically overlooked.
Defragmenting disk images can be helpful, particularly if they are to be placed onto a CD/DVD, as
seeks on CD/DVD discs are particularly expensive.
Some specific usage patterns may cause fragmentation despite the features of HFS+ that are
designed to avoid it.
We do not recommend very frequent optimization of your disk; optimizing a disk can take a
substantial amount of time, particularly with larger disks, far outweighing the benefits that are
likely to be obtained by (say) a weekly optimization regime.
Optimization may make more sense, however, following large software updates, or on an
occasional basis if you notice decreased performance and lots of hard disk seeking on system
start-up or when starting an application.
3. Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner.
- Lots of goodies in that one.
4. Clix - literally, hundreds of utility scripts.
V.K. is right.
There is no need anymore to use any maintenance tool since Leopard, even since Tiger (10.4.x) considering nowadays big hard drives.
Only routine you want to keep in mind, besides backup of course, is
• always keep enough free space on your boot drive (at least 15%)
• repair permissions (using Disk Utility) after each Apple Software Update
• verify disk (using DU) before OS updates/upgrades
Disk Warrior is a powerful tool you can use, only in big trouble, but personally I think even DW is behind us now that reinstalling is so neat with Time Machine backups.
Mac OS X is a maintenance-free OS, it really is.
You've gotten tons of great advice here.
Personally, the only app I use (maybe 3-4x/year) is YASU.
It cleans up system, browser and font caches and stuff, permissions, and etc.
EDIT: But it's important to note that those caches are often really helpful.
So, I've come to realize that unless things are dog slow, leave caches alone, as well.
The real truth has been mentioned before by V.K. Axl, and others.
The Mac really takes care of itself.
If (and that's a big "If") things slow down or seem a little wonky,
I'll run YASU.
However, if things are very messed up I would run DiskWarrior.
No ifs, ands, or buts. If there is HD damage, DW is your friend.
Message was edited by: ~Bee