Our utilities update report is a column on 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 on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were updates for maintenance tools and file handling tools (primarily to address Lion compatibility problems), in addition to a couple of system monitoring tools.
In maintenance tools this week, the robust hardware diagnostics tool TechTool Pro has been updated to increase OS X Lion compatibility in addition to improving a number of tools such as the eDrive tool and IP address sorting. The program also fixes problems with tools not loading without an external monitor attached. TechTool Pro costs $99.
If you enjoy tweaking your system both aesthetically and for performance, MacPilot is a great tool as it will provide access to a number of hidden features and configuration settings. The latest version provides new settings and options for managing the log-in window, Mail, and some system behavior settings for saving and character management. In addition the tool enhances support for OS X Lion, so if you are using it under this OS, then you should update. The tool is $19.95 for a license, after the 15-day trial period has expired.
The last maintenance tool is a recommended one for running general maintenance routines on your system. OnyX is a robust and free maintenance utility that offers access to many system tweaking and maintenance routines. The latest version has been pulled out of its beta testing and is available as a full version update now. If you are using OS X Lion, then this update is for you. Since OnyX is released separately for individual OS versions, if you are using Snow Leopard, Leopard, or Tiger, then you will have to install the version of OnyX for those systems.
Files and file system
The next utilities this week are a couple that can be used to manage the files on your hard drives. The first utility is A Better Finder Rename, which as its name suggests is a tool that will allow you numerous options for naming files on your drive, including batch renaming of files and options for keeping them organized. The latest update adds support for the metadata of FLAC, AIFF, M4V, OGG, and APE media file types.
The second and last file system handling tool updated this week is the cloning utility Carbon Copy Cloner, which is a $10 donationware utility that can be used to create mirror bootable backups of your boot drive and any other drive attached to your system. The tool offers convenient scheduling and backup sets that can help you organize when and how your clones are made. The latest update fixes a number of bugs with the previous version, including problems with task scheduling, management of file flags and permissions, and growl notifications.
The last set of utilities are a couple of alternatives to Apple's Activity Monitor, which offer convenient options to monitoring system resource usage and availability.
iStat Menus is a small and lightweight menu extra that provides quick access to CPU, network, memory, battery, and disk usage and activity, in addition to providing an enhanced calendar and clock. The latest version offers tweaks that are specific to OS X Lion, so if you are running OS X Lion and use this tool, then you might consider updating. iStat Menus is $16 for a license.
The last utility update this week is MiStat, which like iStat Menus offers access to a number of system statistics, and also offers history graphs. The tool is built by the same developers as iStat Menus, but offers a windowed interface rather than the menu-based interface of iStat Menus. The tool is only $4.99 for a license.