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Cleaning Utilities

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At a Glance
  • Aladdin Systems Spring Cleaning 6.0

  • Aladdin Systems Internet Cleanup 1.0

Browser cache files, duplicate documents, and unneeded programs waste space, and Spring Cleaning 6.0 and Internet Cleanup 1.0, both from Aladdin Systems, offer ways to sort through your files and toss the trash. Spring Cleaning can find and remove almost any file, while Internet Cleanup specializes in removing browser-related files and blocking pop-up browser windows. These tools are handy starting points for cleaning up your machine, but be sure to study the file list before you press delete -- both programs occasionally target needed files.

Airing Out Your Directories

Spring Cleaning offers multiple search methods for finding extra files. You can find duplicate files, check for damaged files, look for broken aliases and orphaned preferences, and search for documents. You select files from the search results, and then you can quickly and efficiently move, store, copy, or delete them.

The program sports a number of new features. You can use the new Super Access mode to conduct searches across multiple users' files. A Secure Delete option overwrites a file's data with ones and zeros -- handy for wiping out old financial records or anything else you don't want others to see. Also, you can use

a language finder to delete the several hundred megabytes of foreign-language files that ended up on your hard drive courtesy of any standard OS X installation.

However, when it comes to deleting old applications, you're better off just dragging the application folder to the Trash. Spring Cleaning's MacUninstaller utility always leaves the application's folder in place -- sometimes with files in it -- or lists unrelated files as the application files to be removed. When I tried to use the Orphaned Pref Finder to hunt down long-neglected application preferences, it listed the preferences for the text editor I use all the time.

Erasing Your Web Footsteps

Once you've cleaned up your documents and programs, you can tackle your browser-related files with Internet Cleanup. Like Aladdin's iClean utility, Internet Cleanup eliminates browser history files, cookies, and caches. It also goes a step beyond iClean and blocks pop-up ads.

Be warned that Internet Cleanup can't remove cookies from the most recent versions of Netscape and Safari, and it can't remove browser cache files from Netscape. To address this gap between software and browser, you'll have to wait for an upgrade to Internet Cleanup.

Internet Cleanup's NetBlockade cuts down on ads and pop-ups. But it didn't work with browsers that use the IP 7 protocol, such as Netscape and AOL for Mac OS X, in our tests.

Macworld's Buying Advice

Spring Cleaning is a good choice for managing the digital junk you've created, such as documents and QuickTime movies. But some of Spring Cleaning's features make it potentially dangerous for people who may not know what they're deleting. As for Internet Cleanup, if you use Internet Explorer, you may find it useful. Fans of other browsers should look elsewhere.

At a Glance
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