Tweaking the OS

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Reader Gordon Werb envies a Windows application and would like to find a similar tool for his Mac. He writes:

I recently found a program called Disk Cleaner (which was created for PCs) and was wondering if the same exists for Mac. If so, I would appreciate if you could tell me where i could find the same.

To end our readers’ suspense, I’ll tell them that Disk Cleaner is a free, open source utility that deletes temporary, cache, and cookie files from a Windows PC along with the stray contents of the Recycle Bin. You seek something similar for the Mac and they exist in spades.

A little over a year ago Macworld’s Gemeister, Dan Frakes, covered the best of the Mac’s “tweaking utilities” in the descriptively named ‘Tweaking’ Utilities Roundup. In this roundup Dan rates 30 of these utilities and recommends the best of the bunch.

For these sorts of jobs I prefer Titanium Software’s free OnyX not just because it’s free (and, as I’ve said many times before, I love free) and not just because it allows you to easily muck with parts of the operating system that are generally reserved for those using Terminal. OnyX and tools of its ilk let you do some powerful things but you should know what a particular command does before implementing it. Dan and I agree that OnyX is particularly good about explaining what its features do and warns of potential problems.

For example, in the Cleaning tab, where you’ll be spending the bulk of your time, you’ll discover that you can delete a wide variety of cache files as well as form values and cookies. OnyX warns you that deleting these things may force you to re-enter usernames and passwords when you revisit favorite sites. This could be a Bad Thing if you’ve neglected to make a note of your username and password. OnyX also tells you when it’s a good idea to restart your Mac after deleting one thing or another.

But, again, as Dan’s roundup clearly demonstrates, there are a load of these tweaking utilities. Take a look at his article and keep an eye on this entry’s comments. Our forum users aren’t shy about expressing their preferences and one of them may convince you to try a different tool.

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