looking for the best system utility

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations/Reviews' started by sash, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #1
    Hi,

    Could you please recommend me a system utility for routine maintaining of the OS X (optimization, defragmentation, disk repairing and so on, no crisis situation at the moment 8) ) ? What is the best: Disk Warrier, things from Norton, Tech Tool Pro etc.?

    Thanks a lot,
    Sash
     
  2. jsw
    Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    All I can tell you is that Norton is regularly flogged around here, and Disk Warrior has gotten nothing but rave reviews. I've used neither.
     
  3. macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #3
    I regularly hear that you don't need defrag with Panther... but I don't know that for sure. I used Norton back with System 7 and pre-7, but now I use neither since OSX. I backup my files on a LaCie 250 and enjoy the Mac experience. Haven't felt the need for maintenance beyond the OSX disk utility to repair permissions, etc. And I've only done that because everybody says you should, I wasn't having any problems.

    Woof, Woof - Dawg
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #4
    Thanks a lot!

    I've heard that too -- that the Panther does not actually need any 'third party utility' for the disk maintenance, -- but my second old G4 begins to slow down... So I'll probably buy the DW. At least this prog gets less negative reactions then others.
    And about defragmentation... If you read the descriptions of the makers of such disk utilities, they all are speaking about fragmentation. But is this something real or just a usual salesmen talk -- who knows?

    Thanks a lot,
    Sash
     
  5. jsw
    Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    Yeah, defragmentation isn't really an issue with Panther.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #6
    Just leave your computer on overnight. Around 4am to 5am, OSX will perform disk maintenance on your computer automatically. In addition to regular permissions repair in Disk Utility, you shouldn't need any other third party app.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    dsharits

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Location:
    The People's Republic of America
    #7
    The best of the apps that you listed is Tech Tool Pro, because it has everything that the other two apps have and more. However, you don't need to pay for something like that, when there are several free apps out there. Like others have said, defragmenting is not necessary in OS X, so you don't need that. The big system maintainence actions that you need are repair permissions, the usual optimization scripts and little things like that, but as other people have already said, if you run your computer overnight, it will do these things automatically. However, if you don't want to leave it running all night, which some people don't, I recommend using MacJanitor or Onyx to run the system maintainence scripts. You can find both of these if you search their names at www.macupdate.com.

    Daniel
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
  9. macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
  10. macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
    #10
    And when you install programs it optimizes the hard-drive itself.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #11
    Thanks!

    Thanks! Just've got my new G5 2 x 2.5 (on January the 3d)! So I'm probably one of the most happy people on this planet! A bit (quite a bit) exaggerating (about happiness), but it really is a great, really great thing. So powerful and so silent, i'm just stunned.

    Sash
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #12
    no. it's an issue with every mass storage that has moving parts and circular media that has to be spun around for access :p

    for a power user it is really a must thing to defragment every six months. you really lose a lot of power if you don't. you just don't much notice the slowdown as the performance decreases gradually - but once you defragment (or do a fresh install) you get the lost performance back at once and notice it immedieately.

    i believe ibm has soon to offer a mass storage without moving parts, and that's why they sold their hard drive business to hitachi some time ago. i'm so eagerly waiting for being able to get rid of all spinning media ;)
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #13
    optimizing = prebinding. it's not defragging.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    encro

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    bendigo.victoria.au
    #14
    Panther is claimed to automatically aim to keep files 20MB or less as a contiguous file. As to how successful it is in keeping your system in perfect order is another thing...
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    BWhaler

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    #15
    Stay away from Norton products on the Mac. While they are outstanding on the PC side of the house, they SUCK on the Mac. Buggy, crappy support, bloated, etc.

    Techtools is fantastic.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #16
    I wholeheartedly disagree.

    Symantec's products do just fine if you're careful to use a version compatible with what it's fixing and know what you're doing. No utility can fix a FUBAR file system with crosslinked files and/or bad sectors. Nor can a disk utility neccessarily diagnose a failing drive head, which will cause intermitant and eventually fatal corruption.

    I take a pragmatic aproach: I use BOTH Norton Systemworks (more powerful Disk Utilities) AND Techtool Pro (better Hardware Utilities and installable options.)

    I always start with Apple's built in disk utility and progress from there.

    If at all possible I keep both utilities installed and up to date with most of their automated features turned OFF. I keep them for work on client machines, not for maintenance.

    Panther can certainly take care of itself BUT there are some stipulations: You have to de-activate drive and system sleeping. The built in fsick and cron daemons that do the work late at night don't work when the system's asleep. It's in the fine print.

    If you have a laptop you really should keep a Norton CD (MUST BE CURRENT VERSION!!!!) handy and run Apple's built in Disk utility monthly for permissions and "first aid".

    Keep in mind: By the time the average user realizes there's an issue (programs won't boot, etc.) there's usually SERIOUS corruption. It's better IMO to be a little overzealous and hyperaware of disk-lag than to be caught with a toasted file system when you can least afford downtime.

    Top signs that you need to check your drive's health:

    - Files and programs that used to open fast open slowly on an otherwise fast machine.

    - Beachball when finder windows are opened on machines faster than 500Mhz running 10.2.8 or higher.

    - Extended startup load time, usually at the grey-apple stage.

    - Transposed, generic or missing icons, missing "about" info in column view in Finder.

    - Failure to load or instability in programs that have no business crashing (Current programs kept up to date by Apple, Adobe, or other reliable publishers)

    - Failure of Software Update to execute or finish Optimization.

    - Kernel Panics on opening files or Applications.

    - Frequent need to Force Quit Applications.

    Keep in mind that some problems like failing Mobos, Processors, RAM and Drive Heads can only be diagnosed by an experienced technician. Utility Software can only get you so far.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #17
    so it looks like the question remains...

    I'm looking for a good System Utility for two reasons.

    First of all, as I've already said, my old G4 has slowed down quite dramatically in the last month or so. It's really striking. I don't have any third party utility, and fsck, Disk Utility etc. are not helping. I do it quite regularly btw.

    And I would like to keep the new machine in shape. That's the second reason.

    But the problem is that almost everybody has his own favorite System Utility, there is no something like a more or less 'uniform' point of view about that... Quite remarkable, isn't it?

    All the known SU -- Disk Warrior, Tech Tool Pro and Norton -- have got some support.

    I'm afraid that it could mean only one thing: they all are a bit at the same level, at least non of them is a real world-famous disaster. Otherwise the meanings wouldn't spread that much...

    If I look at the Symantec site, the most recent review on its Utilities for Mac dates something like 2002... Isn't it a sign that a program is a bit outdated and they are not really focused on its improvement?
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #18
    Basically, when a file is accessed, a check is made to see if it is fragmented (split into several different sectors on the Hard Drive), If so, and if it is less than 20 MB in size, the filesystem will copy the file over to a contiguous area on the HD that will hold the file in it's entirety in concurrent sectors, and then free up the HD space the fragmented version used to occupy.

    This method is apparently know as "Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering".

    There are two limitations however to this method that come to mind:
    Files over 20 MB won't be defragged (puts too much of a hit on performance to move such a big file during file access?). To defragment these, you'll likely have to run a third party disk utility.

    Files that are not being accessed are not defragmented. But then again, this kinda makes sense as if they aren't accessed, fragmentation won't matter to you. Later on, once they are accessed, they'll be defragmented/optimized then.
    A nice transparent solution that doesn't require much intervention or time on the part of the user.
     
  19. macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #19
    I'll be more concise: The program recommended by the AppleCare training program for disk health is Norton. I concur. I've used Tech Tool Pro, Disk Warrior, Drive 10 and Norton. I've rescued, maintained ressurected and rehabilitated dozens of machines. Norton is by far the most capable and, when used responsibly the most effective.

    Realize however that **** happens... so don't expect ANY utility to be "safe"; if your machine's FUBAR under the surface one way or another you'd best back up what you can't lose.

    I actually charge people money for my services so I keep what I consider to be a complete toolkit. If what you need is a decent Utility to keep things running smoothly and occasionally save your ass I advise getting Norton Utilities and READING THE MANUAL. If you have a second drive with OS X.2 or later installed on it (even FireWire) you can install Norton on it so it can be kept up to date but isn't trying to help you all the damn time. It's great software as long as you either put it on a second drive or shut off ALL it's automated tasks. Good for working on Disks, BAD for keeping them maintained "realtime".
     

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