Review: Spring Cleaning 6.0
Developer: Aladdin Systems
Price: $50; $20 (upgrade)
Requirements: PowerPC-based Mac with Mac OS 9.1 or Mac OS X 10.1.5.
Similar to my home, my storage unit, and even my car’s trunk, my computer collects junk. It’s often loaded with outdated applications, old software installers, aged e-mail attachments, and other items that should have been thrown away a long time ago.
Like many Mac users, my computer is at the center of my digital life. It’s essential to my work, my play, and the management of my household. My Mac needs to be kept as clean and efficient in its operations as possible. I could take the time to go through my folders one by one or choose to use a utility to save time and effort in my computer housekeeping tasks. This is where Aladdin’s Spring Cleaning comes into the picture.
The maker of the ubiquitous StuffIt products offers Mac users a suite of utilities to clean and maintain their hard drives. There isn’t much in this package that an advanced Mac user couldn’t accomplish on his or her own, but in an era in which time really is money, Spring Cleaning may pay for itself many times over. Users new to the Mac platform or users new to Mac OS X may find Spring Cleaning helpful in their computer cleaning tasks.
The package sports several utilities combined into two solution suites. The utilities include but are not limited to:
- Document Finder—Finds files created by applications already removed from your drive.
- Duplicates Finder—Locates duplicate files and folders to save storage space.
- File Checker—Searches for corrupted and damged files.
- Font Finder—Finds errant fonts stored on your drive.
- iClean—Helps users manage their Web surfing files and associated debris.
- MacUninstaller—Uninstalls applications and identifies files associated with the soon-to-be-trashed application.
- MailCleaner—E-mail attachment management tool.
- Secure Delete—Securely and permanently deletes files.
Although Spring Cleaning comes in versions for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.1 and earlier, for the purpose of this review I used the OS X version of the product. The number of utilities in the package notwithstanding, Aladdin should include a disk optimizer to defragment hard drives in the Spring Cleaning utility suite.
I downloaded Spring Cleaning from Aladdin’s convenient and easy-to-use software download site. I encountered a few issues with the MailCleaner utility and Microsoft Entourage. The tech support staff at Aladdin was very helpful with suggested remedies, but I chose a new installation of the package as the best solution.
The picture below illustrates the number of utilities included in the Spring Cleaning and iClean suites. All of the utilities in the suites can be accessed from the main menu. Once a utility has been selected and activated, returning to the main menu requires the use of a back button. I would prefer the main menu window remain open and accessible in the background after a utility has been chosen to perform its tasks.
Of all the utilities in the Spring Cleaning suite, MacUninstaller is the one that I found to be the most helpful in terms of function and time savings. My Titanium PowerBook contains folders from my old G3 PowerBook, along with all of my OS X applications and utilities. This utility saved me a great deal of time searching through all of my old folders to find applications and related files to be removed.
The uninstaller searches the hard drive for all installed applications and their associated files. The picture above shows the installation of on older version of DiskWarrior I removed with the utility. As a precaution, two steps are involved in permanently removing an application from the drive. Spring Cleaning will move the selected application and other files to the trash, but not delete them from the drive.
Both Spring Cleaning and the set of utilities called iClean have Super Access features that permit only users with admin authority in OS X to perform certain “deep cleaning” functions. This prevents unauthorized removal of applications and other files by users not authorized to administer the Mac and reduces the risk of a well-meaning but error-prone user from making a mess out of a Mac.
One other utility worthy of mention is Secure Delete. This utility allows one to remove a file from the drive and know that it is gone for good and cannot be recovered. This is a useful utility for anyone with sensitive or confidential material on his or her computer.
Features for OS X
In addition to the Super Access features mentioned above, the OS X version of Spring Cleaning contains a few other enhancements including:
- AccessMonitor—Documents and reports the last time files were used in OS X.
- DockApp—Provides easy access to Spring Cleaning from the familiar Dock.
- Language File Finder—Locates unnecessary foreign language files that hog disk space.
- SystemMenu—Places Spring Cleaning and iClean icons in the menu bar for convenient cleaning.
Spring Cleaning provides a convenient way for Mac users to rid their drives of unnecessary clutter, aged applications, and dated personal files. I’ve been working with Spring Cleaning 6.0 on and off for a couple of months. It’s a useful suite of utilities that saves time and effort. I just wish my home were as easy to clean as my Mac!