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Bringing the Best of Windows to Mac OS X


I was a Windows user for nearly nine years of my life. Throughout that period of time, I had countless issues with my Windows PC and Windows as an operating system. In fact, there are specific issues that were so inconceivable, I actually remember the countless hours I spent resolving them. These issues eventually led me to enlightenment, i.e., a MacBook Pro. However, having been a Windows user for such a long period of time, I’m left missing specific Windows features. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s very much the truth – our counterparts do have some features worth mentioning.

Two specific features top my chart of “Things I Miss.” Actually, it’s safe to say my “Things I Miss” chart is limited to two features: Defrag and Add or Remove Programs. For the sake of saving time and maintaining my low blood pressure, I’ll refrain from jotting down a “Things I Don’t Miss” chart.

These two tools (Defrag and Add or Remove Programs) are, at their core, tools to allow the reorganization of data. One of the tools, Defrag, is a systematic protocol developed to automatically reorganize and rearrange fragmented program files. The second allows for a manual addition or removal of programs which are no longer needed, or unnecessary or problematic. Personally, I run a tight ship, so these programs came in handy quite often during my naïve and ignorant Windows PC days.

The first thing I sought out when making the switch from Windows to Mac was software that would enable me to keep my Mac free of the riff raff Windows users face constantly. Through a little bit of research on the Internet I found myself at two websites that would forever change my Mac experience: www.santasw.com and www.appzapper.com.

Main Menu

Santa Software have developed a bit of software that works wonders on Macs. Main Menu, their flagship title, will actually perform all of your batch file tasks depending on your personal preferences. Main Menu has several options, and although it does not perform the specific tasks of its counterpart, defrag, it does reorganize data to ensure a more efficient performance.

First and foremost, “Maintenance Scripts” allow you to specify dates and times you’d wish your batch tasks to be executed, which is a handy feature if you’ve got a complicated schedule.

[Editor's Note: For more information about your Mac's maintenance scripts, see this Macinstruct article.]

Other Main Menu features include:

  • Disk Utility repairs OS X and OS 9 disk permissions.

  • Rebuild rebuilds your Spotlight index, updates your locate database, updates your whatis database, and rebuilds launch services. This will allow for faster search results in Spotlight. And will also update or redo your prebindings which will increase the speed at which your programs open.

  • Cleaning cleans user cache, cleans system cache, empties browser cache, cleans browser history, and cleans font caches. Cleaning clears your system of unnecessary or unimportant data that will slow down your systems performance. Think of it this way: Cleaning gets rid of the information that temporarily served a purpose but can now be discarded.

  • Finder allows you to batch the tasks of emptying your trash, restarting finder and restarting your dock. These are all things you can do manually, but the point of Main Menu is that you can batch these tasks and in 10 -15 minutes you can have them all completed and even set to have your Mac restart or shutdown upon completion.

  • Other Tasks runs a list of tasks such as clearing archived logs, removing temporary files, clean dashboard cache and clear dashboard processes.

Main Menu creates a queue of tasks and executes them to make a faster and more efficient Mac. I think we can all agree that that’s something we’ve come to expect from our Macs. Main Menu will keep your Mac in tip-top shape!



AppZapper

AppZapper is a program developed by Austin Sarner and Brian Ball that allows you to easily uninstall programs and applications from your Mac. In fact, they claim that their program is “the uninstaller Apple forgot.” They emphasize its ease of use, and after using it for a couple weeks now, I can reiterate that sentiment.

Just as easily as you drag and drop an application into your Application folder to install it, you can drag and drop that application into AppZapper and it will uninstall all of its related components. Anyone who has spent the time scouring through Read Me files and Spotlight trying to find all the components you’ll need to delete to “uninstall” an application will immediately appreciate AppZapper. The $12.95 you’ll have to pay for the license will pay for itself the first time you save yourself 45 minutes trying to uninstall a program you just wanted to test out.

[Editor's Note: AppDelete provides the same functionality as AppZapper and is free of charge.]

Put these two programs to work and you’ll have your Mac running smoother in minutes. I optimize my MacBook Pro weekly using these two programs and my Mac is as good as new after a year of use. Try them out. Heck, if you don’t like them, you have 5 free zaps on AppZapper to get rid of them!

Meet Your Macinstructor

Arbi Karamians is an enthusiastic and motivated 20-something who spends his time between work, play, and family. He was an unwitting PC user for nearly 15 years of his computing life who later was enlightened through his quest for higher efficiency and increased productivity. He bought his first Mac nearly 2 years ago and he's never looked back. The less time he spends looking for printer drivers the more he gets done!


 
                          





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