MainMenu — Keep Your Mac in Shape

mainmenu

Earlier this month, Dare to be Creative announced MainMenu 2.0, an update to its system maintenance utility for OS X. This lightweight application allows you to clean up your Mac, improve system performance and free up hard disk space — all directly from the system menu.

The new release offers a range of improved functionality, an informative system menu icon, and integration with the Growl notification service. This review will offer an overview of MainMenu’s key features, and explain how the software can assist with running a fast, healthy Mac.

The Interface

The Main Menu

The Main Menu

MainMenu resides in the OS X menu bar as a small icon, offering a compact drop-down menu when clicked. This details the various categories of maintenance functions that can be performed, relating to the system, network, user, disk, and applications. It is also possible to run pre-defined batches of tasks together.

The final item in the menu provides access to MainMenu’s preferences, covering options such as whether the application should launch automatically, the appearance of the menu bar icon (several options are available), and whether the application should display a visible log as maintenance runs.

Improve System Performance

A number of options within the menu can help cut back on clutter and speed up your machine. These include the ability to re-build your Spotlight index for faster searching, and repair disk permissions to improve disk access speeds.

None of these are guaranteed to provide a dramatic increase in system performance, but can certainly have a noticeable impact when combined with clearing temporary files and caches (see below).

Re-claiming Disk Space

A variety of operations aim to delete unnecessary temporary files eating up hard drive space. These include the ability to remove Logs, Temporary Files, .DS_Store Files, and various system caches.

Clearing Browser Cache

Clearing Browser Cache

Usefully, the menu also offers a central point for cleaning up your browser cache — across any (or all) of the web browsers you may have installed on your system.

Regular Maintenance Scripts

OS X has a variety of scripts (cron jobs) built-in for performing system maintenance, set to run automatically at a particular interval. Main Menu offers an easy way to execute these maintenance operations manually.

Time Savers

A degree of the functionality offered centers around quicker access to operations that would otherwise require running commands in the Terminal (or deep within System Preferences). A few of my favorite time-savers are:

  • Showing or hiding invisible files in the Finder
  • Relaunching various services such as the Dock, Finder, Airport, or Menu Bar
  • Disabling Dashboard (a great way to speed up older machines)

You’re also able to Force Quit or Force Restart any application currently running. This is particularly useful if, for some reason, you are unable to Force Quit an app through the Dock.

Batch Mode & Growl Support

Another useful feature allows you to create a batch of several commonly performed tasks. A batch can be executed with one click, not requiring you to select each maintenance operation individually.

Batching Tasks

Batching Tasks

The limitation apparent here is that only one “batch” can be created. It isn’t possible to create several different sets of actions, each with a different name — a feature that could be particularly useful.

The latest release of MainMenu adds one final feature: Growl integration. This is a useful way to notify you when a maintenance task completes, and can help to streamline all your system notifications through one central system.

Conclusion

After experimenting with MainMenu for a few days, I can see it being an application I continue to use regularly. Although it seems a little unnecessary to run maintenance operations every few days, I certainly appreciate the in-built shortcuts for restarting services and adjusting Finder display preferences.

Whether you’re a seasoned Mac user who understands the need to flush your DNS cache, or a beginner looking for a simple utility for keeping your machine clean and tidy, MainMenu is certainly worth looking into.

MainMenu costs $20, and a trial is available as a free download from the MainMenu website. It runs initially in a 15-day trial mode with all features active — more than long enough to experiment with the utility and determine whether you use it enough to purchase a license.

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