Essential Mac Maintenance: Rev up your routines
Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:37 AM
From my perspective, computers are fundamentally so complex that anyhing you can do to simplify the system is to your advantage. Adding extra layers of software "in the background" to perform trivial tasks is not a good strategy in my book.
Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:39 AM
Posted 03 June 2008 - 10:41 AM
IMO, people have enough things to keep track of and deal with on their computers -- including maintenance that can't be automated -- without having to manually launch Disk Utility every time they want to check SMART status. More importantly, a utility such as SMARTReporter keeps a constant eye on your drives; if you're checking manually, the vast majority of the time you're not monitoring, so unless you're checking multiple times per hour, the odds are overwhelmingly against you actually catching a SMART status exception in a timely manner.
(As I noted in the article, SMART can't catch every type of drive problem. But since it can check for some, why not take advantage of it? A utility such as SMARTReporter, or DiskWarrior's monitoring feature, takes minimal system resources and is very unlikely to cause any sort of problem.)
Posted 03 June 2008 - 10:47 AM
This does indeed help, which is why I mentioned Web browsers separately. But there are many other things running on your Mac, including dozens of background processes. (If you use a memory-monitoring utility, you can see how your Mac's memory is being used, including virtual memory, page ins and page outs.) I've found that at some point, a restart (or, to a lesser extent, a log out/in) helps more than just restarting particular programs. Plus there are many "house cleaning" events that happen with a restart. I don't think you need to do it frequently, but it's a good idea to restart every week or two if you generally leave your Mac on.
Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:04 AM
and here (for widgets):
No need to pay for VT Pro or the MacUpdate equivalent as both are free/donationware.
The widgets will check VT, MU and the apple websites for the latest versions.
Also, it is worth pointing out that Leopard has introduced one huge annoyance with Software Update - it will not run automatically on your schedule unless you are logged in as an admin account. If you run your account as a Standard user, you will never have Software Update run, no matter what schedule you set (even though you use an admin username and password to set it). It will also not tell you what updates have been installed - which is good from a security perspective (as it prevents people accessing a standard account and seeing that e.g. Quicktime is still the bug-riddled prior version with easy exploits to take your system down), but once you have unlocked the preference panel with an admin account, it really should show you this information.