Mac system maintenance utilities are a popular item these days and we’ve taken a look at quite a few newcomers in the recent months.
Today we’ll take a step back and review an application that’s been around for a few years but is still a strong competitor. MainMenu is a super fast maintenance application that performs a plethora of powerful commands and is conveniently located in your menu bar. We’ll go over the basic functionality and give some feedback on what works, what could be better and whether or not you should give it a shot.
MainMenu is a Mac maintenance utility that can perform a ton of useful actions. This application is targeted towards power users who really know what they’re doing so be warned that you probably shouldn’t go running actions if you’re unsure of the result.
As you probably guessed from the name, MainMenu sits in your menu bar. Clicking the icon will open the menu below.
As you can see, the actions are divided into six categories: Batch tasks, System, Network, User, Applications and Disk Utility. Our basic overview of the application will include a brief look at each of these sections. Since Batch Tasks uses the other actions, we’ll save it for last.
Under the System menu you’ll find seventeen powerful commands to help your Mac run smoother. The first option in the list is “Repair Disk Permissions.” I was quite happy to find this included as a prominent command as just about every maintenance utility I’ve reviewed in the past somehow managed to leave this feature out entirely.
Though Repairing Permissions is easy enough using only OS X, the fact that it’s such a useful command (when all else fails, repair permissions) makes it something that every maintenance app should throw in.
The other options here help you free up disk space by clearing caches and logs, removing temporary files, etc. When you click on an action, MainMenu takes off and performs it for you with little to no interaction on your part.
The commands here that are particularly interesting are the automated maintenance tasks which are split up into three types: daily, weekly and monthly.
If you watch the log (shown above) as you run these commands, you can see what they’re doing. However, since I’m not smart enough to know what any of this stuff means, I had to do some digging. Here’s a breakdown of what each action does in English.
- Cleans and rotates log files older than 60 days
- Removes scratch, temp, and junk files
- Cleans system messages
- Updates the locate database
- Updates the whatis database
- Rotates longer-term log files
- Performs login accounting
- Rotates even more long-term log files like wtmp and fax.log
The Network actions are surprisingly limited. Here you have the ability to restart your Airport, turn it off, or flush your DNS cache. I would definitely like to see some better options here. Suggestions include Network Diagnostics or a command for examining the networks in your area (similar to iStumbler).
Unlike the Network section, the User section is quite robust with lots of powerful features here that you won’t find in most other maintenance utilities. Everything here is targeted at either freeing up hard disk space or improving system performance.
User caches can grow big fast so it’s a good idea to periodically have MainMenu clean these out. You can even target the caches and history on specific browsers for emptying (or hit all browsers at once).
You can also perform a number of Finder-related tasks such as restart and quit. The options for relaunching the menu bar, cleaning out dashboard caches and verifying preferences are awesome and I’ve never seen them in other applications (though I’m sure they’re in a few).
The Applications section features two options: Force Quit and Force Restart. Under each option is a list of currently applications. Simply select an option and an application and the action will be carried out immediately.
Though force-quitting is simple with the default OS X commands, restarting any application is a really useful feature.
The Disk Utility section provides you with a list of your current disks with the options to repair or eject the volume. Keep in mind that you don’t need to make a practice of repairing volumes that aren’t broken so you should only access this command as needed.
It’s definitely useful to be able to eject a disk from the menu bar so you don’t have to leave the currently active application to bring up the Finder or desktop.
Since MainMenu performs so many actions, it can be quite tedious to routinely run through those that you need to perform on a regular basis. Fortunately, MainMenu addresses this with the ability to run a single command that executes a number of actions.
The window above shows the options available for batch commands. Checking an action will add it to the list of items that will run when you click “Execute Batch Tasks” under the Batch Tasks window.
Batch Tasks really provides some much needed functionality. It’s incredibly nice to be able to perform so many actions with a single click. However, it would be nice to see a bit more done with this functionality. For starters, the list should be more extensive and include options for Daily Maintenance, Remove Temporary Files, etc. that are currently missing. Further, there really needs to be an option to set up multiple batch tasks so that you can create different groups of actions that all run together.
When I first tried MainMenu I expected it to either replace other maintenance utilities, such as Clean My Mac and MacKeeper, or be replaced by them. Oddly enough I found that neither was true.
There are several features in traditional maintenance applications not found here, such as the ability to scan your hard drive for the largest files or properly uninstall an application. However, as I pointed out above, MainMenu holds its own by providing several actions that you just don’t see in other utilities.
It was actually really nice to try out a maintenance app that isn’t trying to compete with the same old tricks. MainMenu is far quicker and easier to access than a full application and occupies a nice little niche for advanced users. Overall, I loved the application and can be confident in recommending that you give it a shot.
In summary, MainMenu is an awesome menu bar app that enables you to perform advanced system maintenance tasks easily and efficiently. You can repair permissions, clean logs and caches, and even restart applications all from your menu bar.
Despite the minor complaints that I listed throughout the review, MainMenu is a solid application that I highly recommend to any techie. If you’re an experienced enough Mac user to know what all of these tasks are then you need this application. And $19 is not a bad price tag when you weigh it against the $40 that you’ll pay for competing apps.
Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of MainMenu. Also be sure to tell us about any other maintenance utilities you either currently use or would like us to take a look at.
MainMenu is an awesome menu bar app that enables you to perform advanced system maintenance tasks easily and efficiently. You can repair permissions, clean logs and caches, and even restart applications all from your menu bar.8
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