How to Keep Your Mac in Shape with MainMenu

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.

The Gist

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.

main menu screenshot

Main Menu

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.

System

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.

main menu screenshot

System Commands

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.

main menu screenshot

Maintenance Tasks and Log

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.

Daily Maintenance

  • Cleans and rotates log files older than 60 days
  • Removes scratch, temp, and junk files
  • Cleans system messages

Weekly Maintenance

  • Updates the locate database
  • Updates the whatis database
  • Rotates longer-term log files

Monthly Maintenance

  • Performs login accounting
  • Rotates even more long-term log files like wtmp and fax.log

Network

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).

main menu screenshot

Network Commands

User

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.

main menu screenshot

User Commands

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).

Applications

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.

main menu screenshot

Application Commands

Though force-quitting is simple with the default OS X commands, restarting any application is a really useful feature.

Disk Utility

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.

main menu screenshot

Disk Utility Commands

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.

Batch Tasks

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.

main menu screenshot

Batch Tasks Window

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.

Overall Impression

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.

Conclusion

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.


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.

8
  • http://www.artplusonline.net Steff

    You should make intro smaller on index page.

  • http://www.davidpraznik.com david praznik

    nice and huge review, mas.
    tnx!

  • http://loneplacebo.com Tony

    I’ll pass on this one.

  • Andrew

    What is that facebook icon in your menu bar? Are there any good facebook apps for mac? Thanks

    • Nick

      That app is called desktop notifications (http://www.facebook.com/notifier) and is made by a facebook engineer. I use it all the time.

      There are apps out there like socialite which integrate facebook, twitter etc into streams which you can read through. While the desktop notifications lets you see your notifications and sends you to the actual webpage.

  • Macwitty

    Thanks for the review. Fot MainMenu in a bundle and shame to say have not installed it but I’ll do it now!

  • http://www.bravebox.com bravebox

    tx for the review

  • Alex Arena

    Thanks for the review, I use this app quite frequently and it’s great that it’s getting some buzz. I’ve wanted to ask this for a while now, what is the desktop wallpaper in your screenshots? It’s simple and awesome!

  • http://www.worldstage.nl/ Hans Waasdorp

    Onyx is the one app I use

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  • http://koapia.com/ fcb

    This review made me get this app.
    The way Maintenance is split up into three types: daily, weekly and monthly is an awesome idea. It’s very smart and efficient.

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  • http://www.fnyhow.com Francisco Luz

    Hello. Can anyone please tell me if we can do just ONE click and MAIN MENU app can SOLVE ALL THE TASKS at the same time? I just want my mac ALL clean, but i just want to click ONE TIME.

    How could be possible no one has been asked that before?
    Thanks a lot.

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  • Javier Torres

    WORST APP I HAVE EVER DOWNLOADED

    i just wanted my mac to run a little smoother.
    it erased all my important framework files from my libary.
    now itunes wont open !!!or reinstall!!!!
    word wont open
    spotify wont work. not even mainmenu itself !!!!

    Dont download!!! i have never had a problem with my mac im a professional photographer and am very tech savy… appertnly not enough to download this stupid app

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