Wouldn’t you love to have a dashboard for your Mac, similar to the one in your car that alerts you if anything seems likely to malfunction? CheckUp is exactly that. From your hard drive to your OS installation, CheckUp will keep watch for anything that’s wrong with your Mac, and tell you how to fix it.
Today we’ll go into detail with every aspect of this application, and assess whether it’s a worthwhile purchase to keep your Mac running in tip-top shape.
As careful as you are with your Mac, sometimes things have a habit of going wrong. If there’s anything malfunctioning on your Mac’s disks, software, or hardware, CheckUp will alert you of it, as well as tell you what you can do to fix it.
For a casual user that isn’t aware of many things that could be slowing your system down, this application is a must-have. Not only is the interface pretty simple, it also has an alert system that displays notifications about any problems that crop up.
The “Profile” menu is the main one, this is where you can see all the specifications of your Mac (OS version, Serial Number, Hard Drive capacity, etc.), and also where you’ll be notified of the issues that the application detects.
These issues are accessible through a window that breaks them down into categories and gives you access to a “Frequently Asked Questions” page.
The “System” menu is where you’ll be able to check all your installed items. And by “installed items”, we mean your applications, fonts, drivers, widgets and login items. Next to each category there’s a number displaying how many items you have installed in that category (e.g. 90 applications, 200 drivers), and if you click these categories you’ll get a list of every item that belongs there.
Then, you can see aspects of every installed item, like its size and version, or choose to uninstall particular files.
Under this menu there is also a category labeled “Operating Systems”. In this category, you’ll be able to see all the OS’s that you are running or could run, and what it would need for you to run it.
This is especially useful for people who don’t now that, for example, you need to use BootCamp to run Windows 7.
Processor & Memory
Under the “Processor” menu, you’ll be able to see a graphical display of your processor’s activity, including a graph that informs you of the peaks of your performance. From here you can also check the temperature, type, and bus speed of your processors, as well as tweak the graph to make it go further in time (1 week, today, etc.), optimize your performance or export the data from the graph.
The “Memory” menu displays the capacity of your RAM memory and tells you what would be your “optimal configuration”. Here you can also check how much memory you are using, and run a test to find defective RAM modules.
Disks & Network
From the “Disks” menu, you can see the space you are using on your hard drive and the capacity of your hard disk. It also displays all your external disks and any errors that they could have, giving you the ability to repair them.
Then there’s the “Network” menu, that displays information like your IP address and a graphical display of your In and Out network activity (this functions just like the Processor graph). It can also help you detect any wireless networks around you.
Processes & Documents
Processes is the menu where you can see the processes that take up the most memory and processor activity. You can also sort them through different categories, quit them and pause them. Ironically, “CheckUp” is usually the heaviest process – which really doesn’t bode well…
“Documents” lets you choose a folder and it’ll display the types of documents inside it, with size information, the number of items under that file type and the application related to it. You can also use this section to automatically find duplicated files.
This is probably the most useful part of the app. Notifications are accessible through the menu of the application, and they let you set up notifications when certain things happen in your computer.
For example, you can set up CheckUp to notify you when the temperature of your processor reaches a certain temperature and stays there for a certain period of time. These notifications allow you to get to know your computer more and identify what usage makes your computer behave in a certain way. And they also work with the memory usage, the disks and the network.
CheckUp is a difficult application to evaluate. There aren’t many applications that do what CheckUp aims for. There’s the iStat bundle of apps that work in the menu bar or through widgets. There are also apps that do some of the things that CheckUp does, like Onyx, that has disk-checking abilities and displays system information, but these kind of apps usually don’t pack the same level of functionality.
A close comparison here is Activity Monitor, which can easily show most of the same information – albeit in a slightly simpler fashion. If you’ll only be using the basic functionality of CheckUp, you’re probably fine just to stick with Activity Monitor for the few times you notice a piece of software hogging memory.
Equally, there’s the question to be asked as to who exactly CheckUp is designed for. Most users won’t – or at least, shouldn’t – have a need for this type of app. Your Mac is designed to “just work” – this isn’t an environment where you really need to know your CPU temperature, or receive notifications about fan speed.
If you’re the type of person that likes to dig deep into their hardware configuration and operation, definitively download CheckUp and give it a try. If not, you may find this app a little bit underwhelming. I’d be interested to hear what you think, though. Do you use a piece of software like this on a regular basis?