Spring Cleaning 9 Review

After 10 years, you’d have thought that Spring Cleaning would have matured into a seasoned product. But after acquiring Allume, the software developer, in 2005 and the ensuing poor reviews of version 8, Smith Micro Software decided to rewrite Spring Cleaning from the ground up. Out went the old PowerPlant code and in came Cocoa frameworks to allow for a more flexible, expandable product.

Spring Cleaning offers a host of disk and file utilities that enable you to clean and maintain your system, organise your files and remove the typical clutter that slows down most of our Macs. In all, there are 40 utilities with nine new to this version.

While installing, it’s a little concerning to see the wrong product name in the window bar (Internet Cleanup rather than Spring Cleaning) but that’s only a cosmetic problem. Once installed, the different genres of utility are presented in a clear, icon-drive tabbed window, definitely an improvement on previous versions. Each utility is an independent app, allowing you to run more than one at a time, and the included instructions, along with the online manual, are pretty comprehensive.

It’s impossible to detail all of the utilities here, but most worked as described. That said, the Universal Application Finder failed to find the applications folder and the Font File Finder reported all fonts as not being installed even though FontAgent Pro disagreed.

The big question is: how many of the utilities are really useful? Why would you want to know which apps are Universal Binaries and then not be able to strip away the code you don’t need? Why use the Permissions Fixer when Mac OS X’s Disk Utility does the job perfectly well? And why use Document Finder instead of Spotlight?

OUR VERDICT

While Spring Cleaning 9 is an improvement on (and £20 cheaper than) its predecessor, it has to compete with a range of very good freeware apps such as OnyX for system maintenance and optimisation, and AppleJack for system cleaning and repairs. There are also numerous reputable budget shareware apps like Tiger Cache Cleaner and Cocktail. Ten years ago, it had the field to itself. Now it may have difficulties finding sufficient elbow room in the crowd.

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