HSTracker 1.5 review

Targeted at networks running multiple Macs, HSTracker helps you keep records of computers and software owned by your company. It is, in effect, a custom FileMaker database made for IT and systems managers.

So, why would you want to fork out £100 for HSTracker when you can, pretty much, dump all the same information in a spreadsheet? The answer is that it does two things; it makes system data easy to access and update, and the relations between data types are built in for you. For example, you might have a copy of Photoshop licensed for use on five machines.

You can access the licensing data in several different ways – from a global list of software licences, the specific machine’s details, and so on. You can see when subscriptions and expiring licenses are due for updating too.

The last time we reviewed HSTracker, at version 1.1.8, you could already use Apple Remote Desktop to access machines listed in the database – as long as the appropriate details were stored. In 1.5, you can ping, wake or remotely control a target machine. Entry fields enable you to track a machine’s user, the department it’s assigned to, and network details.

Data entry can be a long process if you have lots of machines to choose from. However, HSTracker remembers the choices you’ve already made and uses those to predict your requirements. There’s also some integration with MacTracker, the desktop database of Mac Hardware and Apple’s own specs site. It’s disappointing that these tools can’t be used to automatically populate database fields, though.

OUR VERDICT

Overall, HSTracker 1.5 is a solid evolution from previous versions and definitely worth switching to if you haven’t upgraded in a while. In addition to the version we reviewed, there’s a budget Lite edition at £34, if you don’t need to track software licences, and a multi-user version at £200, which requires FileMaker to run.

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