Spring Cleaning Deluxe 11 full review
Spring Cleaning Deluxe 11 performs major surgery on your Mac in a way that would be impossible (or at least difficult) by hand. It’s for removing stray application files (you know, the ones that were not removed when you drag the app to the Trash to uninstall it), making quick back-ups, inspecting file properties, and searching for huge files you forgot about last year. Sure, you can use Spotlight and a few other tools on the Mac to perform some of the same functions, but not as easily.
Spring Cleaning presents a very clear and helpful interface. Each task is divided into major categories for finding files, managing apps and widgets, maintenance and system performance, and automation. You can also undo tasks from the main menu. There’s a Tools menu that lists all 26 functions, such as finding and deleting files, searching for problems, and uninstalling apps. The great strength of this app is how it helps you uncover system problems and storage hogs.
Here’s an example. I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but once I’ve listened to the files, there is no reason to keep them around. And yet, maintaining these files is a dreaded chore. If you subscribe to video podcasts, you know they can consume a horrendous amount of space. Spring Cleaning Deluxe 11 helps you search just for specific file types, quickly delete them, and then the app goes the extra step of presenting options to automatically find and remove outdated podcasts for you on a regular basis.
Now, a word about the depth of features. Initially, you might wonder what to actually do once you have found stray application files or that one 10GB video you dropped on your drive last week. All of the functions are listed under the Actions menu, such as moving the file to the trash, burning them to disc, or adding them to an online archive. (Spring Cleaning supports Stuffit Connect directly from the app. Stuffit Connect is free for a year when you buy StuffIt Deluxe, and then $50 per year after the free trial is over.) There are also advanced settings that at times seem a bit superfluous, such as a way to select specific iTunes folders for music searches.
Worth the upgrade?
Many Spring Cleaning users already view this tool as invaluable—it’s from the same company that makes StuffIt. Released last year in January, Spring Cleaning 10 added music and image search, and improved many of the other search options. The new version 11 adds a few unique twists.
One is that you can now make a back-up of files before deleting them. This feature makes sense given the connection with StuffIt, and it makes back-ups part of your clean-up process. However, other tools, including Time Machine, offer a better interface and more options, including easier restores based on timeframe or place of back-up, than Spring Cleaning. The new MagnaFile inspector is helpful; it shows you a wealth of information about files, such as the creation date and Spotlight tags. For folders, you can quickly see storage specs using a usage ratio bar with a bright green indicator.
Spring Cleaning offers a new custom search option, which doesn’t really go much beyond the custom search with Spotlight, but does let you save the search criteria in a reusable set. From within Spring Cleaning, it means you can quickly find stray files and then decide what to do with them.
Spring Cleaning also has some deeper system-level functions. For example, you can search for files that are damaged; repair file permissions, as well as the Spotlight database file; and use a secure delete tool that permanently deletes trashed files (e.g., if you plan to sell your Mac on eBay.com). Once again, these options are easy to access as you perform other tasks but are available already on every Mac.
[John Brandon is a 20-year veteran Mac user who used to run an all-Mac graphics department.]