TinkerTool review

We’re not quite sure how TinkerTool slipped off our radar for so long. Perhaps we finally tired of launching Terminal to configure the Finder and set permissions in ways that other operating systems enable with a control panel. We think you know what we mean when we say “other operating systems”.

Anyway, we needed to make some hidden files visible earlier this week and remembered that TinkerTool enables you to do that by simply ticking a box, instead of entering a long command string into Terminal or editing the Finder’s configuration.plist file. That’s just one feature across 10 categories. You can also configure system fonts, change Dock settings and, in the latest version, tweak some Snow Leopard-specific settings.

Among the collection of quick tools there are handy options like the ability to display a crash report when an application hangs, accelerate window animations in a variety of ways and show full paths in the Finder.

TinkerTool doesn’t do anything that Mac OS X can’t already do by other means – either through System Preferences, Terminal settings or direct editing – but it brings all those features into one place and makes them easy to use. Which, of course, also means that it gives novices the ability to alter system features that might better be left alone. Fortunately, there’s a reset button. Go to the last icon in the row and you can set your OS back to factory defaults or to the state it was in before you installed TinkerTool.

OUR VERDICT

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the Mac’s lack of under-the-hood access, TinkerTool won’t entirely meet your thirst for power. Power users should try Cocktail (www.maintain.se/cocktail) instead. If you just need to gently persuade your Mac to work the way you want to it to, though, TinkerTool is definitely up to the task.

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