Basic Mac Maintenance

Basic Mac Maintenance

Many of us have used the old command-option method of rebuilding our cluttered desktop files for many years. Now we have better and safer ways to do the same thing. A desktop file which is especially cluttered with remembrances of old downloads long ago discarded, or especially one which is slightly corrupted, may not be properly rebuilt with the Apple keyboard method.

The safer and surer way is to use one of a variety of utilities which actually delete the desktop and allow the Mac OS to scan the hard disk and rebuild it correctly. There are many such utilities. My favorites are File Buddy and Tech Tool. Each of these fine utilities, the first shareware, the second freeware, provide other useful services as well. Another good choice is the file rebuild option in Symantec's(tm) Norton Utilities Disk Doctor 3.13. This utility monitors the rebuilding process after deleting the old file, but is a little slower than the other two. It likely, however, may be the best way of all to "rebuild the desktop." Normally I just use File Buddy.

Why rebuild? Simple. Any active web surfer dumps hundreds or thousands of new files to hard disk over the course of a few months. I sometimes download three or four files simultaneously with Netscape 1.1N. While all this disk I/O is occurring some of the helper applications are launching files, decoding files, or I'm maybe reading and sending mail with Eudora which is trashing old files as I quit it and maybe do a little house cleaning on my desktop. During this whole process the poor overburdened Mac OS just _may_ have more than a little trouble keeping track of exactly what's going on. The resultant errors show up when Norton Disk Doctor examines each of my hard disks several times per week. And in the interim, I'd rather not have a corrupt desktop file that crashes my mac.

Rebuilding the desktop file is one of those small little maintenance items which, when properly done with File Buddy, Tech Tool, or Disk Doctor (there are other utilities, I recommend these), will keep your Mac smiling at startup. Throw in a weekly or more frequent examination with Disk Doctor and your sad Mac blues will be minimized. A third thing I also do at least weekly is trash my Netscape cache folder in the preferences folder and start anew. After trashing it I: (1) run Disk Doctor or File Buddy to delete the desktop file (2) run Disk Doctor to check integrity of files, desktop, etc. (3) run Symantec's Norton Speed Disk 3.13 to defragment and optimize all hard disks. For the latter I've discontinued using Disk Express II, which I used with System 7.1, and I'm not fond of any of the CPS utilities, including CPS Optimizer 4.0.

Add a backup to the three maintenance items, and a backup should always precede these three, and you'll see many more smiling Macs than sad Macs, which is the way Steve Jobs and God wanted it to be. (grin)

-writer's name withheld by request.

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