Should I do any regular maintenance?

The short answer is: No.

Mac OS X is designed not to need any form of regular —i.e. scheduled— maintenance. All housekeeping jobs are already performed automatically by the operating system. Under normal circumstances, you won’t have to care about technical details, which follows the usual philosophy of Apple products. Recurring tasks, like monitoring printers, or updating the virus scanner in Mac OS X Server, are automatically handled by service programs running in the background. Other tasks, like defragmenting hard drives, are carried out as a side effect of normal operations, or are being avoided altogether by using up-to-date technology.

There can be exceptions in special situations, e.g. when you are using a Mac OS X computer as a UNIX server, but don’t run it around the clock, which is an uncommon case. Here, some periodic maintenance jobs which can be important for a UNIX server, like user login time accounting, archiving log files, or updating the database of terminal commands, won’t run. TinkerTool System can assist you in starting these jobs manually, when it is necessary. For users operating their computers as desktop systems, this type of regular maintenance might not be important, however.

For these reasons, other than the exception noted above, you won’t need to use any of the features of TinkerTool System on a regular basis. By intention, the tool does not contain any scheduler, “autopilot”, or similar functions.

In some cases, scheduled maintenance could even be harmful to your computer. In particular, this is true for most cache-cleaning features. Cleaning caches can be an important troubleshooting procedure in case your computer is indeed suffering from a software problem, but it always has bad side effects, because the system and applications have to rebuild their caches, which can take days, depending on case. During this period, the system will run slower than usual, because cache information has to be refetched or recomputed. In summary, cleaning caches without a specific technical reason does not make any sense. It will cause the computer to run worse. For this reason, TinkerTool System Release 2 introduces new features which can troubleshoot caches, but avoids cache-cleaning unless it is absolutely necessary.

This does not mean that Mac OS X would not need any maintenance at all. But you won’t need to do it on a regular basis. Maintenance should only be done when there is actually something to repair.

There can be several causes for technical problems with a computer running Mac OS X, which make maintenance necessary:

In all these cases, TinkerTool System can assist you.

If you are unsure when to use a specific maintenance feature of TinkerTool System, press the help button at the upper right of each control pane.