Review : Compost

Manage your trash easily.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Fastforward Software

Price: $12.50 US

The Good

  • Very customizable. Easy to use. Automates trash management. Good value.

The Bad

  • None found
Compost 1.8.8 is a System Preference utility that eliminates the problem of having to remember to empty your Max OS X Trash. Prior to installation, I didn't even realize that I had over two GB of trash on my MacBook's 80 GB hard drive! While I wasn't in any danger of running out of disk space, this example highlights the fact that not only is it easy to forget to empty the trash; it's an all or nothing proposition when you do.

Compost allows you to take complete control and provides every imaginable way to automatically control your Trash. You can choose to delete files after minutes, hours, or days or designate how much trash to collect in kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or a percent of overall drive space. If that isn't enough flexibility, then specify the amount of free hard drive space you want to maintain either in size or in percentage. Either way, the oldest files are deleted first, which provides a bit of insurance in case you change your mind about a file you put in the Trash.

Compost Preferences

Compost System Preferences

Other Compost options include allowing oversized files to be treated normally, allowed to linger, or deleted immediately; secure deletion using 1, 7, or 35 iterations; and deletion of locked files. You can even create different settings for each drive volume or partition.

Enhanced Features

If the above features aren't enough, Compost also provides the option of displaying a Menu Bar icon, which provides quick access to a variety of management options, including Preferences, Open Trash, Compost Heap, and Show Enhanced Trash Info.

When you select Compost Heap, it shows the file names and date by volume for each file deleted. Enhanced Trash Info skips the specific file information and instead provides the overall size of Trash, size of free space, and number of files in the Trash by volume. An improvement would be to combine these two features into one slightly more detailed screen.

Undocumented gem

An undocumented application installed along with Compost is DeskTrash v1.8.8, which provides a moveable OS X themed desktop trash container that truly negates any reason to simultaneously run the memory-intensive Bin-it. While the DeskTrash icon does not display the number of items or size in MB like Bin-it, it can be sized, moved around, made to float or stay on top.

Overall, Compost does its job extremely well with an intuitive and comprehensive interface that can be set up once and then left alone to do its job. The sheer number of options is really amazing when you consider OS X provides only Open and Empty Trash. The bonus DeskTrash application makes Compost an exceptionally good value for anyone interested in automatic waste management.

Update: August 5, 2007: A manual is now available at: Product rating has been changed to 5-stars. -- Editor

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor