Review: MacKeeper

Remove cache and other unneeded files from your hard drive. (December 15th, 2010)

MacKeeper is a suite of 16 utilities that scan and report on many facets and operations on your Mac.

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Product Manufacturer: ZeoBIT LLC

Price: $38.95 US Single User

The Good

  • Suite of utilities.
  • Easy to use.
  • Scans for many different types of files.

The Bad

  • No in-app help.
  • Does not explain complex topics.
  • Must uninstall whole app to remove menu bar icon.
  • Data Encryptor did not work correctly.
  • Subscription service for 3 services.

MacKeeper, a suite of 16 utilities, can clean your hard drive of useless files, undelete files mistakenly trashed, encrypt sensitive files, remove unused components from universal applications, remove unused language files, and find old files. Once you download the 7.1 MB compressed file, uncompress it, and drag MacKeeper to your Applications folder, installation is complete. When you first start MacKeeper, you see a list of utilities on the left, and Fast Cleanup at the top of the window.

Fast Cleanup starts a scan with four clean-up utilities. MacKeeper displays a running total of the space the files occupy on the left. If you want additional details, click View Result, and Quick Look to display file size, name, and when the file was last opened.

MacKeeper

Main Window


The right edge of the window contains a support and tutorial column. At the top resides a tutorial on the utility selected and below the tutorial is information on how to contact ZeoBIT by phone, email, and chat.

MacKeeper2

Window with Tutorial Column

Fast Cleanup

Fast Cleanup uses the four utilities below. Binaries Cutter: Fat binaries contain two parts, one for the PPC Macs and one for Intel Macs. The Binary Cutter removes the component that your Mac does not use, thus saving space.

Cache Cleaner: To read frequently used data faster, Mac OSX copies files to where they can be accessed more quickly. Over time, these files accumulate in the cache folders and removing them recovers that space. Safari has its own Empty Cache command, but most applications do not remove caches.

Logs Cleaner: Many programs write logs as they run. These logs can be useful, but they also accumulate, and old log files take up space and serve no purpose.

Languages Cutter: Some programs come with the interface replicated in many languages. You can recover this space by removing the language support for those you do not use.

When the scan completes, you can see a list of files that MacKeeper suggests you can safely remove by clicking View Result. Each utility displays the memory space you can recover in the list to the left.

Cache Cleaner Window

Cache Cleaner Window


In the screen shot below, you can see MacKeeper identified 4GB of removable files. As I looked at the list, clicking Remove All seemed to take a bit more faith than I had. I clicked Help to learn more and received the unacceptable message below.

No Help Dialog

No Help Dialog


I checked my last Time Machine backup before proceeding; at least if something happened, I could restore from a backup. I reviewed each of the files found by each utility rather than remove them all with one click. All of the files met my requirements for removal.

Security

There are also a series of utilities for Security, Data Control, and Optimization. To use the Anti-Theft utility, you set up an account at the ZeoBIT web site and if your Mac is stolen, report it on the website. When your Mac next goes online, it provides information as in the screenshot. ZeoBIT forwards this information to you, so you may contact the police to recover your Mac.

Security: Anti-Theft Window

Security: Anti-Theft Window


Antivirus scans your computer for a list of known viruses, which is none to date, and other malware. You can schedule it to run regularly at a specific time, and automatically checks for updates to the list of security threats. Antivirus, Geek on Demand, and Anti-Theft are subscription services that must be paid annually.

Data Control Tools

The Data Control tools include Data Encryptor, Undelete, Shredder, and Backup utilities. A planned ZeoDisk online storage is not yet implemented. Undelete, Shredder, and Backup are pretty standard and function as expected. I wish there were a Help file to provide more information for the utilities. For example, in Shredder, there are four choices in the preference pane, as you can see in the screenshot below. I don't know which method to choose, nor how long will each take to complete. I am given no idea as to the effectiveness of each choice either.

Shredder Preferences

Shredder Preferences


I tested Data Encryptor with some sample files to see how secure the files would be. In two different tests, Data Encryptor created an alias for the encrypted folder and subsequently lost the link to the actual item, rendering it unrecoverable.

Wise Uninstaller is a useful utility that removes a whole program, including preferences, logs, plug-ins, or other components. If you simply drag a program to the Trash, it does not always remove these other components.

Update Tracker scans for the version of each application you have installed and compares that to the latest available version. It flags each out of date application so you can update each application or click Update All to download all the updates.

Update Tracker Window

Update Tracker Window


What I Like

MacKeeper is an expansive collection of system utilities that can scan and report on many facets and operations on your Mac. Some of the utilities are quite useful, such as the Binary Cutter, or the Undelete tool. The simple layout looks familiar, and is easy for beginners to understand. As an all-in-one utility MacKeeper can help you keep your Mac clutter free.

The Bottom Line

Three of the tools in MacKeeper require a subscription to use, so once you purchase the application, you are not done paying for it. The planned, but not available ZeoDisk, the lack of in-application help for complex topics, and your inability to remove the menu bar icon without removing the whole application, earns MacKeeper three stars. A single user license is $38.95, a two-Mac license is $58.95, and a 5-Mac license is $88.95. ZeoBIT LLC offers a 15-day free trial that you can download on their site.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Ronald Robbins


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