Systems maintenance utilities are similar to other technologies that previously may have proved a luxury but, once you’ve used it, you have trouble living without–rear window defrosters, GPS, and single-shot coffee makers come to mind. Such maintenance utilities typically remove unneeded files and applications to free disk space and improve performance.

In addition to those capabilities, WinZip Mac Optimizer includes redundant file identification and removal and system resources monitoring. The application also packs maintenance tools for scheduling common script actions, optimizing Mail, reindexing Spotlight, and clearing the Mac’s DNS cache.

SEE: Software automation policy guidelines (Tech Pro Research)

The software is priced at $59.95 a year and is sold as a subscription; however, at the time of this writing, subscriptions were priced at just $39.95, which matches pricing for MacPaw’s CleanMyMac 3. To be fair, though, CleanMyMac 3 does not include a duplicate file finder (a single Gemini 2 license from MacPaw will set you back another $19.95), nor does CleanMyMac 3 offer quick access to Startup items the same way WinZip Mac Optimizer does.

A free version is available, if you wish to kick the tires. Note: Only the registered version includes the program’s logs cleanup, disk usage, uninstaller, junk file cleaner, startup items assistant, and default applications manager features; I think those are the features that justify the purchase.

SEE: Ebook–Boost your Mac productivity with these 10 techniques (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Once installed, the application runs in the background, by default; this comes in handy, especially if you wish to leverage WinZip Mac Optimizer’s disk monitoring and alerting features, which, while customizable, remind you when disk space and Trash and Downloads folder sizes become problematic. You can easily change the program’s other settings using the program’s icon, which lands on the Menu Bar.

Upon opening, WinZip Mac Optimizer displays a Dashboard view (Figure A). The easy-to-understand window provides a graphic illustration of the Mac’s disk usage, battery status, and a summary of installed applications. The tool also confirms the processor, memory, and OS version.

A convenient navigation pane appears on the Dashboard’s left-hand side. The pane separates the program’s tools into three categories: Security, Cleaning, and Optimization.

Figure A

SEE: We don’t need better Macs. We need more powerful iPads (ZDNet)

The Security section collects the tool’s Shredder and Free Space Cleaner utilities, while the Cleaning section holds the Quick Cleanup, Duplicates Finder, Files Finder, Disk Usage, Uninstaller, and Undo features. The Optimization section collects the program’s StartUp Items, Default Application, Battery Optimization, and Maintenance tools (Figure B).

Figure B

In my tests, the program’s tools and components worked quickly and reliably. Disk Usage information was available within moments. The Uninstaller listed not only my Mac’s installed programs but those programs’ many subcomponents, too. Manipulating the Battery Optimization controls proved intuitive, and the Maintenance routines, such as optimizing Mail, were clearly described and easily accessed.

No one looks forward to performing systems maintenance, but most everyone appreciates a reliable and fast-performing system. WinZip Mac Optimizer eases the pain and simplifies achieving such a goal (and reminds you when you forget) to keep your system running smooth.