One of the very first utilities I bought for Mac OS X oh so many years ago was little multi-purpose system utility called Xupport.
It gave me a single place to learn about OS X, dink around with the Mac’s hidden features, and find new ways to improve my Mac productivity without blowing up my Mac in the process.
Laurent Muller is the genius behind one of the Mac’s most popular commercial utilities. I would not go so far as to call Xupport a Swiss army knife (not ever having been in the Swiss army, or in need of such a knife, though I have one—just in case).
Most Mac users may know that the OS is a Unix system (more of a Frankenunix operating system) but don’t know what that means.
Not only is Mac OS X a very secure Unix-like OS, it also comes with the many built-in capabilities—some call them secret or hidden features—of Unix. You just need to know what they are and how to turn them on (and off).
That’s what Xupport does. It’s a single utility which lets the average Mac user configure hidden options in Mac OS X—some of which can improve your Mac’s security, some which can improve performance, and more than a few which just let you dink around with different settings.
True, there are plenty of utilities that do just that—let you in on the inside of Mac OS X. Some are free. Most are very good. Xupport is one of those you’ll probably like right away, though parting with money for the features may be a challenge.
For example, Xupport will run all the basic Mac OS X system maintenance scripts—the ones that usually run at around 3:00 am, but if your Mac is turned off in the wee hours of the morning, you may want to do a manual optimization.
Remember classic Mac OS and the need to rebuild the Desktop? You can do that in Mac OS X using a single click in Xupport. This handy utility also cleans up the Macs browser caches, cookies, Safari web icons, and improves your network connection speed.
Mac OS X also comes with a built-in firewall to help protect your Mac from outside intrusion. Xupport lets you dink with the IPFW settings.
You can also swap the Mac’s virtyual memory, access settings that are hidden for the Mac system, the Finder, the Dock, and elsewhere.
One thing that many Mac system utilities do not do is let you create a bootable backup on another hard drive (usually, Mac users have a separate utility for that, such as SuperDuper!). Not only does Xupport do bootable backups, it can also create a backup disk image.
The only problem with such utilities that bring out under-the-hood features is knowing what they do, why you need them turned on, and how to fix things with it all goes bad.
Xupport’s interface is simple, elegant, Mac-like, with enough instructions at every turn to make Mac newbies feel good, but with enough ease of use so as not to bore those Mac users with plenty of system experience.
How does Xupport compare to, say, Onyx, which is free? It’s similar, though with more features.