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Saturday, September 8, 2012

System Utility Showdown: Onyx versus Cocktail

OS X is a complicated piece of software. It requires regular maintenance. Sometimes you just need the internal tools provided by Disk Utility. Other times you need 3rd party software, such as Titanium's Onyx and Maintain's Cocktail.

Onyx from France and Cocktail from Sweden reflect two different approaches. Onyx is free (well, donation ware) and can be used by any number of users. Cocktail costs $19 full price with options for families, multiple users, and corporate-wide use.

The Onyx menus offer a plethora of choices. Cocktail offer fewer choices immediately, but it does offer an automated Pilot menu immediately to do all the essential tasks for you.


You can get Onyx here from the developer. Make sure you get the version for your version of OS X!

The downloaded file will just say Onyx.dmg. To tell which version you have, double-click on the DMG. The background of the window (Figure 1) will display the Onyx app and the picture of the big cat associated with that version of OS X.


I like that Onyx checks the boot hard disk before proceeding to the main menu. You should check the S.M.A.R.T. Status (Figure 1) for signs of impending physical failure and then verify the status (Figure 2) of the hard drive to see that your hard drive should boot up.


Now the final step. Onyx requests your password to do some work on the deeper innards.

Finally you get to the main menu, a bar displayed in the middle of the screen. (Figure 4).Figure4-mainOnyxmenubar-2012-09-8-12-23.png

You have a lot of options, but you may not know where to start. Automation or Parameters?

If you need to clean up your system, you should go to the automated cleanup function is under Automation (Figure 5). Parameters lets you change a lot of details about OS X, such as where you save your screenshots and what format you want to save them as. Figure5-AutomationmenufromOnyx-2012-09-8-12-23.png

In any event, I advise you to download and install Onyx, It's free and it covers a lot of tasks. The developer didn't organize them that well.


Cocktail will remind you of Swedish furniture, where “less is more”. You know where to go the moment you start the program.

Cocktail offers versions specifically tailored for each version of OS X. Use the one for your system!

If you need to fix your system right now, you need to go to the Pilot menu. (Figure 6) You can run the selected tasks immediately or you can schedule them to run periodically via the Scheduler. (Figure 7)

Cocktail offers unique features. Under the Network menu, you can tune your connection to the Internet to wring maximum performance from it. (Figure 8)



If you want a program for getting your system up and running again immediately, I'd recommend Cocktail. It offers simpler and better organized menu options than Onyx.

If you want to dig into your system to customize it, look into Onyx. If you wanted to customize your log-in screen, only Onyx offered options to do it. Want to put a picture of a Mountain Lion instead of the gray linen pattern on your log-in screen? Onyx is the way to go.

If you have $20, get both programs. No one program does it all

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