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The MacValley blog
Editor: Tom Briant
Friday, January 17, 2014
After my initial review of Intego Software’s Washing Machine 2014, Intego asked me if I would like a free license to give their product a more extensive review.
I had only tested Washing Machine in its evaluation mode. I agreed to review Washing Machine with all its powers and they sent me the serial number.
After giving the app a test in all three of its functions of reclaiming disk space, tracking down duplicate files for possible deletion, and reorganizing your desktop; I can say that this program will help you if you look at your desktop cluttered with files and just throw up your hands. It is not the total solution, but its excellent organization and Help will help users confused by other program’s offering too many choices at once with minimal Help.
The program divides into three modules: Reclaim, Duplicates, and Organize. You can switch between them at any point. If you switch, though, you lose the results of your current file scan if you haven’t decided what to do with these files.
The Reclaim and Duplicates modules let you drill down to the individual files in whatever file structure you’ve constructed. This is where Washing Machine could use some help from Quick Look.
In the Duplicates section, for example, you get a static preview of a file. This works fine if you look at at a GIF or JPEG, but what if you want to make sure you want to delete a video with a cryptic title? Or an audio file? Please incorporate Quick Look into a future version, or an option to Open in Finder.
The Organize feature helps you organize your messy desktop. It presents you with a grid of your desktop files. You can drag them to three different “bins”. Blue is for Trash. Orange is for the folder that Washing Machine makes on the Desktop. Green is for your User Directory or Home Folders.
The program makes it easy for you. You take one file at a time (no selecting multiple files?!) and drag it to whichever bin you want it to go. As you make progress, you see a colored badge next to the file in the grid. If you change your mind, you can drag the file from the grid to another bin. The badge changes color to show the new location. You cannot assign a file to, say, both the Home Folder and the Desktop. No, just one bin. You then press the TIDY button in the top center of the screen to restore order to your desktop.
Washing Machine separates the files you place in the Home Subfolders bin into four categories. If it’s a picture, it goes into Picture. If it’s an audio file, it goes into the Music folder. If it’s a video, it goes into the Movies folder. If it’s not one of those, it goes into the Documents folder. If you put a folder into the Home Folders bin, that folder and its contents go into the Documents folder, too.
This scheme will do basic triage on a untidy Desktop of files. If you want a finer grained assignment of files from your desktop to your system of User Folder subfolders, you might want to look into NoodleSoft’s Hazel program. That requires setting up rules for sorting files. The simplicity of Washing Machine will satisfy a lot of users who don’t want more computer complications in their lives.
As for the Help, it’s extensive. If you want to understand a feature, just click on the white “I” in the gray circle on the upper right-hand corner. A blue overlay with white text, just like a blueprint, guides you. If you want a user manual, click on the Help menu. Your Web browser will open to the Web site with the latest edition of the manual.
I’m going to give this program 4 out of 5 stars. The lack of QuickLook support and the inability to choose multiple files when organizing the Desktop are irritations, but not dealbreakers. I’d recommend this program to people who just got a Mac and can’t rid themselves of their old Windows habit of dumping files on the screen and find their Mac running out of space!
These are the requirements for running Washing Machine
Core2Duo processor or higher (64-bit processor)
OS X 10.6 or higher (works fine with Mavericks 10.9.1)
50 Mb of free hard disk space.
Editor, MacValley Blog