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ATPM 5.07
July 1999


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Review: Spring Cleaning 3.0

by Michael Tsai,


Product InformationscBoxShot

Published by: Aladdin Systems, Inc.



Phone (831) 761-6200

Street Price: $48


System Requirements

Macintosh with 68030 or higher, System 7.1.1 or higher, at least 8 MB of available RAM


Spring Cleaning 3 is the latest incarnation of Aladdin Systems’ utility for cleaning out your hard disk. Although Spring Cleaning is now easier to use and more polished than when we reviewed it two years ago, its core functionality remains largely the same. If your Mac is more than a few years old, chances are it has accumulated some unnecessary files. Spring Cleaning is aimed at helping you with tasks like uninstalling applications, removing multiple copies of duplicate files, fixing broken aliases, and deleting orphaned preferences files.

To clean your disk, you first use Spring Cleaning to search for a particular set of files. Then you can apply one of Spring Cleaning’s actions to some or all of the search results. scActionMenu

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Spring Cleaning often gave me “out of memory” messages, but did not explain how to fix them by allocating more application memory in its Get Info window. This is symptomatic of a larger problem: Spring Cleaning seems aimed at novices, yet requires more than a novice’s level of knowledge. To use Spring Cleaning effectively, you must have a rudimentary understanding of your system and application support files, so that you know which are safe to remove. This problem is not exactly Aladdin’s fault, nor is it something that I think is possible for them to fix. Nevertheless, it lessens the usefulness of the product and increases its potential to do harm.

Spring Cleaning does two basic things: it searches for particular groups of files and lets you do something with those files once they have been found. Neither of these abilities is unique to Spring Cleaning. Most of the searching features could be duplicated by some clever usage of Sherlock’s Find function or a shareware utility such as FileBuddy. Sherlock’s ability to save search criteria can help automate this process, after you have done it once. Spring Cleaning’s actions are all available from one convenient menu, however each could also be accomplished with the Finder or a shareware/freeware utility.

The main utility of Spring Cleaning is that it brings all these features together into one easy-to-use package. The other areas where Spring Cleaning shines are in letting you create a list of files to exclude from future searches, and in providing a means to restore (undo) actions that you’ve accidentally applied.

Spring Cleaning 3 is easier to use than earlier versions of the product and has good AppleGuide help, however it still leaves a lot to be desired. The new interface is adequate, but it is a little rough around the edges. For instance, when you click on a file in the search results view, you can see more information about it in the details pane, but the area that shows the path to the file (so you can tell which one of many identically named files it is) is short and does not scroll—so you can see only the first three levels of its path. Often this is not very helpful. Similarly, all of Spring Cleaning’s actions are available after each type of search. This makes the interface more uniform, but how much sense does it make to let the user duplicate an orphaned preferences file?

In short, Spring Cleaning 3 can save you time if you need to do an extensive hard disk cleaning. However, this cleaning is far from automatic, and often could be accomplished just as well by hand. Sherlock, Mac OS 8.5’s alias resolver, and various shareware utilities can provide much of Spring Cleaning’s functionality, at a fraction of the price. However, Spring Cleaning’s combination of “cleaners” is a good package for those who want a complete cleaning solution that’s ready to go out of the box.

apple Copyright ©1999 Michael Tsai Reviewing in ATPM is open to anyone. If you're interested, write to us at

Reader Comments (2)

Glen Wade · November 5, 2004 - 03:31 EST #1
I own/owned Ontrack's Uninstall 2.0 that I got from Aladdin about 2 years ago. Recently my computer crashed and I had no choice but to reformat my disk and lose my original copy of the Unistall 2.0. Yes, I know I am really stupid for not copying it to a duplicate disk.
Is there any way to get a copy of that program? It had the stuff that worked for me.
Please help me return to my workable files.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · November 5, 2004 - 12:03 EST #2
Glen - ATPM won't be able to provide methods to download another copy because we can't (and won't) confirm the legalities of doing so. The two best options I can advise is to search for a copy being sold by an online vendor (including, but not limited to, eBay) or contact Ontrack directly to see if they can assist.

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