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Cocktail 4.0 review

Verdict:

Review Date: 29 Nov 2007

Price when reviewed: (about £7.50) for single user; up to $699 (about £339) for worldwide global licence

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

Cocktail is an apt name for this general system-maintenance application, which has been updated for Leopard. If there's a system task that isn't in Cocktail's extensive feature set, it's probably not worth doing.

Cocktail is for people who want to tweak their system without using the Terminal command line. Instead of typing obscure Unix commands, you can tweak your Mac using simple buttons and sliders.

The list of tweakable stuff is impressive. Cocktail can maintain your disks, enable or disable journaling and control your Mac's Sudden Motion Sensor (if it has one). It can clear all sorts of files, caches and logs, re-jig network settings, modify various hidden defaults, switch on Spotlight and more. You name it, Cocktail can probably do it.

It can install a new system-wide preference pane for managing compressed file archives. Among the many interface tweaks on offer is the option to force the Dock to use the plainer side-style presentation when placed at the bottom of the screen, and to display transparent icons for hidden apps. The Pilot mode makes things easier still. One click and it does all the essential maintenance your Mac needs. Activate the schedule, and it repeats that job whenever you ask it to.

The most appealing thing about Cocktail is that it has something for everyone. The casual home user needs a well-maintained system as much as the professional sysadmin. Cocktail's pricing is well-chosen and good value for both.

This new release doesn't bring a lot of new features. The most important is Leopard compatibility, and for many Cocktail users that's reason enough to get a copy. There are also a handful of bug fixes and 14 Automator actions that offer more scope for personalisation. Last time we reviewed Cocktail we called it a gem. The sparkle hasn't faded from it yet.

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