Main Menu is a menubar application that runs a lot of those system maintenance tasks that anal retentive geeks like myself love to do. While traditionally a free application, developer, Dare to be Creative, recently released a paid version 2.0.
The new release includes some improved functionality, an informative system menu icon, a cleaner drop down interface, and Growl notification.
The Main Menu interface all drops down from its Menu Bar icon. On the first click it presents a list of categories including things like “System”, “Network”, and “Utility.” Upon clicking any one of these tasks, a separate list of commands slides out allowing you to perform the requested maintenance with one additional click. The list is exhaustive. Indeed perhaps too exhaustive including cache cleaning, flushing the DNS cache, and other computer tasks that mere mortals should be very careful about. Cleaning your system cache every week, for instance, would more likely slow your Mac down than speed it up.
Regardless, using this application I was able to easily rebuild my spotlight index, run my daily/monthly maintenance scripts, and secure empty my trash from the menu bar. The real beauty of Main Menu is its simplicity. It also has tabs to force quit an application, repair drives, and a variety of other tasks which normally require some degree of drilling into your Mac or (gasp) Terminal mumbo-jumbo.
There are also are several commands that, while not really system maintenance, are very handy to have easy access in the menu bar such as displaying invisible files, relaunching the dock, menu bar, and finder, and the Tim Verpoorten function that kills the dashboard.
Another feature that is impressive is batch tasks. Using this you can bunch your most common tasks into a batch to be run automatically. You can save your favorite batches allowing you to do routine maintenance even faster. This would be nice if you wanted to set up a series of maintenance tasks. Strangely it does not have a scriptable system shutdown which is what I would want to do after running such a script.
Using Main Menu (wisely) you can easily help your Mac run clean and mean.
While probably unfair, you can’t help but compare this application to other Mac system utility applications such as the $15 Cocktail or the free Onyx. These applications offer more of a dedicated application experience and offer more functions, tweaks, and twists than the $20 Main Menu does. Main Menu’s selling point is its simplicity. It is always present on your menu bar and system tasks are just a few clicks away. I think the batch task tool is also very intuitive and a definite plus for users.
This was a no brainer when it was free. It is still worthy of consideration at $20. The purpose of all of these system applications is to, essentially, put a pretty face and easy interface over the terminal commands and buried menus of OS X. Main Menu succeeds in doing this. You certainly could get by without any of these system utilities but probably would not want to. Whether Main Menu is the right system utility for you is up to you. It certainly should be a contender. I recommend you take the 15 day trial and decide for yourself.
The good news is that for a few lucky listeners, Main Menu is still free. The developer has kindly agreed to give away a handful of licenses. If you would like to be entered in the contest, simply send me an e-mail with the words “Main Menu Contest” in the subject line. Just one entry per person please. There will be a drawing next week. Good luck!
You can listen to this review on the Surfbit’s MacReviewCast.