Mechanic by Bitdefender helps Mac users improve performance, stability and privacy

For relative newcomers to the Mac, the need to delve behind the scenes using an array of powerful tools and the command-line Terminal can be quite daunting. There are a number of useful tools such as TinkerTool that give power users easier access to a range of system features, but what about less experienced users?

It seems Bitdefender -- better known for its range of security products -- has come up with a solution, with its new free app for Lion and Mountain Lion users in the form of Mechanic by Bitdefender 1.1.

Mechanic comes with four different tools: Free Memory, Privacy, Stability and Advice. Free Memory aims to reclaim wasted physical RAM to speed up performance, but claims to be tamper-proof by only offering users the option when it will actually have an effect. Seeing as most memory cleaning apps are little more than snake oil, this may actually make it worthy of occasional use, particularly on low-memory machines.

The Privacy module requires permission to access your System folder in order to root out potentially incriminating information. Its results are divided into categories covering browsers, the system itself and other apps -- expand one to reveal more details via the Inspect button next to each result. You can also delete unwanted entries from here.

The Stability component simply provides a convenient screen for reviewing all the application crashes recorded by OS X, with particularly unstable applications listed at the top. There’s no other functionality here -- if you want to remove an unstable app, you’ll need to do so manually. Visit the program’s website first though to see if there’s an update or a means of contacting the developer.

The final component -- Advice -- scans your system for outdated components that present a possible security risk, complete with instructions for obtaining and installing the required update.

All in all, then, a disparate collection of tools that could prove useful to some users, while others may feel frustrated at the lack of depth or breadth provided. We suspect that if interest is strong enough then Bitdefender might develop Mechanic further, although whether it remains free or not is open to question.

In the meantime, however, Mechanic by Bitdefender 1.1 is available as a free download for 64-bit Macs running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later.

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