There are two types of people in the world: those who tinker with cars, and those who go ‘Argh!’ when their car strangely breaks down after years of neglect. Like cars, Macs are complex beasts, but most users avoid performing maintenance tasks, not least because of the perceived necessity to use arcane command-line tools.

Cocktail provides a friendly face to tasks that usually require a trip to Terminal, offering an interface among the best of any Mac utility. Tasks are divided into five sections, enabling you to rapidly amend disk and system settings, tweak network settings, trash logs and cache files, and mess about with a few aspects of Mac OS X’s interface, such as sheets, the Dock, and hidden features and menu items.

Direct manipulation of files is also something Cocktail can assist with. Several tabs within the Files section provide a drawer, onto which you drop items from Finder, enabling you to delete DS Store files (including those from sub-folders) and locked items, and to create symbolic links.

Over to the pilot...

And for those who can’t even be bothered traipsing through Cocktail’s gorgeous interface, the app’s Pilot section provides single-pane access to the most important tasks, along with a basic scheduler, enabling you to run maintenance scripts, repair disk permissions and clear log files daily or weekly as and when required. (And you barely notice Cocktail working away in the background.)

While other tools out there do much the same thing (TinkerTool System, Onyx), none do it quite as well as Cocktail. It’s worth considering even over its cheaper rivals.