TechTool Lite 3.0.1, by MicroMat
Posted: 20-Jan-2002

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Author: MicroMat Type: FREEWARE

Reviewer: Jim Melton Class: UTILITY

TechTool Lite is a freeware version of MicroMat's system utility TechTool Pro. This version is a substantial overhaul of the user interface to make it more consistent with the commercial product.

TechTool Lite provides an easy to use interface to repair or rebuild your desktop files, to zap PRAM, and to check the integrity of critical system files. It is not as full-featured as the commercial version (no surprise there), but what it does do, it does well.

TechTool Lite includes a number of test "panels" that allow you to evaluate various facets of your system, including: Desktop, PRAM, File Lab, Information, Floppy, and System Files. The on-line help fully explains the functioning of each panel as well as why you would want to use it. TechTool Lite's repair functions (desktop rebuild and PRAM zap) are more complete than Apple's own techniques.

The Desktop panel provides options to save/restore your desktop database (deprecated, but perhaps useful in a few situations) as well as options to completely rebuild the desktop and a new feature to analyze/repair the desktop database.

The PRAM panel includes tests to validate the integrity of your PRAM as well as zap and save/restore options. Additional validity tests are included in the Pro version.

The System Files panel performs validity checking on the System and Finder files (other files are tested in the Pro version). A failure in this test is a good indication that a clean install is warranted. Unfortunately, this feature did not work for me (TechTool Lite reported "System unavailable" and "Finder unavailable").

The File Lab panel provides direct access to all the Finder information. The most obvious use of this feature is to change the owner (creator) and type of a file, although all other attributes, including date and time of creation, are editable.

The Information panel is similar to Apple's System Profiler, reporting on the hardware and software configuration of your Mac.

The Floppy panel provides a simple test interface for those of us with Macs old enough to have floppies. The best feature of this panel is the cleaning option. Designed to work with a commercial cleaning kit, TechTool Lite steps the drive head over the cleaner for even and thorough cleaning.

Often, Macintosh troubleshooting is more a matter of urban legend (did you rebuild your desktop, zap your PRAM, do a clean install?) rather than an understood process. TechTool Lite helps demystify some of these elements. It should definitely be a part of your maintenance toolkit.


Cons: Can you downgrade a lite version for lacking features?

Rating: 5 mice


Can you downgrade a lite version for lacking features?

Rating: 5 mice


  • Comprehensive desktop rebuild
  • Comprehensive PRAM zap
  • Complete file Finder-info edit


  • Experienced problems with System and Finder validity checking

Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice