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Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Additional file recovery tools appear in Apple's Leopard

Developers testing the latest pre-release builds of Apple Computer's forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system have discovered some new file recovery tools and other interface tweaks not apparent from previous reports.

File Recovery

In particular, a forum post points to a "File Recovery" panel that turned up in a new version of Apple's Disk Utility expected to ship with the new system software. It includes presets for iTunes, iMovie and iPhoto file types, and also offers a "Custom" option to aid in recovery of files from additional applications.

"File recovery works best on disks whose files are not heavily fragmented and have not been overwritten by new files," reads a message in the new panel. "File Recovery will not be able to recover files that have been Secure Erased."

The Disk Utility function is likely a tie-in to Apple's Time Machine application, which will offer Leopard users automatic backups of their data files and application histories.

Spotlight enhancements

Meanwhile, some additional Spotlight features have surfaced, though they are not necessarily new to latest builds of Leopard. They include the ability to perform math algorithms from the Spotlight search pane (without having to launch Apple's Calculator application). Additionally, Spotlight now searches for word definitions by interfacing with the Mac OS X Dictionary application.

Firewall changes and new UI elements

Over in the System Preferences panel, Apple is reported to have relocated the Mac OS X Firewall preferences to the "Security" preference pane from "Sharing" pane.

The redesigned Firewall pane is reminiscent of the third party application Little Snitch and similarly alerts users via a pop-up dialog when an external machine attempts to access a service.

Also in the latest builds of Leopard, Apple has begun to allow developers access to a variety of new user interface controls. Some of those controls, which first appeared in applications that shipped with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, include capsule shaped buttons and segmented button controls.

All of the new controls are said to support resolution independence, another feature expected in Leopard.