With Windows I know all the maintenance things. I use O&O Defrag for making disks faster, Chkdsk for fixing errors, with the Mac, it is a different world. http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html#Anchor-57343 has a good list of things to be done.
# Repair permission is something you can do with /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility and you can also do a disk check, although this is normally not available on my MacBook Pro for some reason.
# Clean caches (a la the Windows, delete unnecessary files) can be done with freeware Cache Out X at http://www.nonamescriptware.com/forums/index.php?act=Downloads and you syould also clean out application caches as well manually at http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20060111202501460 which are at ~/Library/Caches (by the way ~ is a unix expression that OS X uses that mean “My Documents”
# Mac OS X has the equivalent of a registry called Preferences. You fix with with a freeware utility at http://homepage.mac.com/jonn8/as/
# The equivalent of Windows safe mode is called Safe Boot. You get it by holding down the shift key when you turn on your Mac. See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106214
# For disk defragging, is should help, but there isn’t anything available yet for the new Intel-based Macs
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