Despite your best efforts, your Mac is running a bit slow. A slow working computer is a problem faced by almost all of us at some point of time or the other, and can really be very frustrating when you’re trying to do some important work. Hard disk space is filling up fast and applications are getting sluggish. Don’t worry too much, it happens to everyone. There are some basic things you can do that might help reclaim disk space, remove some clutter and generally speed up your Mac.
One of the best ways to speed up any aging computer is upgrade the hardware, so invest in a larger hard drive or more RAM if you want to make an old machine feel younger and more agile. Some machines, such as the Mac Mini, adding memory or a new hard drive amounts to performing the equivalent of open-heart surgery. Best to have a pro do it. Following are a few easy things which you can do on your end and can see some improvement.
1. Hard Disk space: Sometimes when your hard drive gets too full drive it can slow down your Mac considerably. But don’t start deleting your important data yet – here are a few things you may not know about that eat up space on your Mac drive.
- Take a hard look at your applications folder– you can always free up a little space by delete some of those unused shareware apps.
- Delete unused language packs– You probably aren’t using the Farsi language localization on your machine. Even if you are, then you can probably still get rid of French or German.
- Know what you’re storing– Download Disk Inventory X (alternatives: Grand Perspective or Where’s The Free Space), which will give you a nice graphical overview of what is using space on your drive. If it is indeed those precious family photos, consider moving them off to a USB or Firewire external drive. Or burn them to DVDs.
2. Speed Up Slow Applications: Biggest reason for mac being slow is the applications running on their Mac. Here are a few common culprits.
- Safari — Safari is fast and lightweight, but it can get bogged down if your browsing history is excessively large or if Safari is storing a ton of Autofill entries. One easy way to reset nearly everything at once is to select Safari > Reset Safari in the application menu, which will clear all your caches.
- Dashboard — Dashboard widgets are handy tools, but they eat up RAM — sometimes even when you aren’t using them. This leaves less RAM available for the applications you actually are using. Head into your Applications Folder, select the Utilities Folder and look for Activity Monitor. Activity monitor is a great way to see what applications are using the most memory. If you see a lot of Dashboard widgets high up on the list, consider disabling them.
- Firefox — If you’re using versions 2.x or 1.x of Mozilla Firefox, you’ve probably noticed that the browser tends to take it’s sweet time after it’s been running for a while. Try uninstalling any unnecessary extensions. Reducing the add-ons you’re running to about 3 or 4 will speed up most installations. Your best bet is switching to the latest version of Firefox 3.5, which shows substantial speed improvements over its predecessors.
- Universal binaries — If you’re using an Intel Mac, make sure that all your applications are universal binaries. Older software compiled to run on PowerPC machines will be noticeably slower on Intel machines. If there’s an upgrade available, download it and run it instead.
Now a few more General System Tips to improve system’s speed
- Restart your Mac very often: A Mac running OS X can go on for a good long time. If you enter ‘uptime’ in launch terminal, you can see how long it has been since the last reboot. When you restart, a lot of useless stuff will be flushed out and will increase speed.
- Reset PRAM: After shutting down the computer, wait for 30 seconds before turning it on. Immediately after that, hold down Control + Option + P + R, instead of the usual boot, you can see the screen light up, and play the Mac chime. When this is done thrice, release the keys. The computer will boot up.
- Clean Out Your Start-up Items — If your Mac is slow starting up, open your System Preferences and click accounts. Select your username and see what’s listed in the start-up items. Sometime applications will inject themselves here without asking (or even if they asked, you may not want them anymore). Getting rid of some start-up items can speed up your boot time.
- Clean Up Your Desktop — If your desktop is covered with dozens or even hundreds of icons, you may see your performance suffer. Mac OS X treats each desktop icon as its own window, which incurs a small memory hit. For most people this won’t be an issue, but if you have hundreds of icons, it might help to move them off to another location.
- Fonts — although they won’t produce a huge performance gain, getting rid of any corrupt fonts will make your Mac more stable. Open up Font Book, select all the fonts in the Font list and choose File >> Validate Fonts. Font Book will open a new window with icons to show font’s status. If a font is corrupt, select it and click on the Remove Checked button. Font Book can’t actually repair corrupt fonts, for that you’ll need a commercial utility like FontAgent Pro ($100).
- MacKeeper’s Wise Uninstaller: Most of us do not use at least 30% of apps installed on our Macs. However, even if you drag these apps to the Trash, their add-ons widgets, preference panes, and plug-ins will remain on your hard drive. Unlike the Trash, MacKeeper’s Wise Uninstaller will completely remove your applications together with their components which you can view separately for each app.
- Check your Activity Monitor: From Applications/Utilities, launch Activity Monitor, select My Processes, and click on % CPU. The items at the top of your list (say the first 10) are the ones taking up your CPU time and effort. If they are not urgent, you can close them and direct the CPU’s attention to what you need to do. Again, you can close down the applications which are not required for the work you are doing at the moment and are running in the background.
but sometimes your computer is taking longer to boot because your hard drive is about to crash to always run a hard drive health check first and When in doubt contact Stellar Phoenix Solutions.
- Call us at 1 855 BY STELLAR (297 8355) or click here to complete a service request form.
- You may also visit their website directly to learn more about our capabilities
- 10 Terminal Commands That Every Mac User Should Know (mac.tutsplus.com)
- How To Securely Wipe A Hard Drive [Mac OS X] (makeuseof.com)
- How to Prepare Your Mac for Mountain Lion (lifehacker.com)