How to make your Mac fast again!

Published Thursday, December 17, 2009 3:03 PM

People are always asking me how do I make my Mac faster like it was when I bought it? The answer to that question is often times a little bit more complicated than most people want to hear. So I offer a couple easy things you can do to make you and your Mac happier and faster.

Let's do a Little Spring Cleaning!

 So if you want to make your Mac happy and fast again make sure you have plenty of space to play with. You computer uses what's called virtual memory that needs hard drive space to store temporary files for processing. If you are maxing out on hard drive space you might be headed for a crash. So go through all your files and delete things you don't need like applications you don't use or old video project files that take up space. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have at least 10% - 20% of your hard drive free.

Apply Some Elbow Grease  

 Okay so your hard drive has some wiggle room so now it's time to make your drive sparkle. There are some processes you can do to make sure that the structure and file permissions are what they should be.  For that you can use the disk utility to verify and repair your hard drive and your file permissions. You can also use an application called Onyx that can do those functions as well as others like running a hard drive diagnostic to ensure your hard drive is healthy. Onyx can also delete caches and logs that most people don't use anyway to free up space and to force applications make new ones. This can sometimes speed up your boot time for the OS as well as applications if the caches and or logs were corrupted to begin with.

About Your Usage

Okay so you we have room on the drive and it's clean now let's talk about how we use our computer. It makes sense that your computer get's slower the longer you have it because you install more and more junk onto it. At some point you will realize that you can't run all your applications at once because your computer just isn't fast enough. What about all those processes running in the background? I have several apps that run in the background that can take up a lot of memory if I let them. Applications that provide shortcuts or stream media to my Xbox are some examples. All these and more run all the time slowly eating away at your RAM and will slow you down. So pick which ones you want to run and ditch the others. You can control what applications run on startup by going to the System Preferences >> Accounts >> Login Items. Select the application you don't want to start at login and hit the minus button. Some applications will automatically add themselves to this list when you launch them. You can find the setting in their preferences so when you take them off the list the app will not add themselves back again.

Watch the Stats

It's great to leave your applications open so you don't have to relaunch them to open a file in them, but this takes up memory. You can gauge how hard you are running your computer by looking at the Activity Monitor. At the bottom of the window you will see a color coded pie chart that shows you your memory consumption. If the chart is almost all yellow with little green or blue you are out of memory and your computer might be running slowly. You can sort the list of processes by memory consumption to find which application is using all your memory. When you study the activity monitor you can find out how much memory an application uses, which may allow you to adjust which applications are open at what time.  For example if I was going to run more than one adobe application at the same time on my computer I would close others to save memory. I also might discover that an application that runs all the time takes up a lot of memory and I might choose to only open it when really need it.

Wrapping it up

Okay so these tips are more like good habits that you should try and do on a regular bases. I know that I have been trying to keep to this and it seems to keep my computer happy. So keep your computer happy and until next time happy computing and thanks for reading.
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