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Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 11:57 AM
I'm having way too much fun with my iMac, and there are hundreds of apps and demos I like to try. Some I keep. Some I toss. However, I've got quite a stack of them installed, and many more to try. In the "Windows world", installing all these apps, even if uninstalled after, would cause the system to get slower and slower and slower... until finally you format the drive and re-install Windows to get some performance back.

Supposedly Macs don't have that issue, but I'm just wanting to confirm that this is the case. My iMac is running so well, and I don't want to compromise that in any way. Does it make no difference what all I install and/or uninstall? I'm using App Zapper when I uninstall to cleanup the extra files. OSX doesn't have a "registry", so I know that won't become a problem. Will OSX get slower, the more apps that are installed? Thanks.



Woodcrest64
May 31, 2013, 11:59 AM
I'm having way too much fun with my iMac, and there are hundreds of apps and demos I like to try. Some I keep. Some I toss. However, I've got quite a stack of them installed, and many more to try. In the "Windows world", installing all these apps, even if uninstalled after, would cause the system to get slower and slower and slower... until finally you format the drive and re-install Windows to get some performance back.

Supposedly Macs don't have that issue, but I'm just wanting to confirm that this is the case. My iMac is running so well, and I don't want to compromise that in any way. Does it make no difference what all I install and/or uninstall? I'm using App Zapper when I uninstall to cleanup the extra files. OSX doesn't have a "registry", so I know that won't become a problem. Will OSX get slower, the more apps that are installed? Thanks.

Well if you have a standard hard drive then yes. If you have an iMac with a SSD then it should technically be as fast as the day you got it.

Weaselboy
May 31, 2013, 12:02 PM
I'm having way too much fun with my iMac, and there are hundreds of apps and demos I like to try. Some I keep. Some I toss. However, I've got quite a stack of them installed, and many more to try. In the "Windows world", installing all these apps, even if uninstalled after, would cause the system to get slower and slower and slower... until finally you format the drive and re-install Windows to get some performance back.

Supposedly Macs don't have that issue, but I'm just wanting to confirm that this is the case. My iMac is running so well, and I don't want to compromise that in any way. Does it make no difference what all I install and/or uninstall? I'm using App Zapper when I uninstall to cleanup the extra files. OSX doesn't have a "registry", so I know that won't become a problem. Will OSX get slower, the more apps that are installed? Thanks.

No it won't. The only time this can become an issue is if you have installed so many apps the drive is almost full. When drives get close to full it can slow them down a bit.

GGJstudios
May 31, 2013, 12:13 PM
The performance of your Mac is not determined by how many apps you have installed or what you have stored on your hard drive, unless you're running out of disc space. The only effect on performance that apps have are those that are running at any point in time.

As far as AppZapper is concerned, if you elect to use such apps, be aware that in most cases, app removal software doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=12527023&postcount=6) and this (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=14595541&postcount=21). If you just want to delete the app, drag the .app file to the trash. No other software needed. If you want to completely remove all associated files/folders, no removal apps will do the job. The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion: Best way to FULLY DELETE a program (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=11171082&postcount=16)

If you're having performance issues, this may help: Performance Tips For Mac OS X (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13817005&postcount=2)

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 12:19 PM
Well if you have a standard hard drive then yes. If you have an iMac with a SSD then it should technically be as fast as the day you got it.

I have OSX installed on an internal 256GB SSD. About 75% of the space on that drive is free. My "data" drive (where everything else is) is a Thunderbolt connected Promise Pegasus RAID box with 12 TB in RAID 5 and several terrabytes free. I can copy a 4GB file onto the box and back off of it in 15 - 20 seconds (i.e. it's extremely fast). Therefore, I would assume that my hardware won't be an issue... and you're saying the OS won't care how many .app files are on it (assuming space is not an issue)?

GGJstudios
May 31, 2013, 12:23 PM
I have OSX installed on an internal 256GB SSD. About 75% of the space on that drive is free. My "data" drive (where everything else is) is a Thunderbolt connected Promise Pegasus RAID box with 12 TB in RAID 5 and several terrabytes free. I can copy a 4GB file onto the box and back off of it in 15 - 20 seconds (i.e. it's extremely fast). Therefore, I would assume that my hardware won't be an issue... and you're saying the OS won't care how many .app files are on it (assuming space is not an issue)?
The first response in this thread is false. Whether you have a HDD or SSD, performance will not be impacted by simply installing apps. Performance is only affected by apps that are running.

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 12:23 PM
The performance of your Mac is not determined by how many apps you have installed or what you have stored on your hard drive, unless you're running out of disc space. The only effect on performance that apps have are those that are running at any point in time.

That's the answer I was hoping for. But you understand what I mean, right? It sounds obvious, but this problem does exist in Windows. The registry get's bloated, drivers get overwritten, files get installed everywhere, and the system gets slower and less stable the more you install. I've seen it happen many times. I was just looking for "re-assurance" that this doesn't happen in OSX. I'm not experiencing any performance issues whatsoever, at the moment. Just want to make sure I keep it that way :)

GGJstudios
May 31, 2013, 12:25 PM
That's the answer I was hoping for. But you understand what I mean, right? It sounds obvious, but this problem does exist in Windows. The registry get's bloated, drivers get overwritten, files get installed everywhere, and the system gets slower and less stable the more you install. I've seen it happen many times. I was just looking for "re-assurance" that this doesn't happen in OSX. I'm not experiencing any performance issues whatsoever, at the moment. Just want to make sure I keep it that way :)

I understand what you mean, but there is no registry in OS X. My five-year-old MacBook Pro runs as fast today as it did the day I opened it.

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 12:37 PM
I understand what you mean, but there is no registry in OS X. My five-year-old MacBook Pro runs as fast today as it did the day I opened it.

Ya just gotta love that! :D

I had started thinking that if it was like Windows and I'd have to wipe out and re-install OSX every year, the OS re-install wouldn't be a problem, but it would sure be a pain getting all the apps installed and re-configured the way I have them now. Sounds like it will run for quite a while before I have to worry about that. Thanks for the info.

Weaselboy
May 31, 2013, 12:39 PM
That's the answer I was hoping for. But you understand what I mean, right? It sounds obvious, but this problem does exist in Windows. The registry get's bloated, drivers get overwritten, files get installed everywhere, and the system gets slower and less stable the more you install. I've seen it happen many times. I was just looking for "re-assurance" that this doesn't happen in OSX. I'm not experiencing any performance issues whatsoever, at the moment. Just want to make sure I keep it that way :)

OS X does not have a central "registry" in the way Windows does. Most apps will install the app itself in your Applications folder, then often there is a cache or app settings folder in your user ~/Library folder and then also a .plist file is normally placed in ~/Library/Preferences. This .plist file is the closest to what the Windows registry does, but since there is a separate .plist file for every application even if one gets corrupted it does not impact the others.

One thing you may want to be careful about though is apps that "launch at login." Usually you will get a question at install or first launch if you want the app to launch on its own in the future. Pay attention to this as it can cause issues if you have a ton of utility apps launching on their own, particularly if they perform similar functions.

Let me give you an example. I use a utility called Display Maid that auto resizes app windows based on which display I am using. So if I attach my 13" Macbook Air to my 27" Thunderbolt display all the windows pop up to a larger size to fit the 27" display. I have Display Maid set to launch at login. Recently I have been looking at an app called Moom that (among other things) also will auto resize the windows. If I forgot to disable launch at login for Display Maid while testing Moom... neither app would work and I would have a bad day. So you just need to be aware of what you have auto launching and apps do not overlap in function and cause problems by both running at once.

thejadedmonkey
May 31, 2013, 12:41 PM
Applecare told me that my hard drive was failing, due to extremely slow load times. I told them it wasn't, and it was taking a long time to load the OS due to the number of applications installed which run at startup and the age of the OS. They told me that my hard drive was failing, and it needed to be replaced. I respectfully declined, and 5 years later the HDD still works perfectly.

Lesson learned: OS X suffers from OS rot just as much as Windows - really, compare a fresh OS X install to one that's 5 years old on the same hardware. OS X takes steps to prevent it, such as using SSD and Fusion drives, any apps from the app store must follow restrictions that make uninstalling easier, etc... but it exists. And to deny its existence would be incorrect.

talmy
May 31, 2013, 12:47 PM
I had started thinking that if it was like Windows and I'd have to wipe out and re-install OSX every year, the OS re-install wouldn't be a problem, but it would sure be a pain getting all the apps installed and re-configured the way I have them now. Sounds like it will run for quite a while before I have to worry about that. Thanks for the info.

I've never wiped and reinstalled OS X. However I have had my main hard drive fail. In that case I install a new drive and recover by copying a cloned backup to the new drive. In other words, it's a new drive, but still the original OS installation!

sjinsjca
May 31, 2013, 12:49 PM
For OS X, I'd say it depends on how full your disk gets. If you have a mechanical hard disk and stuff it very full of apps and their data, access times can slow down quite a bit. Otherwise, fragmentation isn't much of an issue on OS X, so your disk would have to be very full (say, more than 85% of capacity) for this to be an issue.

Otherwise, as others have pointed out, OS X is not burdened with Windows' awful registry architecture, which works fine for moderate usage but contributes significantly to fragility and "bit rot" as Windows machines become heavily used and/or are subjected to lots of application installs, changes and updates. Plus, registry issues are difficult to unravel and fix, leading to more frequent (and more disruptive) OS reinstalls that necessitate reinstallation of all software from scratch. OS X has none of that nonsense.

There's another thing which is universal across platforms and hasn't yet been directly mentioned: if the apps you're installing are the type that run in the background, festoon your task bar with indicators and so forth, then those can sap performance (and, in laptops, battery life) since they're loaded and consuming possible RAM, compute, disk I/O and networking resources. This includes great stuff like Dropbox and Backblaze, so my point is not to impugn backgrounded utilities but to point out that as you add them, you may at some point start to feel a difference in system responsiveness.

Some antivirus utilities (and Sophos, I'm lookin' at you) can cause surprising performance hits, so that would be another thing to mind.

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 12:52 PM
I've never wiped and reinstalled OS X. However I have had my main hard drive fail. In that case I install a new drive and recover by copying a cloned backup to the new drive. In other words, it's a new drive, but still the original OS installation!

Question about that...
I've have TimeMachine backing up everything on both my SSD (system) and RAID array (data) drives. If my system drive did bite the dust for some reason, can I rebuild it from the TimeMachine backup, or do I need to have some type of direct clone of the system drive?

SnowLeopard2008
May 31, 2013, 12:58 PM
Question about that...
I've have TimeMachine backing up everything on both my SSD (system) and RAID array (data) drives. If my system drive did bite the dust for some reason, can I rebuild it from the TimeMachine backup, or do I need to have some type of direct clone of the system drive?

You can reinstall the OS and during initial setup, there is an option to choose to use your Time Machine backup to move all your stuff back.

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 01:05 PM
Let me give you an example. I use a utility called Display Maid that auto resizes app windows based on which display I am using. So if I attach my 13" Macbook Air to my 27" Thunderbolt display all the windows pop up to a larger size to fit the 27" display. I have Display Maid set to launch at login. Recently I have been looking at an app called Moom that (among other things) also will auto resize the windows. If I forgot to disable launch at login for Display Maid while testing Moom... neither app would work and I would have a bad day. So you just need to be aware of what you have auto launching and apps do not overlap in function and cause problems by both running at once.

That should only be an issue with "auto-start" apps, though, right? In my case, I am trying out 10 different text editors to see which one I like. They don't seem to fight with each other at all. I also am trying out multiple utility apps. However, if they have the same purpose, I only run one at a time, and I shut down the others. From what I've seen, OSX has no problem with everything being installed. It could only be an issue if you have them all running at the same, such as with your start up example, or if I manually started them all.

----------

You can reinstall the OS and during initial setup, there is an option to choose to use your Time Machine backup to move all your stuff back.

Great! Thanks! ... and it will restore everything, including system settings, app preference settings, etc.?

Bear
May 31, 2013, 01:07 PM
Applecare told me that my hard drive was failing, due to extremely slow load times. I told them it wasn't, and it was taking a long time to load the OS due to the number of applications installed which run at startup and the age of the OS. They told me that my hard drive was failing, and it needed to be replaced. I respectfully declined, and 5 years later the HDD still works perfectly.

Lesson learned: OS X suffers from OS rot just as much as Windows - really, compare a fresh OS X install to one that's 5 years old on the same hardware. OS X takes steps to prevent it, such as using SSD and Fusion drives, any apps from the app store must follow restrictions that make uninstalling easier, etc... but it exists. And to deny its existence would be incorrect.That's not OS rot, that is you having too many things installed that run at startup.

Weaselboy
May 31, 2013, 01:29 PM
That should only be an issue with "auto-start" apps, though, right? In my case, I am trying out 10 different text editors to see which one I like. They don't seem to fight with each other at all. I also am trying out multiple utility apps. However, if they have the same purpose, I only run one at a time, and I shut down the others. From what I've seen, OSX has no problem with everything being installed. It could only be an issue if you have them all running at the same, such as with your start up example, or if I manually started them all.

Correct. What you are doing with the text editors for example would not be a problem.

Question about that...
I've have TimeMachine backing up everything on both my SSD (system) and RAID array (data) drives. If my system drive did bite the dust for some reason, can I rebuild it from the TimeMachine backup, or do I need to have some type of direct clone of the system drive?

You can restore the OS and all your apps and data directly from a Time Machine backup on an external disk. There is no need to reinstall the OS first.

Just option key boot and pick the TM drive as the boot source. That takes you to a recovery screen and from there you just click restore. You do not need a separate clone to do this.

Lastmboy
May 31, 2013, 01:38 PM
Thanks all, for taking the time to respond. I keep finding more things to like about my Mac every day :D

thejadedmonkey
May 31, 2013, 05:33 PM
That's not OS rot, that is you having too many things installed that run at startup.

Too many things that run at startup, too many programs on my machine, poor cache optimization... I don't see how that isn't the definition of OS rot?

Bear
May 31, 2013, 05:53 PM
Too many things that run at startup, too many programs on my machine, poor cache optimization... I don't see how that isn't the definition of OS rot?Too many programs isn't OS rot. OS rot is when the OS degrades without installing more software or when you actually remove software and the performance still gets worse and worse.

Too many things running at startup is an issue caused by the user installing stuff and not removing software that is no longer used.

Too many programs on the machine is pretty much the same user issue.

thejadedmonkey
May 31, 2013, 08:41 PM
Too many programs isn't OS rot. OS rot is when the OS degrades without installing more software or when you actually remove software and the performance still gets worse and worse.

Too many things running at startup is an issue caused by the user installing stuff and not removing software that is no longer used.

Too many programs on the machine is pretty much the same user issue.

An OS that can't handle having "too many" programs installed at once I would argue most definitely suffers from some form of rot. After all, what's the point of an OS but to run programs?

GGJstudios
May 31, 2013, 10:24 PM
An OS that can't handle having "too many" programs installed at once I would argue most definitely suffers from some form of rot. After all, what's the point of an OS but to run programs?
It makes no difference how many apps are installed. What matters is how many are running. Simply having apps installed has no effect on performance, unless those apps are running.

thejadedmonkey
May 31, 2013, 11:46 PM
Simply having apps installed has no effect on performance, unless those apps are running.

Or if the computer suffers from OS rot...

Woodcrest64
Jun 1, 2013, 09:19 AM
The first response in this thread is false. Whether you have a HDD or SSD, performance will not be impacted by simply installing apps. Performance is only affected by apps that are running.

If the original poster filled his/her hard drive to 90% with apps or media files you can bet it will slow down, not in terms of calculations for video rendering but when accessing apps or data. The reason for this is because on a hard drive when it starts to fill up the data gets closer to the outer edge of the drive which is far slower then then center. SSDs don't have this problem as they are not mechanical drives.

MisterMe
Jun 1, 2013, 09:46 AM
Or if the computer suffers from OS rot...OS rot is imaginary. Real Macs do not suffer from imaginary ailments.

thejadedmonkey
Jun 1, 2013, 11:17 AM
OS rot is imaginary. Real Macs do not suffer from imaginary ailments.

No, it's real. Apple just mitigates it well enough that you won't experience it too much. Constrain your mac with less RAM, no SSD, and see how much it slows from when it's new to 5 years in age.

benwiggy
Jun 1, 2013, 11:27 AM
To recap:
Having a full system disk (of any sort) is likely to impair performance. Having not enough RAM will impair performance.

However, for a disk that is within acceptable degree of fullness, the mere existence of applications on the disk will NOT diminish performance in any way.

Assuming an infinitely large disk, OS X has no limit to the number of installed applications, and an increasing number of applications will not affect the OS in any way.

There is also no reason why a 5-year-old Mac should behave any slower than it did when bought. I have run many Macs for many years without them becoming decrepit.

NT1440
Jun 1, 2013, 11:31 AM
Applecare told me that my hard drive was failing, due to extremely slow load times. I told them it wasn't, and it was taking a long time to load the OS due to the number of applications installed which run at startup and the age of the OS. They told me that my hard drive was failing, and it needed to be replaced. I respectfully declined, and 5 years later the HDD still works perfectly.

Lesson learned: OS X suffers from OS rot just as much as Windows - really, compare a fresh OS X install to one that's 5 years old on the same hardware. OS X takes steps to prevent it, such as using SSD and Fusion drives, any apps from the app store must follow restrictions that make uninstalling easier, etc... but it exists. And to deny its existence would be incorrect.

You just described in the underlined what the problem was, too many apps running at startup (which is as simple as disabling them in startup items). Windows has the same "issue" (aka user issues) for startup programs, but it also degrades over time with all the registry crap that has nothing to do with startup programs.

thejadedmonkey
Jun 1, 2013, 04:05 PM
You just described in the underlined what the problem was, too many apps running at startup (which is as simple as disabling them in startup items). Windows has the same "issue" (aka user issues) for startup programs, but it also degrades over time with all the registry crap that has nothing to do with startup programs.

If you read what you underlined, you would see this part as well.

the age of the OS

Fun fact: Windows 7 on an SSD and a limited number of startup programs doesn't suffer from a perceivable OS rot either.

GGJstudios
Jun 1, 2013, 09:55 PM
Or if the computer suffers from OS rot...

There is no such thing. The OS does not "rot" or decay or any such thing.

talmy
Jun 1, 2013, 10:32 PM
There is no such thing. The OS does not "rot" or decay or any such thing.

Come on! You've never heard of bit rot? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rot) :)

MisterMe
Jun 1, 2013, 11:48 PM
Come on! You've never heard of bit rot? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rot) :)If is unclear if you linked to the Wikipedia page as a joke. Whether you did or not, the Wikipedia page makes it clear that bit rot is a joke explanation for problems that have other causes. Often the repair for this mysterious bit rot is to restart the computer.

Oh, and another thing. Joke or not, bit rot is a RAM issue and has nothing to do with the hard drive.

thejadedmonkey
Jun 2, 2013, 12:01 AM
There is no such thing. The OS does not "rot" or decay or any such thing.

Tell that to my dad's iMac. He doesn't update his programs to newer versions that require more RAM, doesn't use much hard drive space, and yet his mac is slow as molasses. If OS X doesn't suffer from OS rot, what would cause that?

The only explanation I can come up with is that, over time, there's something that is or is not happening which causes the OS to slow. This is pretty much the definition of OS Rot IMO.

Oh, and another thing. Joke or not, bit rot is a RAM issue and has nothing to do with the hard drive.
The Wikipedia article specifically states "software bugs... bloatware, or disk fragmentation". Definitely not limited to a RAM issue.

GGJstudios
Jun 2, 2013, 10:38 AM
Tell that to my dad's iMac. He doesn't update his programs to newer versions that require more RAM, doesn't use much hard drive space, and yet his mac is slow as molasses. If OS X doesn't suffer from OS rot, what would cause that?

The only explanation I can come up with is that, over time, there's something that is or is not happening which causes the OS to slow.
An OS is nothing more than a collection of software programs, which cannot "rot" and will always do exactly what they are programmed to do.

While the programming could be altered, the primary cause of slower performance over time, barring hardware problems such as failing hard drives, is simply giving the system more work to do. Defragmentation is not a issue on OS X like it is on Windows. Lack of sufficient RAM to handle the workload or insufficient free drive space can certainly be factors. Other than those, it's a matter of increasing the workload on the system, which has nothing to do with fictitious "rot" or how many apps are installed.

Computers don't slow down. The CPU runs at the same speed, whether it's 1 or 5 years old. If it seems slower, it's only because you've given it more work to do by having more apps running or working with larger files.

Many users claim their Mac runs slower and claim they're not running more apps when they're simply unaware of all the processes they have running at one time. There are countless threads on this, where basic troubleshooting reveals more apps running or a runaway app that is affecting performance. If you have access to your dad's iMac, check Activity Monitor for processes that are consuming system resources. Rather than invent some fictitious explanation, some elementary troubleshooting is a more productive approach.

talmy
Jun 2, 2013, 11:26 AM
Come on! You've never heard of bit rot? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rot) :)

If is unclear if you linked to the Wikipedia page as a joke.

The :) should make it clear it was a joke.

Yahooligan
Jun 2, 2013, 03:30 PM
Computers don't slow down. The CPU runs at the same speed, whether it's 1 or 5 years old. If it seems slower, it's only because you've given it more work to do by having more apps running or working with larger files.


I'd also add perception as a common "problem." Take any computer, I don't care if it's a Mac or Windows PC, from 5+ years ago and run a fresh install of the original OS version on it. You'll swear it's slower than when it was brand-new. I still have a Powerbook G4 that works fine, but holy moly does it FEEL slow. Back when it was brand new it was plenty fast. So what changed? Perception.

printz
Jun 3, 2013, 01:29 AM
I had a MacBook for 4 years and I didn't experience any progressive slowdown whatsoever, at least not the kind that's noticeable. The system always boots at the same speed, starts up at the same speed, and only becomes slow when I have like 20 programs running. It only became suddenly slower when I upgraded OSX 10.6 to 10.7, so I had to revert.

Unfortunately it's possible the perceived Windows 'rot' is there because of the antivirus. You have it on all the time, and it grows up into some monster that makes every user action lag. I don't know if these days just practicing 'safe computing' is enough on Windows. Several years ago it was not enough, because of drive-by worm downloads. Windows is also slower after an update, as it has to spend a lot of time on the harddisk to save the new data before (or after…) it logs in, but I wouldn't call that 'rot'. Anyway what I noticed in Windows, but not on Linux and OSX, is the long time to wait after I log in, before the desktop becomes responsive.

Yamcha
Jun 3, 2013, 02:13 AM
I'm having way too much fun with my iMac, and there are hundreds of apps and demos I like to try. Some I keep. Some I toss. However, I've got quite a stack of them installed, and many more to try. In the "Windows world", installing all these apps, even if uninstalled after, would cause the system to get slower and slower and slower... until finally you format the drive and re-install Windows to get some performance back.

Supposedly Macs don't have that issue, but I'm just wanting to confirm that this is the case. My iMac is running so well, and I don't want to compromise that in any way. Does it make no difference what all I install and/or uninstall? I'm using App Zapper when I uninstall to cleanup the extra files. OSX doesn't have a "registry", so I know that won't become a problem. Will OSX get slower, the more apps that are installed? Thanks.

Nope, the amount of applications you have will not affect your performance, provided you don't have applications booting up on start up.

Make sure to remove all boot up applications in System Preferences>>Users & Groups>>Login Items. Click on the application and click the minus button to remove it..

crjackson2134
Jun 3, 2013, 01:45 PM
GGJstudios, you and a few others have incredible patients with this subject. It's a ridicules argument. The user who adamantly insists on having OS Rot, is determined to have it even though it doesn't exist. It seems that this person needs to study how NIX OS's actually work. I realize that for many, Windows is required due to software availability but it has given a black eye to all other OS's. I haven't used windows for many years, and I'm new to OSX, but being that it's a UNIX variant I'm at home.

Alrescha
Jun 3, 2013, 02:04 PM
The reason for this is because on a hard drive when it starts to fill up the data gets closer to the outer edge of the drive which is far slower then then center. SSDs don't have this problem as they are not mechanical drives.

In my plane of existence, the outside edge of a disc travels faster than the inside edge. Regardless, in modern drives the difference is not likely to be noticeable - even a full-stroke seek to a file is measured in single milliseconds.

A.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 02:10 PM
If the original poster filled his/her hard drive to 90% with apps or media files you can bet it will slow down, not in terms of calculations for video rendering but when accessing apps or data. The reason for this is because on a hard drive when it starts to fill up the data gets closer to the outer edge of the drive which is far slower then then center. SSDs don't have this problem as they are not mechanical drives.

That is also false. The location on the drive is irrelevant, and the difference in access speed from one location to another on a drive is so insignificant that it's not measurable. The reason performance suffers with an almost-full drive is there is less space available for paging, caching, log entries and app workspace. This is true for both HDDs and SSDs. As I said in my first response, "unless you're running out of disc space", which is not the case with the OP.

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 03:16 PM
That is also false. The location on the drive is irrelevant, and the difference in access speed from one location to another on a drive is so insignificant that it's not measurable. The reason performance suffers with an almost-full drive is there is less space available for paging, caching, log entries and app workspace. This is true for both HDDs and SSDs. As I said in my first response, "unless you're running out of disc space", which is not the case with the OP.

I have to disagree with the statement that the problem with an almost-full drive is related to space for paging, etc.

The problem is that as the drive gets full there is less contiguous space available for writing data. As a result, files become fragmented as they are broken up and written where space is available. This means that while you may be performing what you think is a sequential read or write it is actually causing the drive to perform like it's doing random reads and writes, slowing down disk I/O considerably.

I'm aware that OS X does batch writes so that smaller writes are grouped together to form larger writes, however the ability to do that lessens as the drive nears capacity.

Apple states this as well and has since archived this as I don't see how anything has changed.


If your disks are almost full, and you often modify or create large files (such as editing video, but see the Tip below if you use iMovie and Mac OS X 10.3), there's a chance the disks could be fragmented. In this case, you might benefit from defragmentation, which can be performed with some third-party disk utilities.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 03:18 PM
I have to disagree with the statement that the problem with an almost-full drive is related to space for paging, etc.

The problem is that as the drive gets full there is less contiguous space available for writing data. As a result, files become fragmented as they are broken up and written where space is available.

Apple states this as well as has since archived this as I don't see how anything has changed.
With very few exceptions, you don't need to defrag on OS X, except possibly when partitioning a drive. About disk optimization with Mac OS X (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375?viewlocale=en_US) You probably won't need to optimize at all if you use Mac OS X.

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 03:21 PM
With very few exceptions, you don't need to defrag on OS X, except possibly when partitioning a drive. About disk optimization with Mac OS X (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375?viewlocale=en_US)

Yes, one of those exceptions is when the drive nears capacity. You did read the actual KB article that you posted, right? Because that's the very same article that talks about disks nearing capacity as one case that could benefit from being defragmented. :cool:

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
Yes, one of those exceptions is when the drive nears capacity. You did read the actual KB article that you posted, right? Because that's the very same article that talks about disks nearing capacity as one case that could benefit from being defragmented. :cool:

Performance can suffer if the drive is near capacity, whether there is fragmentation or not, for the reasons already stated. Fragmentation may exacerbate the problem, but it's not the only reason why it's not advisable to let a drive run out of free space.

subsonix
Jun 3, 2013, 03:28 PM
I have to disagree with the statement that the problem with an almost-full drive is related to space for paging, etc.

The problem is that as the drive gets full there is less contiguous space available for writing data. As a result, files become fragmented as they are broken up and written where space is available. This means that while you may be performing what you think is a sequential read or write it is actually causing the drive to perform like it's doing random reads and writes, slowing down disk I/O considerably.


Even though HFS+ manages fragmentation on the fly, the ability to do so effectively decreases as the drive fill up. At the very least the management of free space becomes more involved.

Also, the outer edges of a mechanical disk is faster, and not by an insignificant amount. It's actively exploited by file systems.

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 03:30 PM
Performance can suffer if the drive is near capacity, whether there is fragmentation or not.

It's the fragmentation that causes the performance to suffer. If the drive were near capacity but not fragmented then there would be no performance hit other than the minimal amount incurred due to increased seek times, which you stated were insignificant. ;)

----------

Even though HFS+ manages fragmentation on the fly, the ability to do so effectively decreases as the drive fill up. At the very least the management of free space becomes more involved.

Also, the outer edges of a mechanical disk is faster, and not by an insignificant amount. It's actively exploited by file systems.

No argument there!

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 03:35 PM
It's the fragmentation that causes the performance to suffer. If the drive were near capacity but not fragmented then there would be no performance hit other than the minimal amount incurred due to increased seek times, which you stated were insignificant. ;)
That isn't true. If the drive is not fragmented, but there is not enough space for paging, caches, and app work space, performance will certainly suffer. Anyone who has run out of drive space has seen the error messageYour startup disk is almost full.
You need to make more space available on your startup disk by deleting files
Note that the message doesn't say "Your startup disk is fragmented. Please defragment your drive"

If your drive runs out of space, performance will not only suffer, your Mac will stop working altogether.

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 03:47 PM
That isn't true. If the drive is not fragmented, but there is not enough space for paging, caches, and app work space, performance will certainly suffer. Anyone who has run out of drive space has seen the error message
Note that the message doesn't say "Your startup disk is fragmented. Please defragment your drive"

If your drive runs out of space, performance will not only suffer, your Mac will stop working altogether.

Wow, really? You can't connect the dots on this one? Clearly you're set in your misunderstanding of why a nearly-full drive starts slowing down, we've tried to help fix that but you seem disinterested in learning WHY the drive slows down.

I don't care if your drive is only 5% full, if the OS starts paging to disk and actively having to page out then you're going to see horrible performance. The drive being nearly full has nothing to do with disk-bound app performance related to not enough memory. Excessive page outs mean you don't have enough memory for your workload and you're having to use disk as memory. Yes, performance will suffer more if the drive is nearly full but that is because those page ins are being fragmented.

So, let's wrap this up.

Excessive memory pags-outs from disk = Horrible performance due to not enough physical memory. Will suck regardless of drive being full or not. Will suck more when the drive is nearly full due to fragmentation.

Drive nearly full = poor disk I/O due to writes being fragmented in order to fit in the remaining, smaller contiguous areas available on the drive.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 04:02 PM
Excessive memory pags-outs from disk = Horrible performance due to not enough physical memory. Will suck regardless of drive being full or not. Will suck more when the drive is nearly full due to fragmentation.

Drive nearly full = poor disk I/O due to writes being fragmented in order to fit in the remaining, smaller contiguous areas available on the drive.
You're missing the obvious fact that if there is no free drive space available for a page out, or for Safari to download to a cache or for the OS or other apps to use, performance will suffer, even if there is zero fragmentation. In most cases, fragmentation is not a major factor in OS X performance. Stop thinking Windows and start thinking Mac.

subsonix
Jun 3, 2013, 04:13 PM
You're missing the obvious fact that if there is no free drive space available for a page out, or for Safari to download to a cache or for the OS or other apps to use, performance will suffer, even if there is zero fragmentation.

The drive being completely full is a different matter though to be honest.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 04:16 PM
The drive being completely full is a different matter though to be honest.
Whether it's almost full or completely full, the same factors are true.

subsonix
Jun 3, 2013, 04:20 PM
Whether it's almost full or completely full, the same factors are true.

No. If it's completely full it will be impossible to fit swap files, caches and temporary storage for application (or anything else for that matter).

The factors related to decreased performance as a function of free space is are different.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 04:28 PM
No. If it's completely full it will be impossible to fit swap files, caches and temporary storage for application (or anything else for that matter).

The factors related to decreased performance as a function of free space is are different.
No, it's not different. When there is insufficient drive space available, performance can suffer, even if there is zero fragmentation present. The same scenario is true for having no space available; except performance not only suffers, but stops completely, as I said. The point is, performance can be diminished due to insufficient free drive space available, with or without fragmentation present. These are facts, not opinions.

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 04:35 PM
No, it's not different. When there is insufficient drive space available, performance can suffer, even if there is zero fragmentation present. The same scenario is true for having no space available; except performance not only suffers, but stops completely, as I said. The point is, performance can be diminished due to insufficient free drive space available, with or without fragmentation present. These are facts, not opinions.

Your opinion on this fact is, in fact, incorrect. I don't do Windows, what I discuss has nothing to do with Windows and everything to do with how data is written to disk and how VM is managed.

The fact that you think a nearly-full (Not full) disk that isn't fragmented will suffer from degraded performance that's not due to fragmentation, yet can't explain WHY you think performance will suffer if it's not fragmentation, shows that you don't actually understand the underlying systems and how they work or interact.

The reason for noticeable performance hits with nearly-full disks is due to fragmentation, whether it's file data fragmentation or VM/swap fragmentation and page in/out, it's still fragmentation. If there were no fragmentation problems then a nearly-full drive would perform similar to a nearly-empty drive. Additionally, as has been mentioned, a completely full drive causes a completely different set of problems than a nearly-full drive. And again, the fact that you don't understand this shows that you don't understand what is really going on. Sorry.

subsonix
Jun 3, 2013, 04:35 PM
No, it's not different. When there is insufficient drive space available, performance can suffer, even if there is zero fragmentation present.

And why is this?

The reason is not that there is no space available.


The same scenario is true for having no space available; except performance not only suffers, but stops completely, as I said.

It's not the same scenario.

With no space available, it just wont fit.

If it fits, albeit barely, why is it slower.


The point is, performance can be diminished due to insufficient free drive space available, with or without fragmentation present. These are facts, not opinions.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with this.

GGJstudios
Jun 3, 2013, 04:46 PM
The fact that you think a nearly-full (Not full) disk that isn't fragmented will suffer from degraded performance that's not due to fragmentation, yet can't explain WHY you think performance will suffer if it's not fragmentation, shows that you don't actually understand the underlying systems and how they work or interact.
I understand perfectly well how this works, and I've explained several times why performance will suffer without fragmentation, but it appears you either can't or won't understand. I'm not going to waste any more time trying to educate you on the facts. You'll have to do some reading and/or experimenting and you'll learn eventually that fragmentation does not need to be present for performance to suffer from diminished free drive space.

The reason for noticeable performance hits with nearly-full disks is due to fragmentation, whether it's file data fragmentation or VM/swap fragmentation and page in/out, it's still fragmentation. If there were no fragmentation problems then a nearly-full drive would perform similar to a nearly-empty drive.
That is patently false. If you cared to do some reading or testing, you would understand the facts.
I don't think anyone is disagreeing with this.
Yes, Yahooligan disagrees with it.

The fact that someone doesn't understand or disagrees with the facts doesn't make the facts any less true. If there was an apparent interest in learning the facts, I would cheerfully continue. As it appears the desire is to argue for the sake of arguing, with no regard for the facts, I'm done wasting my time here.

MisterMe
Jun 3, 2013, 07:31 PM
Your opinion on this fact is, in fact, incorrect. I don't do Windows, what I discuss has nothing to do with Windows and everything to do with how data is written to disk and how VM is managed.

....Wow! Just wow. Windows HDD fragmentation--particularly in FAT-based file systems used for DOS-based Windows--displayed substantial performance degradation with a day's time even on HDDs with in excess of 50% free capacity.

I have benchmarked Macs running HFS and later HFS+ both before and after file optimization going back to System 7. In none of my 24 years as a Mac user have I ever found a measurable performance benefit above noise level provided by file optimization. I had begun to dismiss fragmentation performance hits as an urban legend until I accepted responsibility for the care and feeding of my secretary's Windows computer.

On Windows, the performance degradation of the OS is significant. The performance improvement caused by running the DEFRAG utility is nothing less than dramatic.

To claim that you are a Mac user who has no reference point in Windows is disingenuous in the extreme. Millions of Mac users run their computers for years with never a defrag. If it were necessary to defrag your Mac, then Apple would have done what Microsoft did. Apple would have shipped each computer with a defrag utility. Actually, it would added the functionality to Disk Utilities.

Among the many things that you don't understand that defrag utiliies were necessary in the Windows/DOS world due to the design failures of Microsoft file systems. Apple is not Microsoft. It does not suffer these kinds of design failures on its users.

The only way for you to see the kind of performance hit in OS X that Windows users see on their computers is to smoke some really good stuff. What are you smoking?

Yahooligan
Jun 3, 2013, 07:36 PM
Wow! Just wow. Windows HDD fragmentation--particularly in FAT-based file systems used for DOS-based Windows--displayed substantial performance degradation with a day's time even on HDDs with in excess of 50% free capacity.

I have benchmarked Macs running HFS and later HFS+ both before and after file optimization going back to System 7. In none of my 24 years as a Mac user have I ever found a measurable performance benefit above noise level provided by file optimization. I had begun to dismiss fragmentation performance hits as an urban legend until I accepted responsibility for the care and feeding of my secretary's Windows computer.

On Windows, the performance degradation of the OS is significant. The performance improvement caused by running the DEFRAG utility is nothing less than dramatic.

To claim that you are a Mac user who has no reference point in Windows is disingenuous in the extreme. Millions of Mac users run their computers for years with never a defrag. If it were necessary to defrag your Mac, then Apple would have done what Microsoft did. Apple would have shipped each computer with a defrag utility. Actually, it would added the functionality to Disk Utilities.

Among the many things that you don't understand that defrag utiliies were necessary in the Windows/DOS world due to the design failures of Microsoft file systems. Apple is not Microsoft. It does not suffer these kinds of design failures on its users.

The only way for you to see the kind of performance hit in OS X that Windows users see on their computers is to smoke some really good stuff. What are you smoking?

Clearly you didn't read the bulk of this thread and what was being discussed, nobody here, not even me, is saying the it's necessary to defrag a Mac as part of routine/normal "maintenance." I never defrag my Macs nor do the Linux systems get defragged. I also don't run my disks to near their space capacity.

Try reading the thread before going off on someone and making wild assumptions about them.

Lastmboy
Jun 4, 2013, 12:12 AM
In my plane of existence, the outside edge of a disc travels faster than the inside edge. Regardless, in modern drives the difference is not likely to be noticeable - even a full-stroke seek to a file is measured in single milliseconds.

OK, so now I'm curious...
As I mentioned previously, my OS drive is the internal SSD. My data drive is an thunderbolt RAID 5 array with six 2TB drives. I have 32gb of RAM installed. Therefore the issues of lack of ram, HD too full, etc. should not be a problem for me. A hardware vender told me that it's actually "bad" to defrag an SSD. Said it actually reduces their life span. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I've never found the need to defrag an SSD. However, with the RAID 5 array... as it fills up, are each of the 6 drives writing from center toward outer edge, and are they all getting slower as they near the outer edge?? i.e. RAID array get's exponentially slower as it fills up? :rolleyes:

MisterMe
Jun 4, 2013, 09:00 AM
...

The reason for noticeable performance hits with nearly-full disks is due to fragmentation, whether it's file data fragmentation or VM/swap fragmentation and page in/out, it's still fragmentation. If there were no fragmentation problems then a nearly-full drive would perform similar to a nearly-empty drive. ...

Clearly you didn't read the bulk of this thread and what was being discussed, nobody here, not even me, is saying the it's necessary to defrag a Mac as part of routine/normal "maintenance." I never defrag my Macs nor do the Linux systems get defragged. I also don't run my disks to near their space capacity.

Try reading the thread before going off on someone and making wild assumptions about them.So you are saying that defragging is not the fix for performance problems that you assert are caused by fragmentation? Got it!

talmy
Jun 4, 2013, 09:17 AM
So you are saying that defragging is not the fix for performance problems that you assert are caused by fragmentation? Got it!

All facetiousness aside, a full drive cannot be successfully defragmented, while a drive with lots of free space gets automatically defragmented to a degree and avoids fragmentation of new files by OS X. So the solution to the performance problem is to either delete files to regain free space or replace the drive with one that has a higher capacity. The solution is not defragmenting the drive.

HenryDJP
Jun 4, 2013, 10:33 AM
Lesson learned: OS X suffers from OS rot just as much as Windows -

I respectfully disagree and I've been a full-time Mac user since OS 8.

MisterMe
Jun 4, 2013, 11:02 AM
All facetiousness aside, a full drive cannot be successfully defragmented, while a drive with lots of free space gets automatically defragmented to a degree and avoids fragmentation of new files by OS X. So the solution to the performance problem is to either delete files to regain free space or replace the drive with one that has a higher capacity. The solution is not defragmenting the drive.If you go back and read Post #59, you will see that I have benchmarked the effects of defragging Mac hard drives since System 7. I have never seen a measurable improvement in doing so. That said, full optimization which is much more ambitious that a defrag can be done on a nearly full hard drive. However, it is a moot point because it makes negligible difference in performance.

talmy
Jun 4, 2013, 12:07 PM
If you go back and read Post #59, you will see that I have benchmarked the effects of defragging Mac hard drives since System 7. I have never seen a measurable improvement in doing so. That said, full optimization which is much more ambitious that a defrag can be done on a nearly full hard drive. However, it is a moot point because it makes negligible difference in performance.

I had and I fully agree!

I've never used defragging software on a Mac (or Linux/UNIX boxes for that matter) but have done effective defragging by disk cloning with SuperDuper! I don't know if any improvement was measurable but it certainly wasn't noticeable! In fact, even with Windows, where I have measured improvements, I don't bother to defrag because the time taken to defrag is greater than the time savings from doing it! And as you pointed out MSDOS was a real disaster for fragmentation problems. Nearly full drives have a problem in that to create a defragged file requires contiguous free space on the drive that may not be obtainable. In any case defragging time seems to go up exponentially with proportion of the drive being used which makes it even less useful just at the time you would seem to need it most!

My understanding is that fragmentation is only a problem when doing video work with multiple streams, and that this is best handled by having multiple hard drives rather than attempting to store all the video files on the single drive.