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Old Sep 23, 2013, 02:17 AM   #1
MacNoobGuy
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Mac is running slow... NEED HELP!

Hey guys, I've got a Mac Mini mid 2011 here with 8GB of RAM. It seems like the hard drive is really slow because my boot up time is really long and when I'm loading things in general it feels slow. The CPU, memory and graphics are working great.

Are there any built in diagnostic tools or repair tools I can try to use? Something like Defragging on a Windows machine?

Thanks for any help!
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Old Sep 23, 2013, 02:42 AM   #2
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Repair:

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Old Sep 23, 2013, 02:45 AM   #3
MacNoobGuy
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Will that make my hard drive more efficient?

I wanted to get an SSD to replace my 500GB drive, but the Mac Mini can only support one drive at a time and I can't afford a 500GB SSD...
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Old Sep 23, 2013, 03:08 AM   #4
Velin
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You should regularly repair permissions. Also, sometimes it makes sense to simply do a clean install of OSX, then install your apps and data. This is especially true if you do the OSX upgrades. Nothing better than a clean install of an OS.
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Old Sep 23, 2013, 03:10 AM   #5
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Repair Permissions does NOTHING, mostly. Some people suggest it as the first thing to try when faced by any problem, but its effects are limited.
You might want to Repair the DISK, but as you see from the picture, it's greyed out. You can't Repair a disk that you are booting from.

You can boot to the Recovery Partition, or an installer disk, and load Disk Utility there and Repair Disk from there.
You don't need to defrag your disk. OS X does defragging on-the-fly, as it saves data to the disk.

Next, check how much disk space you have left. You want at least 10% spare.

Next, launch Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder. You can sort the columns by CPU% or by Real Memory, to see what's eating up those resources.
Clicking on the tabs will give you different info at the bottom, including a nice pie chart to show you how much RAM you're using.
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Old Sep 23, 2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by benwiggy View Post
You might want to Repair the DISK, but as you see from the picture, it's greyed out. You can't Repair a disk that you are booting from.
Always do a "Verify Disk" before doing a Repair."Repair Disk" will write to the disk because it tries to repair things. "Verify Disk" only reads, never writes.

If "Verify Disk" reports any errors, it's a good idea to copy your valuable data off the disk FIRST. This is because the cause of the error MIGHT NOT BE THE DISK. There was a post not too long ago where unreliable RAM was the problem, and it started corrupting the disk because it didn't store data reliably. Since the corrupted data in RAM was being written back to the disk, it eventually caused more disk damage and data was lost.

Also, if "Verify Disk" shows errors, it's a good idea to run the Apple Hardware Test next, to help narrow down what the cause of the errors is.
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1509

Finally, one of the symptoms of a failing disk is that reads and writes take much longer. That is, the disk behaves much slower than normal. This slowdown can start appearing some time before the disk starts showing actual errors. This symptom can appear even though all the Verify Disk and Apple Hardware Test results show no errors. That's because those tools don't do any timing; they assume if the data shows up at all the disk is working. The human doing the tests has to notice that things take a long time.
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Old Sep 30, 2013, 12:09 PM   #7
MacNoobGuy
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Will 'Verify Disk' even do anything? Is there an App from Apple to defrag my HDD?

Even if I tried wiping the drive and then restoring it using Time Machine all the files would still be the same so wouldn't it be just as slow?

It feels like the HDD is really slow not the CPU/RAM. Rebooting takes a really long time now, too.

Thanks!
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Old Sep 30, 2013, 12:46 PM   #8
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Hey guys, I've got a Mac Mini mid 2011 here with 8GB of RAM. It seems like the hard drive is really slow because my boot up time is really long and when I'm loading things in general it feels slow. The CPU, memory and graphics are working great.
If you're having performance issues, this may help:
Performance Tips For Mac OS X
Also, make sure you have a current backup of your drive, in the event your issues are caused by a failing drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velin View Post
You should regularly repair permissions.
Some people repair, or recommend repairing permissions for situations where it isn't appropriate. Repairing permissions only addresses very specific issues. It is not a "cure all" or a general performance enhancer, and doesn't need to be done on a regular basis. It also doesn't address permissions problems with your files or 3rd party apps.
Five Mac maintenance myths
About Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions feature
Quote:
Disk Utility repairs the permissions for files installed by the Mac OS X Installer, Software Update, or an Apple software installer. It doesn’t repair permissions for your documents, your home folder, and third-party applications. You can verify or repair permissions only on a disk with Mac OS X installed.
Quote:
Does Disk Utility check permissions on all files? Files that aren't installed as part of an Apple-originated installer package are not listed in a receipt and therefore are not checked. For example, if you install an application using a non-Apple installer application, or by copying it from a disk image, network volume, or other disk instead of installing it via Installer, a receipt file isn't created. This is expected. Some applications are designed to be installed in one of those ways. Also, certain files whose permissions can be changed during normal usage without affecting their function are intentionally not checked.
Troubleshooting permissions issues in Mac OS X
If repairing permissions results in error messages, some of these messages can be ignored and should be no cause for concern.
Mac OS X: Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions messages that you can safely ignore
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Will 'Verify Disk' even do anything? Is there an App from Apple to defrag my HDD?
With very few exceptions, you don't need to defrag on Mac OS X, except possibly when partitioning a drive. About disk optimization with Mac OS X
Quote:
You probably won't need to optimize at all if you use Mac OS X.
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Old Sep 30, 2013, 12:55 PM   #9
chown33
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Will 'Verify Disk' even do anything?
It verifies the integrity of the files on the disk. If there are any integrity errors, then any defrag would make things much worse. In fact, any writing to the disk when there are significant integrity errors can make things worse.

So do the "Verify Disk" first, post any errors it finds, and take action cautiously. All your files are at risk until the disk integrity is ascertained.

However, if you don't care about any files on disk, then erase it (repartition it from the Recovery disk), and start over.

I've also pointed you to the Apple Hardware Test, which checks things other than the disk. Because things that seem to be disk errors or disk slowdowns can be caused by other things.
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Old Oct 1, 2013, 07:44 AM   #10
MacNoobGuy
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Originally Posted by chown33 View Post
It verifies the integrity of the files on the disk. If there are any integrity errors, then any defrag would make things much worse. In fact, any writing to the disk when there are significant integrity errors can make things worse.

So do the "Verify Disk" first, post any errors it finds, and take action cautiously. All your files are at risk until the disk integrity is ascertained.

However, if you don't care about any files on disk, then erase it (repartition it from the Recovery disk), and start over.

I've also pointed you to the Apple Hardware Test, which checks things other than the disk. Because things that seem to be disk errors or disk slowdowns can be caused by other things.
Ok thanks.

Can you please link me to the 'Apple hardware test' again please? I can't find the link.
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Old Oct 1, 2013, 11:36 AM   #11
chown33
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Can you please link me to the 'Apple hardware test' again please? I can't find the link.
See post #6 of this very thread.

Or google Apple hardware test.
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Old Oct 2, 2013, 02:43 PM   #12
MacNoobGuy
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Ok I just ran the verify process:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking file systemPerforming live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Checking extended attributes file.
Checking volume bitmap.
Checking volume information.
The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK.

Is there anything else i can do?
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Old Oct 2, 2013, 04:07 PM   #13
keysofanxiety
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Ok I just ran the verify process:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking file systemPerforming live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Checking extended attributes file.
Checking volume bitmap.
Checking volume information.
The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK.

Is there anything else i can do?
Check Activity Monitor, post screenshot of your RAM usage. If OS X is writing to the hard-drive then that'll really slow down your computer. Look for the bit that says 'Swap used'.

If it is writing to the hard-drive, shut down your Mac, and disable the option that says: 'Reopen windows when logging back in'.

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Old Oct 4, 2013, 09:16 AM   #14
MacNoobGuy
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Yah I use Activity Monitor and I constantly need to watch my RAM usage because I keep running out of RAM!
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Old Oct 4, 2013, 09:26 AM   #15
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Yah I use Activity Monitor and I constantly need to watch my RAM usage because I keep running out of RAM!
By "running out of RAM", do you mean you have page outs? To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.
Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used
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Old Oct 5, 2013, 09:57 AM   #16
Fishrrman
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My advice (and others will disagree).

You probably have enough RAM.

How much FREE SPACE do you have left on your hard drive?
Is the "used space" badly fragmented?

I'd suggest defragging the drive, to see if that helps. Others will say "you don't need to defrag with the Mac OS", but the reality is that defragging can indeed help a [spinning platters] drive that is badly fragmented and "overly full". Remember that we're not only talking about files here, we're talking about the "free space between the files", as well.

But I'm also wondering if you don't have some kind of process going on "in the background" that is slowing you down. Have you checked using "Activity Monitor"?

You also wrote:
[[ I wanted to get an SSD to replace my 500GB drive, but the Mac Mini can only support one drive at a time and I can't afford a 500GB SSD...]]

Hmmm.... doesn't a 2011 Mini have room for TWO drives inside?

Here's something you could try without opening the Mini:
- Get the SSD of your choice
- Get an external firewire 800 enclosure (or even a USB3/SATA docking station, though boot times will be a little slower)
- Assemble the drive, initialize it, do a clean install of the system
- Boot from the external. Again, because you're not on the internal PCI bus, the boot time may seem a little slower, BUT, once up-and-running, you should notice a nice difference.
- If you wish, you can use Migration Assistant to "bring over" your account, apps, data, etc., from the internal to your externally-connected SSD.

I run my 2012 Mini from an Intel 520 SSD in a plugable.com dock -- boots to login screen in about 12 seconds and runs beautifully afterwards.
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Old Nov 2, 2013, 11:42 AM   #17
MacNoobGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
By "running out of RAM", do you mean you have page outs? To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.
Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used
Alright, thanks. I'm running Mavericks now and I'm still having the slow performance. I'm certain the problem is with the Mac Mini's HDD as I can hear it clicking away intensely.

I tried looking for 'page outs' under Activity Monitor and then 'Memory' but I didn't see 'page outs' anywhere.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
My advice (and others will disagree).

You probably have enough RAM.

How much FREE SPACE do you have left on your hard drive?
Is the "used space" badly fragmented?

I'd suggest defragging the drive, to see if that helps. Others will say "you don't need to defrag with the Mac OS", but the reality is that defragging can indeed help a [spinning platters] drive that is badly fragmented and "overly full". Remember that we're not only talking about files here, we're talking about the "free space between the files", as well.

But I'm also wondering if you don't have some kind of process going on "in the background" that is slowing you down. Have you checked using "Activity Monitor"?

You also wrote:
[[ I wanted to get an SSD to replace my 500GB drive, but the Mac Mini can only support one drive at a time and I can't afford a 500GB SSD...]]

Hmmm.... doesn't a 2011 Mini have room for TWO drives inside?

Here's something you could try without opening the Mini:
- Get the SSD of your choice
- Get an external firewire 800 enclosure (or even a USB3/SATA docking station, though boot times will be a little slower)
- Assemble the drive, initialize it, do a clean install of the system
- Boot from the external. Again, because you're not on the internal PCI bus, the boot time may seem a little slower, BUT, once up-and-running, you should notice a nice difference.
- If you wish, you can use Migration Assistant to "bring over" your account, apps, data, etc., from the internal to your externally-connected SSD.

I run my 2012 Mini from an Intel 520 SSD in a plugable.com dock -- boots to login screen in about 12 seconds and runs beautifully afterwards.
Alright, thanks.

Using an external firewire enclosure seems interesting, but if I were to replace the HDD, I'd much prefer to do it internally than adding something externally as this is expensive.

It just feels like my Mac Mini's HDD is under a lot of load.

I have 22GB of free space on my Mac Mini HDD.

What tools do I have at my disposal in Mavericks to try to 'clean up' the internal HDD?
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Old Nov 2, 2013, 07:46 PM   #18
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
Alright, thanks. I'm running Mavericks now and I'm still having the slow performance. I'm certain the problem is with the Mac Mini's HDD as I can hear it clicking away intensely.

I tried looking for 'page outs' under Activity Monitor and then 'Memory' but I didn't see 'page outs' anywhere.
Follow every step of the following instructions precisely. Do not skip any steps.
  1. Launch Activity Monitor
  2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
  3. Click on the "% CPU" column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top). (If that column isn't visible, right-click on the column headings and check it, NOT "CPU Time")
  4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
  5. Take a screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
  6. Post your screenshots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNoobGuy View Post
What tools do I have at my disposal in Mavericks to try to 'clean up' the internal HDD?
You don't need to "clean" your drive. Just move user files to an external drive to save some space, if needed.
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Old Nov 2, 2013, 08:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Follow every step of the following instructions precisely. Do not skip any steps.
  1. Launch Activity Monitor
  2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
  3. Click on the "% CPU" column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top). (If that column isn't visible, right-click on the column headings and check it, NOT "CPU Time")
  4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
  5. Take a screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
  6. Post your screenshots.


You don't need to "clean" your drive. Just move user files to an external drive to save some space, if needed.
One note: You can change from "my processes" to "all process" under the view menu on the menu bar.
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