Air has become slow; any good housekeeping tips for a Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by saintforlife, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #1
    I have had my Macbook Air for a little over a year. I am a PC convert. On a PC I regularly defrag the drive, remove temporary files and periodically do some house keeping using a utility like CC cleaner. But I have no idea what to do when it comes to a Mac.

    Of late my Air seems to be running a little slow. Now when it wakes up from sleep it takes about 4-5 seconds before the touchpad becomes active, where as before it used to be instantaneous. A couple of times recently I have seen the spinning disc when doing certain things. I don't think I ever saw it until now. So I am thinking my Mac needs some cleanup of junk files, temporary files and such.

    I have installed and uninstalled a bunch of apps and for uninstalling, I have just dragged the application to trash because somebody told me that is all you need to do to delete applications and you don't have an 'uninstall' option like Windows. Is this the right way to uninstall apps? If not, what is the correct way? Also how do I clean up any junk files left over from the applications I have removed.

    In general are there any other housekeeping tips that will help make my Air zippy and like its old self again? I am still running Snow Leopard btw.

    Thanks!
     
  2. QuarterSwede, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012

    QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Colorado Springs, CO
    #3
    First, the Air's SSD will slow over time so file access and loading apps will slow down (not to HDD speeds though).

    OS X like many other unix systems run system maintenance scripts over night at 1am (or is it 3am?). If the Air is asleep then that won't run. They're supposed to on wake but in my experience that never happens. There are scripts for daily, weekly or monthly that clean out the kruft. Thankfully you can run these manually using Terminal commands or frontend apps like Cocktail or Yasu. Generally, logs and such don't really slow your machine down much but OS X and iOS run smoother if those logs are periodically cleaned (on iOS it seems to happen only on sync).

    You can delete most apps just the way you have been. The few exceptions are the ones that install themselves and have an uninstaller (ex. Mac:Office). People will tell you that doing so will leave behind the apps preference files but those are tiny (only a few kb) and don't seem to bog anything down (especially on an SSD). You can get apps that will delete any files associated with an app on deletion like AppZapper but it's not necessary.
     
  3. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #4
    Open the Activity Monitor and see what is running.

    Then delete anything that is from old installs that might be still running in the background.
    For example, if you ever installed the Intego Virus Barrier, is leaves something running in the background, even after you "uninstall it"

    Also look into the Console for the log of the things that are going on with your Mac.
     
  4. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

    Moonjumper

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    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #5
    One thing to check is Disk Permission corruptions. You will find the tools to check and repair them in Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    Read the performance tips link that simsaladimbamba posted.

    You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Some remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. Some of these apps delete caches, which can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

    There are daily, weekly and monthly scripts. If the Mac is off or asleep at the scheduled time, they do, indeed, run the next time the Mac is awake. You can get the Maintidget widget, which will tell you the last time the scripts ran.
    In most cases, app removal software like AppZapper doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this and this. 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:

    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.
    There are times when repairing permissions is appropriate. To do so, here are the instructions:
    If repairing permissions results in error messages, some of these messages can be ignored and should be no cause for concern.
     
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Colorado Springs, CO
    #7
    Thanks. That'll help.

    Personally, I use AppCleaner which does a thorough job. Most of the time it surprises me at how many files it finds when I trash an app (it monitors when you trash something). Even if you don't want to use it to trash the files it will allow you to see where they are which helps with manual deletion.

    You need to listen to John Siracusa's (of ArsTechnica) excellent talk on why HFS+ needs to be replaced to understand why repairing permissions is a futile effort currently (Basically, HFS+ is such a hack job that almost everything the hard drive writes causes file permission issues). He goes into great length as to why. It's on Hypercritical on Dan Benjamin's 5by5 network.
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #8
    While it is more convenient to use such applications, especially automated ones, they don't find all files (sadly, as Finder makes it so simple, and is strange, why an uninstall application could not use the same mechanism):
    image is clickable
    [​IMG]
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Actually, AppCleaner does a pretty dismal job. In almost every single case, you can remove an app using AppCleaner, then use the manual method I posted and find files that it left behind. Look at the links I posted, including a test of AppCleaner 2 weeks ago. The results are obvious.
     
  9. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #10
    I'm speaking from my personal experience. It finds stuff I'd never know existed. I don't expect it to find everything but it definitely does a better job than I would.
     
  10. hafr macrumors 68030

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    Sep 21, 2011
    #11
    Not anymore, if you've read what's been linked ;)
     
  11. simsaladimbamba

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    #12
    But you can use Finder, thus you do the job by selecting the parameters, and while it is not automatic, it removes everything, in case you ever need to.

    You can also take a look at the last link in my signature to see, how easy it actually is.
     
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #13
    Sure you can do it in Finder but who would know to look in something other than ApplicationSupport? THAT's my point ... and don't tell me to use Spotlight to find it. Most of the time it can't find something when I actually know the filename. I'm talking about a doc or mov, not some system file.

    I do like the process in that video but for someone who downloads and installs often and deletes often that's a pain.
     
  13. simsaladimbamba

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    #14
    That is why Mister GGJstudios and some others made those guides, for people who look for that info.
     
  14. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #15
    And I'm saying you can't trust Spotlight either. Again, personal experience.
     
  15. simsaladimbamba

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    #16
    Have you actually looked at the guide Mister GGJstudios and me linked to? Or the video (last link in my signature)? It does not involve Spotlight (CMD+Space), you use Finder > CMD+F for that.

    again, image is clickable
    [​IMG]
     
  16. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    #17
    Thanks GG, that's the first time I've understood how to remove a program (coming from the PC world).
     
  17. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #18
    That is also Spotlight. The index is what you can't trust.

    And yes, I watched the video. I like the process but Spotlight for me just doesn't always work well.
     
  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    If your drive is indexed properly, a Finder search will locate all app-related files/folders. Searching with Spotlight will not, as it doesn't return results from Library folders, where Finder does. I've never seen a case where it didn't find everything. If you have an example, I'll be happy to test it, or you can test it yourself. It works, and certainly is far more effective than AppCleaner or any other app-removal software.
    That's the point. You don't need to know about folders like Application Support. The search will find app-related files, wherever they are.
    You're welcome!
     

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