Breathing New Life into my old MBA. Question on what to do now?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Reidan, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Reidan macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    Today I reloaded OS X Lion on my old 11" MacBook Air 2011 with 2 GB of RAM. Did Lion as that is the version that the Web Installer allowed me to install. I have applied all the available updates and the apps that I want it to have. In fact using it to type this post.

    This Mac has not performed this well in a long time. No spinning Beach Balls at all since it completed the reinstall. And the fan has not spun up to high speed at all. Feels like a new machine again. I do not know if the performance issues it was having were due to having had multiple OS upgrades over the last 4 years, or just basic OS performance degradation over time.

    I plan on giving it to my wife and she will only use it for web, email and occasionally for MS Office. My wife is easily frustrated and short tempered with technology. If it has any performance issues, she will constantly complain. Her current Windows Laptop is a major source of frustration to her as it was cheap and under powered when she bought it.

    Since I converted her from Android to iPhone, she has been happy with her phone and not complained at all. So I am hoping the conversion to OS X will have similar results. Just do not want to handicap the conversion by installing a newer OS if it will cause this MBA to slow down again.

    So, any major reason I need to upgrade to a newer version of OS X? Any major security bug in Lion that I need to be concerned with that would force me to go ahead and upgrade to Yosemite again? I am just concerned that the performance issues I had were related to running Yosemite on 2 GB of RAM.
  2. krishmk macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2010
    2 GB RAM will not get you any performance on Yosemite or elCapitan. If I were you, I would leave as is.
  3. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I am thinking the same. Just can not remember if there were any major bugs with Lion that I needed to be concerned over.
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Are you sure?

    I remember that Lion on my base 2010 MBA was kind of a dog. Mountain Lion was significantly faster. Mavericks was even faster than that due to memory compression.

    Didn't try Yosemite, sold the 2010 before it came out.
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I never used anything but Lion on my 2011 MBA and always thought performance was very good. I had 4GB RAM however.
  6. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2011
    I've got nothing of value to add except that I'm really impressed that you brought this machine back. I have a beautiful (heavy, heavy) Powerbook 160 which sadly doesn't even power on anymore (circa '92? '93?). I really wish I could see that desktop again.

    You might rightly ask why I still have it when it doesn't even turn on on AC power, but I can't give it up.
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I can't find it again now but I recall stumbling upon a forum for people who restored old Mac logic boards. Often requires replacing all the capacitors. Seems like a lot of work but they were pretty into it. If you're interested let me know and I'll try harder to find it again.
  8. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I had one of those older PowerBooks when I worked for the local school system back in the 90's. I think it was a 150. That looks familiar when I Googled the images for those old PowerBooks. I did not keep it when I left that job. But, I did still have an old II+ and II GS in my basement until recently. The II GS was my computer back in college. Did all of my homework on that thing.

    But I eventually tossed it all out as the junk room was getting too full of junk! I also had some old Sun SPARC stations that I picked up when I was going through my first UNIX Admin classes many years ago. Those are gone too.

    The hardware on this MBA was still good. It it looks almost as good as the day I brought it home. Just a little wear on the keys and one small ding in the aluminum case. And that is on the bottom. The battery is even still pretty decent. Though the wife will never travel with it where she would not be near an outlet. She also has an iPad and it almost never leaves the house.

    The reason for doing this is that it just ran slow. Had beach ball spinning constantly and the fans were running every time it did anything that stressed the system at all. Took a can of compressed air and blew out the fan, which really was not very dirty.

    I have never reloaded the OS since the day I got it. I upgraded it every year when the new version of OS X came out. So it was updated from Lion, to Mt Lion, to Mavericks, then to Yosemite. And all of the patches installed for each OS over the year it was the current OS. And that is a lot of points of failure stacking up on the OS install. Not surprised that it started slowing down.

    So, by formatting and starting over, it wipes the slate clean. And she is not the kind who will worry that it is not on the latest version of an OS. (her Windows laptop was still on 7) As long as she can get her email and browser the web, she will be happy.
  9. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2011
    motrek, I don't know if it would be worth the money I'd have to spend on it; but maybe one day it'll be a project for me. In the meantime, it's sharing a shelf with a Walkman, near an old record player. Ans with the prices I'm seeing for non-contract (e.g., non-subsidized) phones, I may have to go back to my old Motorola v60 again!

    Reidan, I love these kinds of stories.
  10. krishmk macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2010
    I have 2011 MBA with 4GB RAM and I have updated to ElCapitan and it works. This MBA is only used for browsing and email no heavy work.

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