Computer amazingly slow

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Ja Di ksw, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #1
    Hi guys, I'm here because I'm wondering if there's something wrong with the powerbook, or if it just needs more RAM. It's a 1.25 GHz G4 Powerbook with 512 MB of RAM, , 64 MB video card, running OS 10.4.9. The thing is unbearable. Literally, if you try to simply quit Mail (and it's the only application running), it will take a few minutes. It crawls when the only thing open are Word documents! I can't imagine that any computer running 1.25 GHz should struggle with Word documents (moving them, typing on them, making a new one, etc).

    Does this sound like there is something wrong with the computer itself, or does it just need more RAM?

    Thank you
     
  2. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #2
    This isn't (or shouldn't be) a RAM problem.

    How much hard drive space do you have free?
     
  3. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816

    dartzorichalcos

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Location:
    Atlantis
    #3
    Try adding more ram. Other than that, check this article.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    How full is the hard drive? Do you get beachballs while waiting? When you go to activity monitor, how many page-outs are reported?
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #5
    What if anything have you tried to diagnose the problem? Have you rebooted recently? Checked the drive for errors?

    Sorry, but that article is useless. Most of the tips have nothing at all to do with speeding up OSX.
     
  6. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816

    dartzorichalcos

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Location:
    Atlantis
    #6
    Why is it useless? I don't see anything useless about it. It's helpful in some way.
     
  7. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #7
    Thanks for all the quick replies. The computer in question is actually my girlfriend's, not mine. She's about ready to throw it through a window, so I told her I'd ask on this board before she went nuts on it :).

    I know her HD is close to full, I'll get an exact number when she gets back home.

    Beachballs are about all she sees.

    I asked her what her page ins/outs were, but she wasn't home at the time. When she gets back later today I'll get those from her.

    Since I don't have the computer with me, I haven't done anything to diagnose it. I told her to turn off her widgets and run MacJanitor on it (neither of which helped). When she gets back I'll try to get a breakdown of what the activity monitor is saying.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    As a start, I'd recommend the following:

    - See if you can get her to disable dashboard. Saves a lot of memory.

    - See if you can get HD space >20% free.

    If that doesn't make a difference even when a single Word document is open, there may be bad memory. I guess you can also try to get a memory testing program and do that.
     
  9. fairnymph macrumors 6502

    fairnymph

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    #9
    My PB has nearly the exact same specs (before I upgraded the RAM, at least - it used to have 512 MB) and it never was that slow, OTHER than for the brief time the HD was super full. So I agree with others that that is the most likely culprit.
     
  10. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #10
    Also try repairing permissions sometimes if something is important is set wrong it can cause extreme slow down.
     
  11. NickD macrumors 6502a

    NickD

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #11
    Like just said, try repairing permissions, and see if the disk itself needs to be prepared. Open up Activity Monitor as well and see what processes are running.
     
  12. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #12
    If the disk drive is nearly full, it will slow things down. Also, does she have a lot of items on her desktop? That can slow things down too (each item on the desktop is assigned the same resources as an open window). But a general spring clean, verify disk, and additional 512MB RAM would improve things considerably.
     
  13. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #13
    Fire up Activity Monitor and see if anything is hogging CPU cycles, RAM, or spiking up disk activity, etc.
     
  14. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #14
    Empty the trash? That'll really improve your system performance. The article is full of "great advice" like that. Maybe two of the tips out of the entire list could actually help. The rest are misleading at best.

    Anyway, difficult to diagnose a problem of this kind with so little information. At a minimum we need to know if this Mac has been rebooted recently.
     
  15. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #15
    It's the hard drive. Period.


    First run delocalizer. Get rid of about a gig of languages embedded into OSX. It's free. It's the first thing I run when I power up a new hard drive after Tiger.

    On my PPC G4 mac mini 1.5ghz with 1 gig of ram, I put a 100gb hard drive in. And I still felt the need to disable dashboard, which helped a lot.

    But dude, you need to get her a new hard drive. Get a 100gb 7200 rpm and then get her more ram. Or sell it to someone who knows what to do with that great machine!
     
  16. tuqqer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #16
    You may have a different sense of what is useless, Reilly, than others. Or perhaps you're just in a grumpy mood. Dartzorichalcos's link is called 52 Ways To Speed up OSX. Here's a few:

    1. Empty Trash. Two months ago, my sister called about her slow Mac. I had her check her trash: it contained 21 Gigs of junk. She'd never once emptied it. On a 60 gig laptop? Yes, that slowed down her Mac.

    2. Clear Desktop. Try it: place 80 icons on yours—a mix of folders, files, aliases, etc.—and see if you don't notice a speed drop, esp on a G4 laptop.

    3. Turn off BlueTooth: Even on my 1.33G PB, I can see a difference in speed when I leave it off.

    4. Remove System Prefs. Again, try this: go and install the Logitech Control Panel (I think anything past v2.0). Then wait a few days. Report back with how your speed is doing.

    5. Clean up Safari's caches, etc: c'mon. Have you ever tried this? One can turn a doggie Safari back to its original speed with this simple trick.

    Hey, every forum needs its curmudgeon responses, from what I've seen. But I think the article is helpful. And true: I'll bet it's the lack of hard drive space.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #17
    I'm always at least a little grumpy. Some days more than others. More when I see the dispensing and perpetuation of bad advice.

    And how, exactly, did having files in the Trash "slow down her Mac?" They're just files, without any special powers. I go literally years without emptying the Trash.

    On boot up, sure. But after that?

    Maybe. But I'd want to see an actual objective test. We all see/feel things that don't verify. Incidentally, the best argument for turning off Bluetooth when it's not in use is security.

    Now we're talking about buggy third-party software. No argument there, if the issue is an actual one.

    Sure, but now we're talking about a particular software issue, not speeding up OSX. Am I being too picky? Maybe. But when somebody complains that "the computer is running slowly" I want to know more about the symptoms and what if anything they've tried to fix it before I refer them to an article with 52 tips, at least 51 of which are very unlikely to help them.

    That's me all over. ;)

    Seriously, my curmudgeon side comes out when generic suggestions like "reinstall OSX" or "buy more RAM" (hey, it's not their money!) comes out immediately, when the symptoms being described are vague and general, and we can't even find out if the Mac has been rebooted in the past three months. Now that will really slow down your Mac! Correct diagnoses requires some knowledge of symptoms.

    The lack of HD space theory is a good one, but as I've argued before, the percentage free argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It doesn't matter how large your drive is, about 5GB of free space should be enough.
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #18
    Ja Di

    The first and most important thing you need to do is (as Nick said) to boot from the OSX install CD (hold the "C" key down while booting with the CD in), and use Disk Utility (under the Installer or Utilities menu at the top) to do a Repair Disk on that hard drive. You will probably see that some errors were repaired.

    If there are any that were NOT repaired, or the SMART status indicates the drive is failing, get the data backed up ASAP (probably best way -- hook up to another Mac via Firewire and put the Powerbook into Target Disk Mode (hold the T key while booting.) and drag files to the other Mac's drive)
    Slow performance everywhere (as opposed to one app, like Safari) could well be a failing drive. You need to eliminate that possibility first before doing anything else.

    You could also run Apple Hardware Test while you have the install CD out, just to check on the rest of the hw.

    After you have verified that the hard drive is repaired / good, then proceed with the other troubleshooting steps mentioned above, starting with Permissions, then clearing disk space.

    dart: the OP needs specific advice. A grab bag of 52 unrelated suggestions may be valuable for general reference, but not now - it's just confusing the issue with red herrings. They need a rifle, not a shotgun.
     
  19. tuqqer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #19
    Reilly, all good points.


    CanadaRAM, you say that it's necessary to "boot from the OSX install CD ...and use Disk Utility..."

    Not to derail this thread, but I've always wondered if there is any difference between running the Disk Utility app while running ones Mac, and restarting from the OSX Install Disk and running it there. Does anyone have any links that explain if there is a difference, and what that diff is?
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    Umm, yeah.

    You cannot do a Repair Disk on the disk you are booted from...

    You MUST be booted from a different disk to repair your normal startup drive. If you have a bootable Firewire drive, then you can boot from that and run Disk Utility. But not many people do -- and everyone has (or had) the OSX install CD...
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
  22. tuqqer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #22
    whoops. I meant Repair Disk Permissions. Never mind.
     
  23. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #23
    I see where your coming from but as others have stated when your HD is close to full you get extreme slow down. So sometimes if you have many GB in the trash emptying frees space on the HD speeding up your mac.
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #24
    I know, but that's a very specific situation calling for a specific solution. Emptying the trash does not in itself speed up the Mac, which the article suggests it does. In fact the article implies that keeping lots of stuff in the trash is some kind of character flaw. That kind of thing really pins my BS meter.
     
  25. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    bleep
    #25
    You may want to consider getting her some more memory as well. My 12 PB came stock with 512 megs. When I upgraded to 1.25 gigs (maxed) there was a noticeable difference. I also had a 100 gig 7200rpm put in, but that was well after the memory upgrade.
     

Share This Page