Computer is 4-5 years old and runs slow

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by blasto333, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. blasto333 macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2004
    My mom's computer is 4 or 5 years old and runs a lot slower than we she bought it.

    What steps can I take that won't take a long time? I could reformat then restore from time machine, but that seems like a lot of work and I don't want to risk her losing data.

    There are not any startup items and it is really slow launching programs even when nothing else is running. The hard drive was replaced at one point because of a recall.

    I did a google search and there are so many different suggestions.
  2. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    First, why don't you get a list of the specs of the machine, the model information, etc.

    Then look at the amount of free diskspace, the amount of memory being used and how much virtual memory.

    Then what processes are running, and how much CPU are the taking up.

    We move forward from there.
  3. blasto333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2004
    I have uploaded all of the info you have asked for. Even when all the apps are closed, it still goes somewhat slow. I was also mistaken it is running 10.9.4 (not 10.8).

    It does seem to be using some swap (which is normally bad)

    Attached Files:

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You have two things going on there that are cause for concern. The first is that Adobe Reader updater is chewing up 34% of the CPU cycles. Secondly, Dropbox is chewing up 13%. If you can fix those two issues, I suspect she see normal speeds again.

    Unless she specifically needs Adobe Reader for something, I would uninstall that altogether. She can used the OS X included Preview app to read PDFs.

    If Dropbox continues using CPU like that when just sitting there not uploading anything, use Activity Monitor to shutdown Dropbox then run the command below in Terminal. You will be asked for the login password. This will delete the Dropbox index but not her files. Now get the newest Dropbox update from their website and install it then restart.

    sudo rm -rf ~/.dropbox
    If that fixes the high CPU issues, take another look in that memory tab and see how the memory pressure section at the bottom is. See this. You want that memory pressure in the green.
  5. katewes macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2007
    You didn't say what version of OSX you're running.

    I had an old iMac just like yours that was running Snow Leopard, and getting very slow.

    I did a clean install of Mountain Lion, and made sure to only install those software that I need. For your mum, I suspect she would not need a large range of software - browser, email and word processing, Skype for calling family?

    I found that doing that, the old computer had a new lease of life.

    There's no way around it. Clean install was what did it for me.

    I have no experience running Mavericks on such an old computer. I can say that Mountain Lion runs very nicely on my old computer.

    After doing the clean install, I manually installed all the software, and manually copied across all the data. Sure, it took some time, but I think that contributed to the computer having a new lease of life.

    On youtube there's a good instructional video by Shadyarmik which I followed.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Here's something simple to try.
    It will require an external drive, CarbonCopyCloner (which is free to download and free to use for 30 days), and a little time.

    1. Use CCC to clone the content's of the iMac's drive to the external drive.

    2. Boot from the external drive

    3. Open Disk Utility and re-initialize the iMac's internal drive

    4. Now, "RE-clone" the contents of the EXTERNAL drive BACK TO the internal drive.

    Why do this?
    Because -- over time -- the files and free space on the internal drive become hopelessly fragmented (especially the free space "between" the files).
    Running the process above results in all the files being re-copied "contiguously", and when done, all the free space will be in a large contiguous block "behind" the files.

    You should give this a try. It won't "change" anything (insofar as the data on the drive is concerned), but may result in a nice performance increase.

    (Note: you can accomplish the same objective by using a "defragging" app, but you still need to "boot externally" to run the app)

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