Fix/lean up my MacBook pro

Discussion in 'macOS' started by yik, Jan 17, 2016.


Do you like the direction OS X evolved from PPC times

Poll closed Apr 26, 2016.
  1. No, not really

  2. Yes, it is better and better.

  1. yik macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2016
    I have MacBook Pro 13-inch, Early 2011, Processor 2.3 GHz Intel, 4 GB Memory. Running OS X 10.9.5.

    I would like to ask how to fix/lean up my macbook pro. I am extremely disappointed in recent year or two.

    I am Mac user since the old days of white plastic MacBooks with PPC processors and 10.2 OS X. I migrated out from Linux. I loved the Unix-based OS with open source components, very much alike to my previous Linuxes.

    I am not programmer, but I loved Apple “Linux” disto with the support of a strong, corporate player, making sure that everything worked, with no need to compile 3rd party drivers to support things, like waking up from closed lid, working Wifi, and, most importantly the flawlessly working hardware. It was better than linux and better than windows.

    Over the years, i migrated my data to few newer Macs, and the OS X evolved. I used to love it, as I said, for being swift, sane, unix-based, rock solid, never saw blue screen, yet with nimble and comfortable UI.

    What I have now is sluggish, super slow, irrational system, with limited access to underlying unix, but with self bloating like on old Windows XP. It seems to know better want I want it to do, and I hate it. It seems to be slower every day, with the infamous beachball as the most common feature, with often non-responsive computer, waiting for something (divine intervention?).

    How can I get back swift and nimble OS with OS X? Should I get me Ubuntu? How can I remove everything and do something like fresh/clean install? Does it even make sense? Would it be solution? Will it work fast? Responsively?

    Is there a way to have some “selective” or “manual” migration? I would like to keep my old photos, and my old mp3s, which I have imported to my iTunes, but no legacy crap, nothing to slow me down. 15 years of favorites, cookies, and what not from web browsers, I do expect it to slow me down. Not needed. Old Apps, which I did not started for years? No. Kernel Extensions. No.

    I want my super responsive and fast OS X. What is the best way to get there ?! Anyone?

    I anticipate to use my mac primarily for web browsing, mail, VLC to play movies on my TV, iTunes, and Skype. No rocket science. I do have another computer for computing, say multi physics simulations.

    to sum up,
    1/ how do I do clean install on my mac? I do not have physical media for 10.9 or recent 10.11. Will it even help for speed?

    2/ How do I selectively import certain data only? Mails, iTunes, iPhoto? What can be removed from clean install to gain speed and responsivity?
  2. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I would highly recommend installing an SSD. I have done this on a number of machines, both MacBooks and iMacs. The difference it makes is truly massive. Boot time is about a quarter, and application launch times become instant.

    Install an SSD, install a fresh copy of OS X, then place the old hard drive in a USB enclosure and use migration assistant to copy back your old files.
  3. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    There are several things that you need to check if you are having frequent beach balls.

    1. Check to see how much free space you have on your hard drive. If you have less than 15%, you need to do a cleanup as Macs run into trouble when they are running out of disk space.

    2. If that is not your problem, open Disk Utility and run Verify Disk. If it shows any errors, reboot into recovery mode by booting while holding down Command-R and go to the Utilities menu and run Repair Disk. Report back here with what results you get.

    3. Download and run the freeware MalwareBytes for Mac:

    4. Open Activity Monitor (found in /Applications/Utilities) and sort the result by %CPU by clicking on the top of the column. Wait until you get a beachball, and then bring Activity Monitor to the front to see what process is using up all your CPU cycles.

    5. By any chance are you backing up to a Time Capsule using Time Machine? If so, note if the beach balls are occurring during a backup. Time Machine will greatly slow your computer down if you are on a weak wireless connection.

    Try all that first before you try a clean install.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 17, 2016 ---
    If you decide to do a clean install (and please follow the 5 steps in my earlier post first), here is how to do it:

    1. Get an external USB drive as large or larger than your hard drive. Preferably a USB3 drive as this will make the backup go much faster.

    2. Connect the external drive to your computer, open Disk Utility and erase and reformat the external drive as Apple Extended Format (Journalled).

    3. Reboot while holding down command-r to boot into the recovery partition.

    4. Choose Utilities and Choose Recover and recover your internal disk to your external disk. This should make a complete bootable backup of your internal drive.

    5. When this backup is complete, you want to make sure it works. Reboot, this time holding down the option key and when the boot picker comes up, choose the external drive and make sure you can boot into it and it appears to have everything that was on your internal hard drive.

    6. Shut down and unplug the external drive.

    7. Reboot into the recovery partition by holding down command-r. Go to Utilities and this time choose Erase, and erase and reformat your main partition as Apple Extended Format (Journalled).

    8. Next, exit from Disk Utility and this time choose "Re-install Operating System". This will re-install a bare version of OS 10.9.5 onto your hard drive. When it is done it will ask you to restart.

    9. After it has restarted, plug in your external drive. The computer at some point will ask you whether you want to recover data from another computer or bootable drive. Say yes and select the external drive. At that point you will also be given the option of what you want or don't want to recover.
  4. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    Things you can do to get your computer running like new:

    1. Clean install the OS - As you might know from your Linux experience, over time build up of stuff (especially through multiple OS updates) can bog the system down. Doing a clean install wipes out any strange and holdover stuff you might have and get the computer running like new.

    2. Upgrade your RAM - RAM determines how many programs you can run at the same time. If you run many programs on a low amount of RAM you will notice slowdown as the computer begins to utilize (much slower) hard drive space in order to keep all of your programs running.

    3. Install a SSD - SSDs are much faster than HDDs and make a significant performance boost. These types of drives are used exclusively in newer Macbooks because of the substantial performance gains.

    When users complain about their computers being slow, typically they mean everything takes a long time to load. The easiest way to fix that is to migrate from an HDD to an SSD. When you install your new SSD, I recommend that you install OS X from scratch (the guide I linked above for doing a clean install largely applies). This will give you a like new system that will work better than your computer did the day you took it out of its box. You can buy a USB enclosure and plug your old hard drive directly into your Mac to copy over whatever files you need to.

    IMO you should not need to replace your Mac unless you are unhappy with its battery life. The 2011 Macbook Pro is still a pretty powerful computer.
  5. yik thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2016
    Does the external drive have to be LARGER? Clearly it must be larger than data, but does it have to be larger than internal, half empty disk? if so, does it have to larger than the main Partition? One can resize partition to smaller and then use smaller external disk....
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The most significant upgrade you can make is to install an SSD into the MacBook.

    It will change completely "the feel" of the OS, with regards to speed.

    Very easy to do with the right tools.

    I suggest you also buy a 2.5" external USB3 enclosure, and "prep and test" the SSD -BEFORE- you actually do the drive swap...
  7. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    It only has to be larger than the used size of your existing drive, not larger than the total size.

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