How do you maintain the performance of your Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ericmjl, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. ericmjl macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2006
    As with my other threads, title says it all.

    I ask, because I want to be sure that my Mac will perform in near-tip-top condition even 3 or 4 years down the road. I managed to do it almost well with a PC (think of 5 years of battling with PC problems), but since I'm switching, I want to learn more about how to do it on a Mac.
  2. UKnjb macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2005
    London, UK
    Hi and a late welcome to MR! :) Enjoy.

    There is little maintenance that is needed (certainly compared to the whole bloated PC/Windows experience) on my Macs - PBook and PMac G4s.

    Periodically (once a month and after any app installation or removal), I run Applejack that does a general hoovering through of permission repairs (similar to fsck), clearing caches etc. But if you have Tiger OS, apparantly that app will not work (I am still on Panther).

    Running Disk Utility (repair disk option) will also repair permissions.
    Again, apparantly, you don't have to worry about disk defragmentation or repairing the registry (there isn't one).

    OS X Tiger users have recommended Onyx for general maintenance and other tasks.

    Relax and enjoy a relatively maintenance-free time with your Mac. :)
  3. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    * Repair permissions occasionally and restart it every so often.
    * If it's portable, calibrate the battery every so often.
    * Download MacJanitor and run it every month (takes a few minutes)
    These are the basic things to do to keep it in decent shape.

    I'm sure that others will come along with more stuff, but follow these and you should keep your mac going for a long time.
  4. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.
    1) Stay away from File-sharing services, being a PC user, I'm sure you know why

    2) Dont use unproven haxxies. same as #1

    3) keep trash empty, trash old files no longer used, and keep your desktop as clean as possible

    4) Use one of the well-known utilities like Onyx or Cocktail for routine maintenance

    5) Dont fiddle with system-level files unless you know EXACTLY what you are doing and why and what the effects will be
  5. DevilsRejection macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2006
  6. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I totally agree.

    Although, here is my bit of advice about Macs. Don't drop it in water! I know PC's can handle water fine, but Macs have something in them that doesn't like water. And if you put it in water, the performance will degrade very noticably!
  7. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Agree for the most part, but I'd say that if you follow number 1, 2 and 5, you don't really need to any other maintenance.
  8. CoMpX macrumors 65816


    Jun 29, 2005
    New Jersey
    I agree. If you leave your Mac on (not in sleep) 24/7, it will literally maintain itself. I don't do maintenance on either of my Macs and they are both just as speedy as when they were new.

    Of course, just run Software Update regularly and verify and repair permissions after a large update.
  9. ericmjl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Sorry, but what are "haxxies"?
  10. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    About file sharing: one could always leech...

    If your like me, trying basiclly ever app there is to the point of unhealthyness, keep an eye on your system and delete all buggy things immediately (saves time, trust me). Keep some hard drive space empty, extra hard drives aren't really expensive nowadays. OSX automatically defrags small files, but if your in the habit of working with huge files (1G +) disk defrag can help a bit. Corrupt files can lead you into a death trap, so keep journaling on and if icons get screwy restart. Norton is poison for mac, waste of money, waste of time on cpu. The programs themsleves used to cause problems for me, and if you must, use it only from the CD. If you keep extra lanugage files and support files deleted, then you can reep back some hard disk space as well as some performance gain. Convert media files to efficient formats so your computer doesn't have to work so hard (and keep the original files backed up if desired). And finally, for all the permissions repairs are worth they relly on installation receits SO DON'T DELETE THEM. Besides, the files aren't big.
  11. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Haxxies are alteration programs that make your system, or an application function differnt in some way. For example, unsanity's popular ShapeShifter program acts as a system gui changer, and is a preference pane that controls and intermediate layer which runs constantly as does the system. Other haxxie 'Solutions' simply change a program's code, as might a hack, crack or patch.
  12. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    System modifications that may corrupt your system: clearDock is a haxxie cause it changes your dock transparency, something that is normally preset and cannot be changed within the system. --Am I on the right track on haxxies?
  13. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    Don't use MacJanitor or Cocktail. Please for the love of god.

    sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

    Frankly, that is all those applications do, that command line right there. OS X does all that automatically.
  14. ham_man macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2005
    Any small app that utilizes Unsanity's APE framework (read a bit more about the company here).
  15. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Why not use those apps, if they do what the system does under 'normal' conditions? Even if they are redundant, they do in a pinch (when avoiding the terminal). My fav app is main menu (soon to become shareware, I believe), and it does much more than just run cron scripts.
  16. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Don't put too many files on your Desktop. Each icon on the Desktop is treated as a separate window so too many will cause slow downs.
  17. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

    I recently removed all the stuff on my desktop, and just replaced them with alias' and I think i notice a difference, not sure....

    I have a question about keeping a Mac clean (literally) is it safe to open up my PM G5, and use a vacuum cleaner to get the dust out? I've used the compressed air can before, and it worked ok, but not perfect....

    And how many apps is too many apps to have installed ? After a while, will my system get slower from having to many freeware, and shareware apps installed ?

    Oh, and I use Onyx and it's great...
  18. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Not unless they're all running. As long as you have enough hard drive space for virtual memory and on the fly disk defragmenting, you should be fine. I've seen most people recommend at least 8GB of free hard drive space for optimal performance.
  19. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2004
    If you're on a system that isn't crammed with memory, don't be afraid to ignore the common rules and restart every day. My mini with 512MB RAM (interim step, not really powerful enough for me) bogs down a lot with the stuff I run, and it really does become quite sluggish after a day's use.

    Logging out and back in and/or restarting sorts it out though no issue.
  20. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Then we probably shouldn't use finder to burn discs. You can do it with hdiutil. Some people prefer GUI'd apps, for the love of god. ;)
  21. EGT macrumors 68000


    Sep 4, 2003
    Great utility, especially when things start to go wrong.

    It works with Tiger on PowerPC chips but not Intel as far as I'm aware. I've been using it on my Powerbook so I bloody hope it's compatible! :eek:
  22. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    In Safari go to "Safari" --Empty Cache...that will speed up things. You can also deleted saved Safari icons by deleting the folder Username/Libary/Safari/Icons

    Also I learned the hard way that you need to keep around 10 gigabytes of hard disk space free as Mac OS X seems to use a lot of virtual memory. I have been told that the OS should warn you when you get low on space, but in my case that didn't happen.

    When things are not working right, as others have mentioned I will repair disk permissions.

    But as far as long term maintenance...I mean there's nothing software wise *that I know of* you can do that will physically protect the machine. Even on a PC the worst case scenario is that you level the hard disk and re-install the OS, which I seem to do maybe once a year or so on my Mac.
  23. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I'm not so sure about that; it was definitely true in OS9, but I haven't noticed any slowdown or residual RAM/processor usage with a lot of files on the desktop...
  24. bradc macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2006
    Canader eh

    Watch Out! Vacuuming creates a lot of static electricity, which in turn could potentially ruin your computer. I use compressed air.......from my lungs:p , but if you have a few spare bucks buy a can and be done with it. It's good for getting to all those hard to reach spots.
  25. funkychunkz macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    I know it can slow login times, but I don't think it continually searches for files.

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