How efficient is OSX at staying fresh?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by LonezWolf1991, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. LonezWolf1991 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    I would like to ask some people who have been using their macs for quite a while about how efficient the operating system is at staying fast. After numerous app installations and removals, as well as using it for a few months, does OS X show any signs of becoming slower?
  2. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    I usually keep my MBAs high on storage so as fast as when I first got them!
  3. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Back in PC days, I'd reinstall the OS at least twice a year.

    Since moving to Apple since 2005 - I've only reinstalled when upgrading my OS - and one one of my machines, the OS is over 4 years old - original install - and it's just as quick today, as it was when new.

    Now, on my iMac (2006), it's starting to feel its age - but not due to the OS, more to do with higher demands today. 98% of my pain has to due with Flash. All other aspects are solid.

    As for continuous uptime - my Mini *until power outages from weather 2 weeks ago* was on its 40th day. Still fast, no hangs, no issues. Bummed about the weather, wanted to see how much longer I could go without having to restart it.
  4. munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    As long as the drive has more than 10% free space, Mac OS X will automatically defragment in the background.

    Mac OS X has many automatic built in maintenance scripts that keep the system running efficiently by default.

    Unless you use programs that create large logs and/or caches, there is no need to perform any maintenance beyond the amount performed by OS X.

    If you find that you are running out of free space due to an unknown reason, it is possible that this is occurring due to files and folders associated with a third party app.

    The only maintenance app that I would recommend at the moment to deal with such issues in Onyx.
  5. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    My current installation goes many years back. I got my first Mac with tiger which I at some point upgraded to leopard and later to snow leopard. There were no performance issues over the years, never slowed down a bit. Never filled up the harddrive completly - always kept at least 10% free (Guess that recommendation goes for every OS). When I got my new Mac (upgraded from 21'' to 27'') I just cloned the harddrive to the new mac and at some point upgraded to Lion.

    Bottom line: I still use my original installation from many years ago which I just upgraded from time to time to the latest version of the OS - no reinstall, nothing lost, no slow downs over time.
  6. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    Nothing is really needed.

    The more you use it the better it becomes, indexing for spotlight/search.

    Every once in a while I have to reset Safari (clear cookies, etc).

    It is better to focus your concern doing some backups, besides Time Machine clone your Hard Disk frequently to play it safe, for this you can use Disk Utility, Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper.
  7. Gamoe macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2006
    It's pretty good at keeping things humming along install after install. I still think a clean install is a good idea, but considering the time it takes to carefully backup and check for anything important its something I only do once every few years.

    I've taken to separating my OS and home folder on separate partitions, making it a little easier for backup and clean install purposes.
  8. LonezWolf1991 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2009
    Some interesting responses, I usually clean install after each year in college in order to get rid of all the garbage it accumulated during school use but seeing how good it is at staying clean, I don't think that would be necessary, especially since I now have an SSD and it would waste writes.
  9. farmermac macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2009

    Not that that's a bad thing to do, but it's definitely windowsey (and a waste of time)
  10. speacock macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    In our home office we have 2 Macs, 3 Windows PCs and a FreeNAS system.

    I don't do a lot of installing and removing of software on any of these systems, which is one of the biggest causes of OS based slowdowns, so for us, the main issue is the slowdown introduced by general clutter, updates and fragmentation.

    Two of the Windows PCs are running Windows 7 one is running XP. The XP machine, with its 4 year old OS install is creaking now and in desperate need of a rebuild but I can't be bothered as the PC is a 9 year old P4 and used only very occasionally. The 2 Windows 7 systems, both around 18 months old and with the same build since new are fine. There has been a slowdown since new, but not significant and only really noticeable at boot time.

    The two Macs are both running OS X Leopard (no real reason to upgrade at present and one is a G5 anyway). One is a 3 year old Intel based laptop that only gets very light use, it has slowed down since new, but again not significantly. The other is a 6 year old very heavily used PowerMac G5, which is used by my partner all day every day for her work as a designer. I rebuilt that for her about 2 years ago and it is now in desperate need of another rebuild as it has got painfully slow and very unreliable. Again, I've not bothered because she doesn't want the hassle and we know we're going to be upgrading it to a new one sometime in the fairly near future (if only Apple would make a model that suited her needs, we're waiting and hoping that the expected new MacPro may fit the bill). It seems to need a rebuild roughly every 2-3 years, simply because it slows down and becomes unreliable. As I say, the Intel one hasn't suffered this problem but then is not really used.

    I fully expect the FreeNAS system to go on at the same level of performance until it breaks, but it's too early to judge yet.

    In my work, I deal with estates of many thousands of Wintel machines (and occasionally far smaller numbers of Macs). I can say that as a general rule, in a well managed environment, somewhere around 2-4 years is typical before you start to see slowdowns on a Windows system, though W7 seems to be a little better than XP.

    I'm sure either platform would go on indefinitely if you don't update and patch them, but that would be stupid.

    Neither Windows nor Mac OS X seem to need defragmentation these days and if you have an SSD it makes very little difference as seek time doesn't really come into it. Just keep your disk less than about 70% full.

    Rebuilding either will make them speed up, but adding all the patches and updates after the rebuild will slow them down again (though not by as much). In the Windows world you overcome this by slipstreaming the patches (updating the install media to include them during install rather than adding them after the event - handy in large envrironments but a pain for home use - it'd be much better if you could just download a new updated version of the install media). I don't know is whether you can slipstream OS X updates the same way you can Windows ones? Anyone know and care to comment?

    So, in summary, any system that is used a lot and has had the same OS install for a few years will slow down, adding and removing software frequently is a major contributor to this and is best avoided, patches and updates are also a contributor. In my experience, Windows slows down a little more than Mac OS X does, however, Mac OS X seems to become more unstable.

    The bottom line - if your system is slow or unstable and has had the same OS build for a couple of years, then it's worth trying a rebuild, whether it's Mac or Windows.


    I'd agree it's probably a waste of time unless the system is noticeably slower or has become unstable, however, you don't need to worry about 'wasting writes'. Your SSD will very likely outlive the useful life of the rest of your computer, depending which SSD it is, it could theoretically outlive you.
  11. mreg376 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Actually, no. That's one the key differences with Windows (although I don't know about Windows 7). OS X doesn't deteriorate on its own just because you're asking it to do what it's supposed to do.

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