How to use OnyX? (and; defragging?)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Airbase, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. Airbase macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    So it has been a year since i did any significant system/OS maintenance on my Macbook 2.2ghz santa rosa. Everything seems to be working great, i went from 2gb ram to 4gb for christmas, and everything seems to be fine.

    But i would like to make sure i am at peak performance... i did a little digging and i discovered a program called OnyX which is a utility for system/OS cleanup and overall maintenance.

    I'm posting this so that i can ask for advice on how to use it, i dont know which options are safe, what caches to delete etc...

    I just want to make sure my mac is optimized and running well. No problems yet, but i thought it might be time, as it's been over a year since i did anything but use it.

    Also.... should i defrag my mac? I have been told macs defrag themselves, and i've also been told defragging improves performance in spite of those claims.

    thanks yall!
  2. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

    May 8, 2008
    OnyX is a really good app. I use it once every couple months.

    As far as cleaning caches go, you can pretty much sweep them all. The only ones that I don't sweep are "Desktop Background", "ColorSync", "Browser History", and "Cookies". It's a pain to have to go back and enter in emails, usernames, and passwords for websites.

    After you clean the catches, restart and repair disk permissions.

    Also what's nice about it is how you can enable hidden features. Mainly the "Quit Finder" option and the "Show path of files in window title" option.

    Have fun making your Mac like new again!
  3. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    If you don't have any problems, you don't need to use OnyX. Yes, I'm serious -- there is no reason to bother messing about with all sorts of power user utilities if you haven't encountered any issues.

    I hate to burst Chase R's bubble, but he's actually impairing the performance of his Mac by deleting all his caches regularly. Mac OS X will rebuild them, but it takes time and, assuming he didn't have any problems before, provides no benefit.

    No need. Mac OS X does perform some on-the-fly defragging, but that's not the real reason that you don't have to defrag manually. Truth is, defragging does produce a performance improvement, but it's usually so minor as to not be worth the time it takes to defrag. There are some circumstances where it might help, but they're edge cases; for almost every "typical" user there is absolutely no need to defragment manually if you're using OS X.

    There is just one small piece of maintenance I'd recommend. Every month, open up Disk Utility, select your startup disk, and verify disk permissions. If any mismatches are found, repair disk permissions. After that, verify the filesystem. If it finds any errors, boot from your Mac OS X CD, select "Disk Utility" from the menu, and repair the filesystem.

    Other than that, there's not much you have to do.
  4. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

    May 8, 2008
    I agree with you here. I know that OS X will rebuild the catches and stuff but it really doesn't take a whole lot of time, as long as you don't let OnyX delete the indexes for Mail and Spotlight (which I don't do). Most of the cleaning is probably unnecessary but it's nice knowing that the caches contain current data only and not stuff that is not in use.
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Gotta go with ppc750fx here. It doesn't matter how little time rebuilding the caches take if it is time wasted. And it is time wasted. Back in the day, I used to run Cocktail until it was no longer free and then OnyX. However, since Apple added journalling to HFS+, OnyX ceased to provide any measurable benefit.

    I still have OnyX installed but have not run it in maybe two years. Disk First Aid within Disk Utility? Nothing found. Following some abnormal shutdowns, I have run File System Check (fsck -fy) in Single User Mode. It reported repairs to orphaned clusters. I had no perceptible performance issues prior to running fsck. I noticed no improvement after running it.

    Long story short--routine maintenance is an artifact of a bygone era. If you have done nothing that you suspect caused a problem, then running maintenance utilities makes scanning for viruses look like a vital National security issue.
  6. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    I dunno -- there is something to be said for checking permissions regularly, since a lot of installer postflight scripts tend to screw with things they shouldn't (ahem -- Microsoft).

    Still, using stuff like OnyX regularly isn't really that useful, and actually will undermine some of the stuff that the OS does (like hot file clustering, heavy caching, etc.)
  7. scubasteve03 macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2008
    Tulsa, OK

    I tend to copy and delete large files quite often, mostly HD video from my camera. My question is, would it not be useful to use something like IDefrag every once in a while? Most files are between 5-10GB and I know OS X does not degrag anything above 20mb. What do you guys think about defragging occasionally in my situation? I recently upgraded my HD to a 500gb 5400rpm WD Scorpio. There was a significant improvement in boot times and seek times. I think it had alot to do with it being a completely defragged hd.
  8. malachiman macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    New Zealand
    I find a performance difference after a defrag, but like you I do work with a lot of large video files. I don't have any where near the problem with decreased performance like when I edited on a Windows system.

    For your usual home use, I don't think you need to really worry about it.
  9. SimonMW macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    I have found it essential to clean preferences and caches using Onyx, especially after Quicktime updates. For a long time after one QT update I was getting all sorts of issues in FCP. I cleaned out the caches with Onyx and everything was perfect.
  10. messedkid macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2007
    Oshawa, ON
    I only use it to set my dock in the bottom right corner of my screen.

    YAY OnyX! :p
  11. Airbase thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
    well thanks for the info guys, it helped. I went ahead and looked at iDefrag for curiosity's sake and it showed that my drive was heavily fragmented. I ran it through a "quick(online)" algorithm, seems to have helped.
  12. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    Sigh. Well at least snake oil sales seem to be recession-proof... :D
  13. Airbase thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2009
  14. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    You do know that you don't need Onyx for that right? Just open the "Dock" pane in System Preferences (or Control+click in an unused section of the Dock) and you can set it to postion left, center or right.
  15. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    iDefrag will in fact defrag your hard drive. Unfortunately, this is the modern equivalent of buying one of those bottles of fuel injector cleaner and adding it to your tank. It does exactly what it says on the tin, but it's an operation that is completely unnecessary for all but a very, very few edge cases. As such, you've paid money for a product that produces no practical benefit.

    I think he did. If you re-read his post, you'll note that he said "bottom right", which makes me think that he changed both the dock position *and* the dock pinning, the latter setting being inaccessible through the Dock PrefPane.
  16. chowmein macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2009
    After performing a full defrag on my iMac using Target Disk Mode, my Mac starts up in a total of five seconds after the apple icon and the spinning wheel appears. :D
  17. Stachelsk macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2008
    Ok. Either
    A) You sell iDefrag and are attempting to promote it.
    B) You have one of the best Intel SSDs with no extensions loaded.
    C) You're just lying for the sake of lying.
  18. shmerls macrumors member


    Apr 9, 2009
    white plains
    MisterMe... I'm hear because I too am experiencing abnormal shutdowns/restarts. I thought it was because of some trojans that I found on my drive or possibly a problem with Parallels/XP.

    I ran ClamXav and deleted the 4 trojans, ran the virus software I have within my XP machine and found no malware at all interestingly.

    The problem went away for awhile and then started up again. So I thought maybe I should use Onyx, but I'm in full agreement with the conservatives here. It's been years since I used it - so I'm surfing looking for advise on how/when to use it, what to clean, what not. My gut still is not to.

    But what was your crashing about and how did you diagnose it and solve it? It's not fully clear from your post.

    Also is FSCK a separate app? Or within Onyx. Didn't see it there. Thanks.
  19. Corrosive vinyl macrumors 6502

    Corrosive vinyl

    Sep 22, 2006
    fsck is part of the base BSD system. It is part of the base BSD install when you first install the OS. Windows has a similar process.
  20. Edmond4 macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2006
    I totally Laugh to Think How Many Deny Fragmentation as an Issue

    I just finished installing OS X 10.8, and I loath how long it takes to boot up. Man, you should hear that bootup hard drive. It hard core needs major de-fragging.

    I guess I can write it to a disk, then write it back to the boot disk anew, and it will re-write everything fairly clean. I've constantly heard people dismiss the notion that running a mac OS eliminates the need for defragmenting. Well, nonsense. You couldn't listen to my bootup hard drive and tell me it doesn't need some serious defrag work. Failing to do something, will wear this thing out pretty fast.
  21. benwiggy, Feb 26, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

    benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Nonsense yourself!. 10.8 should normally boot up very quickly on modern hardware. And OS X uses a number of techniques that mean defragmentation is unnecessary for most uses.
    Sounds more like you may have a hardware problem with your drive.
    Generally, you do not need to do any maintenance to OS X, unless you have a problem. Repairing Permissions does nothing. Emptying caches makes things slower.
    If you want to buy defrag software, then you're probably interested in this snake oil I've got.

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