Keeping That zzZIP! in My Old iBook G3


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 3, 2006
Howdy! Longtime lurker, first time thread poster.

Anyway, I've got a couple of older machines [will update my sig to reflect them...], including a dual 1Ghz G4 Quicksilver tower, which I love, and a wonderful 500Mhz dual usb G3 iBook, which I've really come to love. Now, this iBook is my baby- i bought it at a garage sale in a small town in the middle of nowhere for practically nothing. The owners said they'd had it for awhile and it "conked out," I figured I'd make an offer and either recondition it or part it out.
Well, the software tests showed that the HD was bad, but that's it, so I bought a new HD from OWC and sojourned into DIY iBook repair [yes. I'm trying to put as many annoying shorthands in here as possible!], and it went well. I've broken down and rebuilt this little tyke a handful of times now, and it's running gorgeously. I've maxed out the ram at 576

In fact, I've even kept up on OSX software. Right now, I'm at 10.4.6. I've noticed that startup times have quickened with each release, and application startups, and it's been quite wonderful.

However, I've noticed more and more in my li'l pal's age, that beachballs and slowdowns become more frequent. I'm pretty good with my OSX maintenence- i do regular disk utility permissions repairs, cache cleanings, etc.

Anyway, this is really a thread about general advice: For those of you who have some of the more middle-age macs, the learnéd elder statesmen, what techniques do you use to keep that PEP in its step? How do you keep it zippy, clean, and fresh? Even for simple tasks- web browsing, emails, document creation- what programs do you use too keep things running smooth?



macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2004
Inland Empire
Onyx works wonders. But you probably already use it.

I really try to ease up on the third-party apps running in the background, which seems to avoid most beach balls. I think the only things running are ClamXAV, TechTool, Quicksilver and a Haxie or two. On my newer iMac, I've got all sorts of stuff set to launch on login: Growl, GrowlTunes, Desktops Manager, MenuMeters, Disctop etc.

One question on the HD replacement. Was it a real doozy? I've been thinking about upping the 10GB HD to something more useable, but the how-to on iFixit looks like I'd be weeping in about 5 minutes.


Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
I have that exact machine running Tiger on 384 MB of RAM and the original 10 GB hard drive. It's still plenty serviceable for web surfing, e-mail, word processing, light Photoshop.

I don't really do much to keep in shape. I did a clean install when I moved it to Tiger a few months ago and saw a big speed increase over when I was running Panther. I hadn't noticed that much of a speed increase on my other machines when I upgraded, so I'd imagine that most of the increase was from getting rid of all the garbage that had built up over almost five years of use.

Due to my limited hard drive space, I've minimized my OS install to about 3.5 GB in order to get rid of a lot of the bloat.

But since you've put a new hard drive in, you seem to have plenty of space and a fresh install to work with.

OnyX is useful for cleaning up things once in awhile, but I don't really use it all that much.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 3, 2006
Hey- huge thanks for these thoughts- they're very helpful already.

Actually, I don't use OnyX- I've become accustomed to Cocktail, but I'd be interested to hear more about OnyX.

I think you're right about third party apps- possibly even permissions files that may have gotten out of whack...? I know that some people recommend full clean system installs once a year, but I've just done the system upgrades since the HD replacement- not clean installs. I did custom installs and got rid of all the language and printer drivers I don't use- obviously most of them...

I think you're right about bg apps- that's probably a huge bottleneck. I should spend more time with a system resources App- any recommendations? ones that won't take up huge system resources on this old machine?

eji- re: the HD replacement -
it is quite a task, though, it's also not so bad if you plan ahead, do your research, and keep careful track of the screws. I'm not at all a computer engineer, and I was able to do it without any serious errors. There are ample chances to screw up, so paying attention is vital. There are slews of websites and threads detailing the best path to do these replacements, so with a little research, you'll be fine. All you need, honestly, are a T8 screwdriver [I think it's a T8...], a lot of patience, and a laptop HD of the same size that you're taking out. [I'm really simplifying here, but you get my drift.] I swapped the failed 10 GB drive for a 40 GB Toshiba drive that works very nicely. I'd be happy to give you some more tips and links if you want to PM me. All told, for an amateur like me, it took about 3 hours, maybe 3.5 hours. Again, there are tons of things to screw up, so being patient and careful is very important. But really, it was worth my time and money.