Maintenance Issues

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Rhobes, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Rhobes macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2004
    Bigfork, MT
    Hi All-

    Are there any things that can be done/run in an effort to maintain my iMac with El Capitan?

    I used to, from time to time: Zap Pram, Repair Permissions, Run FSCK. I can't tell you what zapping and fsck did but you could see that you repaired permissions, which now we can't do. I always did these thing in prep for installing new updates or software, whether it did much I don't know but at least you felt you were trying to maintain your computer.

    Someone mentioned once that the iMac would automatically run systems maintenance but I have never found anything like that on my iMac that I know of.

    So, basically we just ignore everything and go about our business until the computers slow and stop, junk them and buy another?

  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Mostly, yes, OS X pretty much takes care of itself, and can continue to work, without looking forward to the penultimate "slowdown" resulting in the death/junking of your system. Doesn't really happen for THAT reason :D

    You can't run a repair permissions from the El Capitan Disk Utility.
    Apple says that is not a useful maintenance tool (and it really never fixed anything, even though you would see "repairs", no true fixes result, other than the relatively-rare permissions issue the would be affected by a permissions "repair". Most users would never actually see that type of issue.
    Apple, as far as I can tell, decided that permissions don't actually need repairing, when the system prevents that in the first place.
    But, you can always do the PRAM reset (which makes interesting beeping noises when you do it several times), and the FSCK in single-mode is a quick way to tell if you are having issues with your hard drive. Sometimes fixes hard drive issues, so it's a Good Thing™!
    If you want to clean out your user caches, that can be helpful, too. OnyX app remains a pretty reliable maintenance utility, if you want to run that from time to time.
    Other users may share their thoughts, too.
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    When I was using Yosemite, reinstalling the whole OS was my main way to do maintenance, when I was not aware of Time Machine.
    In El Capitan era, I find myself does fewer and fewer OS maintenance. And my current El Capitan was installed from the first beta of it, all the way to 10.11.2. Yeah, not the latest because I didn't find a chance to install it.
    Now, it runs nearly 30 days without rebooting or even login out. I am rather appreciated. Apple has done very great job of maintaining a stable system, even though SIP is turned off by me.
    You might consider this description as an experience report. Well, I think, you may not need to do that much maintenance while using El Capitan. It is stable enough.
  4. KALLT, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    No. You come here and ask for help or search for a solution yourself. Problems usually have a cause that can be dealt with specifically.

    Resetting PRAM/NVRAM, repairing permissions and doing a “Fsck” are not meant for routine but for solving specific problems. Resetting your NVRAM can solve hardware-related problems that rely on faulty or corrupted data stored in the device’s NVRAM, like the current sound level, screen resolution, startup disk and so forth. Repairing permissions is an operation that compares the default permissions of system files and folders with the installer packages and attempts to restore them if they deviate. Sometimes, wrong permissions can result in programs not being able to read/write/execute certain files or folders and only then is this a problem. In El Capitan, with System Integrity Protection turned on, these permissions cannot be changed other than by privileged (Apple) programs. Fsck is a filesystem check that is used to verify and repair the filesystem on a disk, like your main drive. It is integrated into Disk Utility, in El Capitan this action is called First Aid. As the latter name suggests, this is something you want to use if your drive is causing problems. I believe that OS X also does a Fsck whenever it has trouble booting, so there is rarely a need to use this on your main drive.

    All of these can solve specific problems, but using them randomly is redundant and a waste of your time.
  5. SRLMJ23 Contributor


    Jul 11, 2008
    In between Syracuse, NY and Albany, NY
    Try this sometimes:

    Back up all data. Don't continue unless you're sure you can restore from a backup, even if you're unable to log in.

    This procedure will unlock all your user files (not system files) and reset their ownership and access-control lists to the default. If you've set special values for those attributes on any of your files, they will be reverted. In that case, either stop here, or be prepared to recreate the settings if necessary. Do so only after verifying that those settings didn't cause the problem. If none of this is meaningful to you, you don't need to worry about it.

    Step 1

    If you have more than one user account, and the one in question is not an administrator account, then temporarily promote it to administrator status in the Users & Groups preference pane. To do that, unlock the preference pane using the credentials of an administrator, check the box marked Allow user to administer this computer, then reboot. You can demote the problem account back to standard status when this step has been completed.

    Enter the following command in the Terminal window in the same way as before (triple-click, copy, and paste):

    { sudo chflags -R nouchg,nouappnd ~ $TMPDIR.. ; sudo chown -R $UID:staff ~ $_ ; sudo chmod -R u+rwX ~ $_ ; chmod -R -N ~ $_ ; } 2> /dev/null

    This time you'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning to be careful. If you don’t have a login password, you’ll need to set one before you can run the command. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator.

    The command will take a noticeable amount of time to run. Wait for a new line ending in a dollar sign (“$”) to appear, then quit Terminal.

    Step 2 (optional)

    Take this step only if you have trouble with Step 1 or if it doesn't solve the problem.

    Boot into Recovery. When the OS X Utilities screen appears, select

    Utilities ▹ Terminal

    from the menu bar. A Terminal window will open.

    In the Terminal window, type this:


    Press the tab key. The partial command you typed will automatically be completed to this:


    Press return. A Reset Password window will open. You’re not going to reset a password.

    Select your boot volume ("Macintosh HD," unless you gave it a different name) if not already selected.

    Select your username from the menu labeled Select the user account if not already selected.

    Under Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs, click the Reset button.


     ▹ Restart

    from the menu bar.

  6. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    I agree with Kallt that permission repairs rarely made a difference. If you feel the need to do that in El Capitan, you can still do it by downloading the freeware ONYX:

    You can also run First Aid from Disk Utility.

    Really, though, OS X needs little maintenance. Messing around with complicated terminal commands is asking for trouble unless you know what you are doing, in my opinion.
  7. Rhobes thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2004
    Bigfork, MT
    Thanks for all the insights everyone. Guess we'll just let it roll.

    One other question though. Is there any benefit to shutting your computer down rather then just putting it asleep when done for the day?
  8. Honza1 macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2013
    Not much.

    My Mac computers routinely go 20-30 days between reboots and there is no obvious impact on their performance.

    If some program gets really screwed up and finding/killing its processes is challenge, it may be easier to reboot. It happens, but rarely problem of the OS itself.
  9. KALLT, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    First Aid does not check/repair file permissions, it only does a file-system check/repair. If you really, really must check/repair permissions, then you can still use a system tool. It is pretty straightforward:
    However, unless System Integrity Protection is turned off and you have reason to believe that third-party programs with root privileges have broken permissions, there is really no reason to do this. If there are bugs in Apple’s programs that change permissions then you are trying to empty the ocean with a thimble.
  10. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    Perhaps my last post was ambiguous. I was not suggesting that First Aid repaired permissions. I was suggesting it as an alternative test to run. Onyx will prepare permissions from a GUI without having to mess with terminal.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 14, 2016 ---
    Re: "Is there any benefit to shutting your computer down rather then just putting it asleep when done for the day?"

    Actually, there is a benefit to not shutting down. The Mac automatically runs some maintenance scripts every night at 3:00 am and it won't do this if it is shut down.

    Having said that, it is probably useful to do an occasional reboot to clear stuff out of memory.
  11. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    The system will catch up and execute missed scripts automatically upon launch. I think this has not been a problem since Tiger. I personally do not use or even recommend Onyx. It runs with root privileges and acquires them with a non-standard prompt. That is an accident waiting to happen and there have been issues with it in the past. For me, Onyx is just an unnecessary risk for what it does and I would only use it if nothing else helps.

    I stand by my first point: there is just no reason to even use these tools unless you have a concrete problem that needs to be solved. Apple goes to great lengths to reduce manual maintenance and OS X is just so much more enjoyable because of this. I still do not see why there is even so much demand for this in these forums.
  12. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014

    Doubt it, OSX will just have to work out again how to usefully use your RAM...

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