No rot yet. Is there OS X rot?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by hugodrax, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    Coming from the world of Microsoft. (since PC XT era) I always remembered the good old Windows rot (ie XP etc..) where after a while the PC becomes less efficient (HD starts blinking more, memory usage gets higher,slower performance) ie: Windows rot.

    Does the equivalent exist for OS X? Is there a annual reformat,reinstall for max performance duty? or a longer timespan before it happens.
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Mostly no. The one thing like this of which not all new users are aware is that OS X really needs a lot of free HD space... you want to avoid if at all possible having less than about 8GB of free space on your boot drive, and if possible, you want to keep 15-20% of formatted capacity free on it. That's a little weird, but some things are not incorporated in the reported used space on the drive, and OS X will be happier with you if you do this. That's not really creep -- if it happens, just delete some files and you'll be fine. But it's the closest thing I've seen.
  3. McGiord, Feb 3, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    Nothing to worry.
    From time to time is good to repair permissions, but nothing like the PC world.
    Model N
  4. Sorkvild macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2007
    As far as I know, nope. All my Macs have performed just like the day they were bought. I think the only thing that can possibly create noticeable slowdowns is keeping your hard drive with less than 10% free space and having minimal memory.
  5. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2004
    I've used both PCs from Win 95 up to XP and OS X from the beginning to the Leopard. OS X, for me, does NOT rot. It's very stable so I'm very happy that I switched in 2000. In fact, my office still runs Panther on several Powermac towers without any performance degradation.
  6. hugodrax thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007

    Ohh good to know, I only have 7.5GB left on the main drive on my mac pro. Is this because of the built in defrag with OS X?
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    No. No rot.

    I only get a clean install when I get a new computer - every couple or three years, these days.

    I rarely even restart - I just put it to sleep when not in use. Even when I take the MBP "on the road" and change from external monitor & drives to notebook mode, I just unmount the drives, put the machine to sleep, then disconnect everything. When I get home, do the reverse and it wakes up with external monitor, etc., perfectly fine.

    This isn't to say I never have problems - just that they really are rare and usually don't require restarting (and certainly don't require any sort of OS reinstall).
  8. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    I'll pull out my real-world case: Dual G4 Mac. :)

    We installed Panther on it when it first came out. And the same installation stayed until we installed Leopard. In 4 years, we noticed no rot.
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Maybe... I'm honestly not sure. What I know is that when I had Panther on my iBook, I could get by fine with about 5GB of free space. Then Tiger started really lagging, and when I got up to about 12-14GB of free space, it really dramatically improved in performance. Another user, Mitthrawnuruodo, I believe, had a similar experience with his. So we speculated it had more to do with Spotlight than anything else, since the filesystem didn't really change between Panther and Tiger.

    Anyway, on a Mac Pro, you have the easy option of buying another 750 or 1TB and throwing it in an available bay. ;)
  10. iCeFuSiOn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    No, Mac OS X does not rot. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your Mac running well:

    1. Leave it on overnight if it is a desktop, even if it's just one or two nights a week, so that the maintenance scripts can run and clear the temporary caches and other things. Alternatively, you can run the scripts from the Terminal (sudo periodic daily weekly monthly) which will run all of the maintenance scripts -- note that this will take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to fully complete if you do them all at once.

    2. Repair permissions after performing any major updates or software installations using to make sure the correct permissions are set.

    3. Empty your browser cache every few weeks to clean up any collected internet cruft that may be kicking around on the hard drive.

    4. If you're always logged into your Mac, it may be a good idea to log out once a week or so just to clear out some caches, close down some processes that may have "run away (meaning they may leak resources if they are a background process that were installed with a third party application for instance). So just log out and back in and you'll be ready to take on the world again.

    Other than that, there's nothing that you'd really need to do on set basis -- unlike Windows, Mac OS X doesn't get 'bit rot' at all really, it's built on top of UNIX/BSD, so that should be a general indication that it's stable as a rock. I've seen an older G4 PowerMac at my school running the same installation of Mac OS X 10.4 since it came out and it's never died.
  11. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    Not really, and it comes down to a difference in philosophy. In Windows, there is a tendency towards big central blobs of data. In the Unix and OS X world, the tendency is towards lots of small blobs of data, where you only load the bits you need, when you need it.

    Windows tends to take performance hits as lots of apps are installed (and uninstalling them doesn't always restore previous performance)... while in Unix and OS X take performance hits as lots of apps are launched and active.

    In defense of Windows though, a lot of the problem is partly due to old code that they can't get rid of. They had to decide between fixing an old mistake, or not breaking 100% of Windows apps. Not really a hard choice if you think about it.
  12. nxent macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2004
    not that i notice, my g5 runs 24/7 and i don't notice anything-
  13. Amdahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    In Leopard...

    In Leopard, the Safari cache is stored in one file that grows to about 180MB. During the growth phase, it will fragment badly. What I do is copy the Cache.db file to another location, delete the original, and then move the copy back to the original location. This gives you a significantly less fragmented Cache, and since it doesn't grow over 180MB, it will stay much less fragmented.

    Compared to XP & NTFS, OS X is a bit harder to fragment. Operating at over 90% hard disc capacity definitely worsens things though, same as on XP.
  14. hodgjy macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2005
    I've always believe this and tell this to others...

    The best thing you can do for a Windows machine is leave it turned off. You can't get viruses, spyware, defragmented files, and other clutter that way. In other words, you also can't get what you call "Windows rot."

    The best thing you can do for a Mac is leave it on 24/7. It runs all its maintenance scripts in the whee hours of the morning to keep OS X in tip-top shape and self-defragments most files when in use.

    That's all you need to know about what computer system to use--the one that works better when actually turned on.
  15. hugodrax thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    cool to know some of these tips, my uptime is 42 days so far :) since last reboot due to an apple update. I need to take the ones I keep ignoring might as well do them today. I ran sudo periodic daily weekly monthly now.

    I do appreciate though the robustness of this OS.
  16. iCeFuSiOn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    What version of Mac OS X are you running on your computer? :)
  17. hugodrax thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    I am running 10.5.1

    The upgrade from 10.4.10 to 10.5.0 -> 10.5.1 was also very smooth. no problems or issues.
  18. iCeFuSiOn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Good to hear that you haven't had any issues especially with the upgrade, did you do an Archive and Install or just an upgrade?
  19. hugodrax thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    I just did the upgrade and my programs worked fine, I was gunshy at first upgrading a working system especially with a new release but to my surprised it worked out well.
  20. ZacUSNYR macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    03:34:58 up 405 days, 1:43, 1 user, load average: 0.05, 0.06, 0.00

    Not mac osx but my linux web server - rock stable and still running smooth.

    I'm lucky to get 30 days out of my Windows servers
  21. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    The one legacy Windows server I have to support usually gets a restart every 14 days. Likewise I have some linux machines that have been up 345 days and counting. Though, my ubuntu servers were restarted today to effect a kernel update. Uptime bragging rights are nice, but for me security trumps long continuous uptimes. :)

Share This Page