OS X a bit slow

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by knew2mack, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. knew2mack macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #1
    Hi,
    I have gotten some advice as to speeding up my Mac a bit, that I don't quite understand completely. Bear with me, I am green....very!! I was told to go to my Activity Monitor because things don't necessarily 'quit' just by closing out the window. I go to Activity Monitor and there are tons of things there, I just don't know what I am reading, nor, what I'm looking for. If I click on something, should I then click on 'quit process?' I am under the impression here that I should have ALL processes quit but I am afraid I will delete something vital and be completely screwed.

    I have it open now -- here is an example --

    PID Process Name User CPU THR RSIZE VSIZE Kind

    294 md worker myname 0.0 4 4.61MB 634.87MB Intel
    1154 iPhoto myname 0.0 12 55.84MB 1.03GB Intel

    then below this huge list of 27 different things --
    CPU/ SYSTEM MEMORY/ DISK ACTIVITY/ DISK USAGE/ NETWORK
    Free
    Wired
    Active
    Inactive
    Used

    with various numbers, all of which, I have no idea what I am reading. All except for Free......which, I don't really have tons of things on my computer. I bought it just under a year ago and it seems to me that there should be more space. This is why I am unsure of whether or not to 'quit' these processes and WHAT ones to quit.
    The pie chart right next to these numbers mentioned above claims that HALF of my memory is Active!!

    I know there is something I could do and it would probably make things a lot quicker for my system, I just hardly know anything about computers. Please, please, someone out there, help this 'green' girl out!!!! Don't forget....Layman's (laywoman's):) terms please.

    Thank you so much!!!
    Dawn
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    To see if you have actually quit an application, just look at the Dock and see if it has a glowing dot under the application symbol. If that dot is there, the application is still running.

    Also by pressing CMD + TAB you can switch between open applications, even if they don't have a window open right now.

    To quit most applications you have to CMD+Q or go to Menu Bar > Safari (example, it can also be iPhoto, just click on the bold name of the application) > Quit.

    Activity Monitor shows all running processes (if you choose to)
    [​IMG] and their current CPU and RAM (your memory) uses.


    The memory you speak of is not your hard drive space but the memory also know as RAM (Random Access Memory) where open applications are stored for quicker access.

    To have a better understanding of the Activity Monitor:
    http://www.ehow.com/about_5374100_activity-monitor-explained.html

    and Mac OS X: http://www.apple.com/findouthow/mac/


    You could repair permissions to maybe speed up your Mac: http://kb.iu.edu/data/aoxn.html
     
  3. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #3
    Yeah, thank you. I am going to check out those links you gave me. I do understand on how to check my dock to see if something is still running. Where I am confused is this....I see your screenshot....should I quit my processes and would quitting them actually speed me up any? I just want to stop anything unnecessary for my daily use. I'm gonna go check out those links and hopefully my confusion will clear up a bit. If not, you will definitely find me back here.

    Thanks so much
    Dawn
     
  4. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #4
    Speed still not solved

    ok....I checked out those links you sent me, spinnerlys, thank you, but, although I feel a bit more knowledgeable about Activity Monitor, I am still confused. What processes can I go ahead and quit?? I just know that all of the things that it says are still running or are 'active' could be closed, or rather, 'quit' ......Does anyone know if there is a standard of what a 'normal' Activity Monitor should look like?? What about any other options to speeding up my machine?? It's subtle delays in many things, not that it's running extremely slow, but little things, start up, going from tab to tab, even scrolling is sometimes delayed. Oh, one more quick thing, if the information on a computer is not as organized as it should/could be, could that have an effect on it's speed??
    thanks so much for the help!!!
    dawn
     
  5. Cboss macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    If I were you I wouldn't worry about the activity monitor at all. I VERY rarely look at it myself, and there are many things in there that should not be quit. You might try downloading iStat Pro:

    http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatpro/

    It will show you how much of your CPU is being used and many other useful things. It shows the 5 processes that are taking up the most CPU and how much each is using. Note that the percents are out of 200% total, since you have a dual core machine.

    You might also try going into Disk Utility and repairing disk permissions, that often fixes many slowdowns that people have.
     
  6. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    #6
    I find that running the command 'sudo periodic daily weekly monthly' does lead to faster machine....There is no visual feedback while the scripts execute. You will know they are completed when the Terminal prompt returns....I do this because my Mac is on all the time...I shut it down only once in a month...

    of course...if your issue is lack of RAM memory..you need to cleanup...maybe there are few programs which start up along with your machine....to check this out, goto the 'Accounts' tab in System Prefs and click on the 'Login Items' tab...

    You can also try out the tool 'Onyx'
     
  7. bankshot macrumors 65816

    bankshot

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #7
    For the original poster - be very careful about forcing processes to quit via Activity Monitor. In general, anything listed there without a mini-icon is a background process that is necessary to the healthy operation of Mac OS X. Kill those at your own risk! :eek:

    For example, you mention mdworker - that is the process that indexes files for Spotlight. While killing it probably won't corrupt the Spotlight database, you're better off leaving it around. Besides, it's setup to automatically come back in a short time to finish its work. If it didn't, then Spotlight wouldn't work properly.

    I guarantee this is purely psychological. ;) The periodic scripts only clean up logs and temporary files - most of which are normally never generated in the first place on a typical OS X system. And the few that are relevant to a typical OS X system would not possibly cause any slowdown. Here's a list of what the periodic scripts do in Snow Leopard:


    • Remove files in /Library/Logs/CrashReporter older than 60 days. If this is never done, you might eventually get a number of files sitting around here (only if you have a lot of application crashes) but it certainly won't affect the speed of anything whatsoever.
    • Remove files in /tmp older than 3 days. Again, leaving these around forever won't slow anything down.
    • Remove old unix-style system messages. These are never used in regular OS X.
    • Remove old unix "rwho" files older than 7 days. This is never, ever used in modern OS X, so these files are never created in the first place. Like the one above, it's just an unused leftover from the unix days of old.
    • Remove scratch fax files older than 7 days.
    • Rotate system accounting log files. System accounting is always turned off in client OS X, thus there is never anything to do here.
    • Print a summary of disk usage. No maintenance is done at all.
    • Print a summary of network status, no maintenance.
    • Print the machine uptime and load average, no maintenance.
    • Rebuild the unix man page database (weekly). If you don't use the unix 'man' command, this does not affect you.
    • Rotate fax log files (monthly).

    Like I said, none of the above will affect the speed of a system one iota, and nothing bad will happen if it never gets run at all. For the curious, the results of these maintenance commands are stored in /var/log/daily.out, /var/log/weekly.out, and /var/log/monthly.out. You can view them in Console (/Applications/Utilities) or in Terminal if you're handy with a unix command line.

    In that case, there's even more reason not to bother running the command directly. As the name suggests, the periodic commands are automatically run by the system - on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. No need to do it yourself. ;)

    Honestly, running the periodic scripts is in the same class of Mac voodoo as repairing permissions or insisting that everything should be Cocoa and/or 64-bit without really understanding why or whether it even makes a positive difference. :rolleyes:
     
  8. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #8
    getting there....but still not solved

    Thanks to everyone trying to get this girl to understand her Mac. Please write in laywoman's terms in that I am very inexperienced in computers in general. I haven't upgraded to Snow Leopard, just have Leopard. Thank you so much for telling me to stay away from force quitting anything from Activity Monitor, that is what I was mainly wondering about. I got some advice a while back telling me to go there as a starting point to speed up my machine.??
    I too, leave it on a lot, but I'm trying to turn it off every nite now as I have been told I will burn it out...?? I have also noticed that even if it is on a hard surface, it's getting really hot. Top left but hotter than I have heard others talking about with this Mac.
    Bankshot, I barely understand anything you wrote.....it's all like a foreign language to me and that sucks, cause I'm sure it's all important. Please rephrase if possible.
    Macjunk(ie), same thing.
    Cboss -- so if I go and do repairing disk permissions it will not harm anything even if it doesn't need it?? Verify and repair?

    I really appreciate everyone's help and I still need it. I'm also starting to notice a slight delay when typing as well.
    Just want to scream that I don't know more about computers. But I'm learning --THANKS!!!!
     
  9. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #9
    If you experience slight delays even while typing and a hotter case, some process might take up a lot of your CPU (Central Processing Unit, the one with the two cores and 2.0 to 2.4 GHz).

    You might check out the Activity Monitor again, select Show all Processes and sort by CPU usage (click on the column header) and see if any process might use more than 50% for a longer period.

    My old iBook with 1GHz (only a quarter or less as fast as older MacBooks) doesn't give me any lag while typing this.

    And the post of macjunkie and especially Bankshot are more detailed descriptions of the inner workings of Mac OS X, which might not be important for you as a more normal user than some of us posters are.


    Please report back your results of looking at Activity Monitor, as that might be showing what's eating your CPU.

    Turning the Mac off on a daily basis will be the same as putting it to sleep every night. You cannot burn your computer's life out so easily, unless you use it all the time, with the CPU at a full 100/200%.
     
  10. bankshot macrumors 65816

    bankshot

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    No worries, the majority of my post was in response to macjunk(ie)'s comment, and is just a sidenote to the main topic here. For your situation, you don't need to worry about any of that stuff. :)

    Unfortunately a case like yours can be difficult to diagnose for someone who's not sitting in front of the computer. There are a million different things that could slow a computer down, and many of them may not be very obvious without some serious investigation.

    The suggestion to check Activity Monitor is a often good place to start - but you do need to know what you're looking at to make any sense of it.

    One thing you can do there is click on the column labeled % CPU so that the arrow next to the word "CPU" points down. This puts the programs using the most CPU time up at the top of the list. The order at the top will change frequently, as some programs will use a little CPU for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. If one or two programs are using a lot of CPU (near 100%) and staying at the top of the list for a long time, this may be a clue that those programs are causing your problems. If you find any suspicious programs this way, just ask here on the forum about them. ;) Oftentimes a program that uses a lot of CPU is perfectly normal, but at least this is somewhere to start.

    The other big thing that can slow down a computer is excessive disk accesses. This is more difficult to find a likely culprit, but you can get some idea of what's going on by clicking on "Disk Activity" down in the bottom area of the Activity Monitor window. The thing to look at here is "Data read/sec" and "Data written/sec". On my computer, with not much going on, these numbers are often in the KB (kilobytes) range, sometimes down to 0, and sometimes spiking up in the MB (megabytes) range. That's pretty typical. If it's staying in the MB range, that may indicate something is reading or writing to the disk too much. Unfortunately figuring out just what is the culprit can be more difficult.

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    #11
    Thanks for the heads up! :)

    I read about those scripts too...I was mostly reacting to this article :
    http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/maintscripts.html

    It does say that there is a possibility of these scripts never running because of your usage patterns...
    However, I am sure that after I run these scripts, my Mac does start up considerably faster....just a personal observation...;)
     
  12. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #12
    ...tell us a little about the machine you bought?

    Is it new or used?

    What type is it (mini, macbook, macbook pro, iMac, etc)?

    Did you get the base model of machine?
     
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #13
    ...and how much ram.
     
  14. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #14
    Hi everyone.....still uncertain of many things, now I"m wondering if I have enough RAM, (this is memory correct~I have lots of pics and music) For the pics, should I organize them and zip?? will that open up any space for me??

    I went ahead and attached my info from iStat and the specs for my macbook. Running scripts?? Disc permissions??

    Still don't know what I'm doing....sorrry if that makes it more difficult to help me!!

    thanks again everyone
    dawn
     

    Attached Files:

  15. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
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    forlod bygningen
    #15
    You have 2GB of RAM, which is a temporary memory, where only open applications and documents are stored.
    You have 81.55GB used on your HDD, and have 67.18GB free, thus there is no need to zip your files to open up storage capacity, as you have enough.

    [​IMG]

    There is a difference between HDD and RAM (storage capacity and memory).

    What is Computer Memory? RAM vs Hard Drive
     
  16. hakuin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #16
    I think the main things that could make your macbook slower are:


    Hard Disk Usage

    Yours is about 40% empty so no problem (below 15% empty space and the computer will start to slow down). Open a Finder window, and at the bottom it will tell you how much empty space there is on your Hard Disk. 15% of your Hard Disk is about 22 GB.


    Memory (RAM) Usage

    A basic description of the numbers that appear in the iStat/Activity Monitor for memory usage:

    Wired: Being used by the OS (not free)
    Active: Being used by apps/software (not free)
    Inactive: Used recently (free)
    Free: Not being used (free)

    Wired + Active = usage
    Inactive + Free = free memory

    You iStat image shows over 500 MB (25%) total free memory. You should see no kind of slowdown with this value (unless you open a big piece of software).
    Note: the memory usage of some applications will tend to creep above what it should over time - Safari, and MSOffice apps tend to do this. You can check "System Memory" on Activity Monitor to see if this is happening. If it is, just quit and restart the offending application (Warning: Don't quit anything from System Preferences you don't know the name of!)

    If you are simply running out of memory - your open applications are taking up all available memory during normal running - there are some "hidden" but nonessential applications you can quit.
    1. Dashboard apps.
    Open dashboard from the dock. Each little application that comes up runs in the background 100% of the time. Press (X) in the bottom left and delete the ones you don't need.
    2. Go to "System Preferences" > "Accounts" > "Login Items". This is the list of applications that start every time you login. The ones you know you don't need can be removed.


    CPU Usage

    If you run CPU-intensive processes in parallel you will see the computer slow down.
    Try installing MenuMeters. It shows CPU usage and Memory usage with time in your menu bar at the top of the screen. It is pretty unobtrusive, but gives a good idea of how much of CPU/Memory is being used at any one time, and may point to when the computer will slow down.
     
  17. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #17
    Thank you so much for the detailed explanation!!! I needed something similar for another post I submitted last night, but somehow has disappeared.

    Wanting to know abt uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox due to some issues. How to get all files off, completely, and just reinstalling it??? I'm stuck using Safari right now. I installed a Java script something or other on Firefox and it asked for permission to open pretty much everything. Ever since, it's just been odd, not allowing me to sign in to things....

    Anyhow, I understand this is not the place to post this, I really was just thanking hakuin for the detailed info....

    If someone else, admin, or something comes across this, please post in correct thread???? As I mentioned, I posted last night and now it's just gone!

    Help!!

    thanks
     
  18. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
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    forlod bygningen
    #18
    Here is your thread: Uninstalling/Reinstalling Firefox found via clicking on your username (knew2mack) and selecting "Find More Posts by knew2mack":

    [​IMG]
     

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