Ways to clean up a well used OS, that aren't the basics

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Earendil, May 28, 2008.

  1. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    So, here is the scoop. I'm running a 4.5 y.o. Powerbook (stats below) with the most current OSX version, and all up to date (well, until todays .3 release).

    I run permissions here and there, disk utility, fsck, and sometimes bring in other applications to help me do these things and a few others.

    My problem is that at this point my OS is slower than it should be. Yes, I know my computer is old and new apps will make it seem slow blah blah, but we're talking hangs on applications as old as my computer. Nothing sudden, it just dawned on me one day that when I got my computer and *insert old app name here* I was amazed how how fast and smooth it ran, and now that isn't the case so much.

    I suppose it could be down to a hardware issue, but I suspect that the software, after being written and rewritten to disk a million times has had a few bytes go missing.

    So, is there anything beyond the basic that I can check or do? Something that is pointless for a newer computer, but that might actually help on a computer my age? Defragmenting is supposed to be taken care of, but what about at this point in its life?

    Of note, I have never reinstalled the operating system because I don't like reinstalling everything and fixing up my settings again. If I can't take the time to organize my photos, I don't feel redoing my OS is in the works. But if that is a good option, or my only one, I may spring for it.

    Thanks for any and all advice!
     
  2. atluten macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #2
    I'd say that this is sort of a last option, but an effective one from my experience. Sometimes it just helps to flush everything out and start fresh with a new OS. Best of luck.
     
  3. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #3
    If you have never truly reinstalled the OS, then you're seriously overdue. Try an Archive & Install of Leopard (then combo update to .3). All your apps & settings are preserved, as well as maintaining everything in a "Previous System" folder, but the OS itself will be fresh.
     
  4. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #4
    You know, I should know exactly how this works, with all my working knowledge of computers and all...but I guess we all have our gaps, but...
    Archive and install will install OSX in place, making a copy of system files, but otherwise putting all my settings, preferences, documents, and programs back in their original place, such that I shouldn't notice a difference?
    Another way of saying it: If someone came along and di an archive and install behind my back, I would come back to my computer and not notice a difference other than a new folder called "Previous System", which would just be old system files?
    For some reason I thought it did more than that, like archived your entire system and replaced everything.


    It's actually possible I have done this in the past. I had my internal HD fail during school 2 years ago, and during a bad time too. I had a backup, but the backup had last been made with a few corrupted system files from the initial breakdown of the internal. But that whole time period was a haze :cool:

    I'll give this a shot.

    Any knowledge on the defrag option?
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #5
    I will always very strongly object to OS reinstalls as the first order of business, especially for a report of such vague symptoms. First, make certain you know when the Mac is running more slowly. For example, does a restart make it run faster for a time? If so, a reinstall will help not at all, because the issue is the creation of virtual memory swap files, not a problem with OSX. Only more RAM or more frequent restarts will help. Second, check the login items in your accounts. You might find that previously installed applications have added applications which run every time you start your Mac. Some might be needed, others not.

    This is where you start to address performance issues. You are never "overdue" for a reinstall.
     
  6. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #6
    Which has always been my mindset, especially as it relates to bragging rights over fellow windows users.
    However I'm running more RAM that when I first bought my computer (1.25 instead of 512), my internal HD is faster (5400 vs 4800), and no new startup items to report. At least, no startup items that identify themselves as applications in the...shoot....the name of that app that watches processes/threads. Now, I don't know the OSX base system well enough to identify rogue processes, so there could be nothing there, but nothing that eats CPU cycles or RAM.

    In fact that is why I think it is strictly HD failure or Software, because in times of trouble I have both spare RAM and CPU cycles, yet my computer hangs on tasks like surfing the web, opening an email message, etc etc. Tasks that it will do fine and fast 10 times in a row and then take 2 or 3 seconds.
    Even the OSX UI sometimes stalls on me for a split second and doesn't respond like I think it should.

    Now, it does appear to be a little faster after restarts. But since I restart once every 3 or 4 weeks, seeing a little improvement doesn't seem like it should be an odd thing. Certainly after restarts I don't think it is acting all fine and dandy.

    Dunno... If an archive and install is what it seems to be, and there is nothing out there I haven't tried, I may try this.

    Thanks IJ for the tips and alternate opinion. Any other ideas?
     
  7. catachip macrumors regular

    catachip

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    #7

    An archive and install is NOT what you describe. An archive and install backs up your home folder (i.e., the one with your name) and deletes everything else, installing a fresh version of OS X. Your previous files are then put into a "Previous System" folder. There is no point in reinstalling OS X unless you do at least an Archive and Install and at best an Erase and Install (while backing up your files to an external hard drive).

    4.5 years or programs and OS X upgrades could have resulted in some of the plug ups that you are experiencing. Unless you really flush everything out and start new (i.e., with an archive and install, or erase and install), then you will just be keeping all that junk around.

    I would highly recommend you go for one of those options. Resetting up your system doesn't take at long as you think. It will be worth it to start with a fresh system.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #8
    Nor is it what you describe. An Archive and Install leaves your Home directory and everything else alone, and installs a new System directory, archiving the old one.

    Reinstalling OSX periodically "just because" is a waste of time, and potentially a tragic waste of time besides.
     
  9. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #9
    Thanks for clarifying... but how exactly is that different than what I described? Or were you just correcting him?
     
  10. foeniox macrumors newbie

    foeniox

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #10
    The following are relevant apple docs to your install questions.

    Subtleties of Archive and Install
    OSX install options detailed


    As a result of my own experience i would recommend an archive and install (will explain why if you need). Especially if an Archive/Erase and install has never been performed. Most of all i recommend you read these and make your own informed decision.


    Secondly, Onyx is second only to a swiss army knife.

    Onyx Homepage


    Finally, my other machine is the same model PowerBook you own. I upgraded the hard drive to 7200rpm and installed 2gb of ram. This provides the highest, most noticeable speed boost, by far. I mention this as you seem technically competent enough to perform both such actions.


    enjoy

    b
     

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