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1595 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 20, 2010 10:14 PM by ~Bee RSS
DonStruan Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 19, 2010 9:00 AM
I miss the way my Mac used to run. I'm about ready to reinstall OS X completely. In the old Windows world, I'd defragment my drive and run software to clean things up. The only thing I've seen done with Macs is to repair permissions. Is there anything else to do before I try a clean install?

Aside from Safari issues, oftentimes even Finder is sluggish.

IMac 17" Mac OS X (10.4.11) 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo & 1 GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2010 10:05 AM (in response to DonStruan)
    How full is the hard drive? OSX needs 6 GB+ free at all times (a lot of people say 15% of your hard drive space but in these days of multi-terrabyte drives I am not sure OSX really needs 150GB free).

    Do you have a lot of files on the desktop? They use a lot more resources there. Put them in a folder on the desktop if you can't put them in other folders.

    Yes, you can re-install OSX. The best method is archive and install since this leaves files and settings intact (you must specify this though).

    [Mac OS X: About the Archive and Install feature|]

    [Apple document about A&I in Tiger (10.4)|]

    [X-Lab Archive and install|]

    [Kappy's A&I instructions|]

    In most cases make sure you select "Preserve Users & Settings"

    You can do a fresh install and completely wipe your hard drive (back up first!!). If doing this I would also erase the drive with wipe zeros once in security options just to check physical integrity.

    In my opinion there has to be some reason for a slow down that isn't really related to anything requiring an OS installation. Sure you can re-install but probably you'll find things are still slow.

    Try using Applejack to do a kind of spring cleaning.


    Very informative [Macworld Applejack article|]

    Here's a bunch of OSX speeding up articles. I would tend to shy away from any routine maintenance tools they recommend. Some could potentially do damage and most are not really necessary.

    [Mac OS X speed FAQ|] - general reference on performance in various Mac models

    [Tips to optimize your Mac OS X experience|]

    [Mac Tune-up: 34 Software Speedups|]

    [52 Ways to Speed Up OS X|>

    [Tuning Mac OS X Performance|]

    [11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac's Performance|]

    [The Top 7 Free Utilities To Maintain A Mac.|>

    [Mac OS X: System maintenance|]

    [Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance|]

    [Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance| ]

    [a brody's Topic: Myths of required versus not required maintenance for Mac OS X|]

    [Are the desktops cluttered with files and folders?|] and [related comment|], and [here|]

    [Problems from insufficient RAM and free hard disk space|]
    G4 Quicksilver dual 800 MHz 2x120 GBHDs 1.5GBRAM dual-boot 10.4.11 9.2.2, 2 G3 beiges, IIci. iTunes 7.5
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,650 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2010 10:32 AM (in response to DonStruan)
    Free space sounds okay.

    Desktop clutter?

    Try restarting with the shift key held down. This is Safe Mode.
    [Mac OS X: Starting up in Safe Mode|]

    [What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode? (Mac OS X)|]

    [Safe Boot takes longer than normal startup|]

    Safe boot mode runs a directory check command similar to that used by Disk Utility's repair. In Tiger it ignores some stored information (cache) that is normally read that speeds up the boot process, and it moves some other caches to the trash. It also uses only System fonts and disables all Startup Items, third party items, and any Login Items.

    Basically it will do a number of things Applejack will do, but is somewhat easier to access. Restart in normal mode (don't hold the shift key).
    G4 Quicksilver dual 800 MHz 2x120 GBHDs 1.5GBRAM dual-boot 10.4.11 9.2.2, 2 G3 beiges, IIci. iTunes 7.5
  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2010 9:54 AM (in response to DonStruan)
    Defragmentation in OS X:

    Whilst 'defragging' OS X is rarely necessary, Rod Hagen has produced this excellent analysis of the situation which is worth reading:

    Most users, as long as they leave plenty of free space available , and don't work regularly in situations where very large files are written and rewritten, are unlikely to notice the effects of fragmentation on either their files or on the drives free space much.

    As the drive fills the situations becomes progressively more significant, however.

    Some people will tell you that "OSX defrags your files anyway". This is only partly true. It defrags files that are less than 20 MB in size. It doesn't defrag larger files and it doesn't defrag the free space on the drive. In fact the method it uses to defrag the smaller files actually increases the extent of free space fragmentation. Eventually, in fact, once the largest free space fragments are down to less than 20 MB (not uncommon on a drive that has , say only 10% free space left) it begins to give up trying to defrag altogether. Despite this, the system copes very well without defragging as long as you have plenty of room.

    Again, this doesn't matter much when the drive is half empty or better, but it does when it gets fullish, and it does especially when it gets fullish if you are regularly dealing with large files , like video or serious audio stuff.

    If you look through this discussion board you will see quite a few complaints from people who find that their drive gets "slow". Often you will see that say that "still have 10 or 20 gigs free" or the like. On modern large drives by this stage they are usually in fact down to the point where the internal defragmentation routines can no longer operate , where their drives are working like navvies to keep up with finding space for any larger files, together with room for "scratch files", virtual memory, directories etc etc etc. Such users are operating in a zone where they put a lot more stress on their drives as a result, often start complaining of increased "heat", etc etc. Most obviously, though, the computer slows down to a speed not much better than that of molasses. Eventually the directories and other related files may collapse altogether and they find themselves with a next to unrecoverable disk problems.

    By this time, of course, defragging itself has already become just about impossible. The amount of work required to shift the data into contiguous blocks is immense, puts additional stress on the drive, takes forever, etc etc. The extent of fragmentation of free space at this stage can be simply staggering, and any large files you subsequently write are likely to be divided into many , many tens of thousands of fragments scattered across the drive. Not only this, but things like the "extents files", which record where all the bits are located, will begin to grow astronomically as a result, putting even more pressure on your already stressed drive, and increasing the risk of major failures.

    Ultimately this adds up to a situation where you can identify maybe three "phases" of mac life when it comes to the need for defragmentation.

    In the "first phase" (with your drive less than half full), it doesn't matter much at all - probably not enough to even make it worth doing.

    In the "second phase" (between , say 50% free space and 20% free space remaining) it becomes progressively more useful, but , depending on the use you put your computer to you won't see much difference at the higher levels of free space unless you are serious video buff who needs to keep their drives operating as efficiently and fast as possible - chances are they will be using fast external drives over FW800 or eSata to compliment their internal HD anyway.

    At the lower end though (when boot drives get down around the 20% mark on , say, a 250 or 500 Gig drive) I certainly begin to see an impact on performance and stability when working with large image files, mapping software, and the like, especially those which rely on the use of their own "scratch" files, and especially in situations where I am using multiple applications simultaneously, if I haven't defragmented the drive for a while. For me, defragmenting (I use iDefrag too - it is the only third party app I trust for this after seeing people with problems using TechToolPro and Drive Genius for such things) gives a substantial performance boost in this sort of situation and improves operational stability. I usually try to get in first these days and defrag more regularly (about once a month) when the drive is down to 30% free space or lower.

    Between 20% and 10% free space is a bit of a "doubtful region". Most people will still be able to defrag successfully in this sort of area, though the time taken and the risks associated increase as the free space declines. My own advice to people in this sort of area is that they start choosing their new , bigger HD, because they obviously are going to need one very soon, and try to "clear the decks" so that they maintain that 20% free buffer until they do. Defragging regularly (perhaps even once a fortnight) will actually benefit them substantially during this "phase", but maybe doing so will lull them into a false sense of security and keep them from seriously recognising that they need to be moving to a bigger HD!

    Once they are down to that last ten per cent of free space, though, they are treading on glass. Free space fragmentation at least will already be a serious issue on their computers but if they try to defrag with a utility without first making substantially more space available then they may find it runs into problems or is so slow that they give up half way through and do the damage themselves, especially if they are using one of the less "forgiving" utilities!

    In this case I think the best way to proceed is to clone the internal drive to a larger external with SuperDuper, replace the internal drive with a larger one and then clone back to it. No-one down to the last ten percent of their drive really has enough room to move. Defragging it will certainly speed it up, and may even save them from major problems briefly, but we all know that before too long they are going to be in the same situation again. Better to deal with the matter properly and replace the drive with something more akin to their real needs once this point is reached. Heck, big HDs are as cheap as chips these days! It is mad to struggle on with sluggish performance, instability, and the possible risk of losing the lot, in such a situation.
    20" 2.1GHz iSight iMac G5, 250GB HD, 1.5GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iLife 9 and iMovie 6, Toast 7.1.3, iTunes 9.0.3, QTPro 7.6.4, Safari 4.0.5
  • ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (30,610 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 20, 2010 10:14 PM (in response to DonStruan)
    Don --

    When things seem bogged down on my Mac, I found this neat little app
    called YASU. It free/shareware. It cleans up all kinds of stuff and I've found
    it very easy, and very safe.

    In your case, you might want to download it, and check everything but "clear bookmarks."
    You seem to have good enough free space on your Mac, despite the video stuff.
    So, I would give YASU a try.
    I've been using it for 5 or so years.

    In the future, I'd just make sure I had an external HD, and keep most of your old video stuff there.

    Hope this is helpful.
    17"MacBookPro; 20"iMac Duo; iLamp; PB G4; mini; and a few more., Mac OS X (10.6.2), LaCie Ext. HD


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