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How can I regain responsiveness?

928 Views 26 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2012 2:29 AM by GabrielZ RSS
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GabrielZ Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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May 10, 2012 7:34 AM

Since Lion, responsiveness of my Macbook Pro (15'') has decreased dramatically.

For instance, I double-click a JPG file - then 5 seconds nothing happens - then Preview shows it, but it also gives me the beach ball - another 5 seconds, unti I can finally do something.

And this happens so often, with so many trivial actions on my Macbook that it really adds up.


Is there anything I can do to make it more responsive?


(My Macbook is brand-new, by the way.)




iPhone 4S, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • Piterek Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 7:37 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Try opening the Activity Monitor in Utilities. See what CPU is doing. It does not solve the problem, but you can see which process eats up the resources.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    May 10, 2012 7:56 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    My suspicion would be that you have installed some junk third-party software.  Activity Monitor may or may not reveal the source of the problem.  What software have you installed?


    You can also try some of the tips in the Mac OS X Speed FAQ.

  • wil nelson1 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 8:09 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Download Tinker Tool and clean caches.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    May 10, 2012 8:11 AM (in response to wil nelson1)

    Download Tinker Tool and clean caches.


    No, don't do that.  Caches are there to keep the machine running fast.  See The myth of the dirty Mac.


    (Note that my pages contain links to other pages that promote my services, and this should not be taken as an endorsement of my services by Apple.)

  • wil nelson1 Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)
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    May 10, 2012 8:19 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Well, this is certainly a first and I guess everyone is entitled to an opinion.  Based on the discription of the problem this is a solution I have used in the past and found that it works quite well and in fact I still periodically use this procedure to boost performance.  I post very little any more but certainly will not be listening (reading) to this type of opinionated self importance.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
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    May 10, 2012 8:25 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Agree with both of the above posters. Caches are not your problem, and looking at Activity monitor might offer us some clues.


    Also, how long ago did you upgrade to Lion? Has this been going on a while or did you just upgrade to Lion in the last 24 hours? If the latter, Spotlight and possibly Time Machine (if you use it) and still indexing and backing up.


    If you upgraded more than 24 hours ago, please open Activity Monitory (Applications > Utilities > Activity, click on the drop down menu on the right side of the panel and choose 'All Processes'.


    Next, click on the %CPU tab in the window, twice if necessary, so that the little arrow is pointing downwards. What are the top 5 or so items? Is anything taking up over 50% or so of CPU?


    If you're not sure, post a screenshot. To do so, hold down 'command-shift-4' on your keyboard. Release, then press the Spacebar. Then click your mouse or the trackpad. The screenshot is on your desktop.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
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    May 10, 2012 8:26 AM (in response to thomas_r.)

    I disagree with Thomas here. While true for the most part and for a normally working Mac, the caches can be a burden to the system at times and warrant a removal/rebuild. Doing so will not hurt anything, and while the Mac will run a bit slower at first while the caches are rebuilt, when finished the Mac will run at a more optimal speed.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 9:25 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Agreed, nothing looks amiss in Activity Monitor, but you should keep it open and then try to open something that causes the beachballing and see what hits the top of the list.


    I doubt its anything to do with versions, it only kicks in if you're using Pages, TextEdit, Preview and a few other apps. It won't beachball you unless you're making changes in a large jpg in Preview.


    Some questions:


    1. How much RAM have you got? How much free Hard Disk space?


    2. What's in your Login Items (have a look here


     > System Preferences > Users & Groups | Login Items


    and please list them).


    3. Do you have MacKeeper or any other AV software installed?

  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,690 points)
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    May 10, 2012 9:54 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    Have you tried booting into safe mode?  This will disable

    any third party drivers.  Some times a corrupt or non-Lion

    driver and/or its config file could be causing a "blocking"

    action, i.e. holding up other processes even though it isn't

    really using CPU.


    This same could also occur if an OSX config or driver is



    First see if it is some third party app/driver by booting in safe



    Also, try creating another user and log into it.  Sometimes some

    corrupt user settings can cause issues depending on which one is amiss.

  • leroydouglas Level 6 Level 6 (13,335 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to GabrielZ)

    One of the benefits of booting into SafeMode is it clears the dynamic loader cache automatically and rebuilds on reboot. 


    The boot process takes a bit longer initially,  but not to worry.


    This was my suspicion from the get go,  but did not want to get into the delete cache debate.


    you can read more here if interested:




    The 10.7.4 Combo has seemed to better my preformance.


    I have had to wait for Finder windows as well and it is frustrating being such an intergral part of the OS it should always have the focus.

    Lion with all its redundency seems to be a bit of "bloat-ware" in my opinion. 

    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 2.4GHz IntelCorei5 320GB HD 8GB RAM
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