5 Replies Latest reply: Nov 28, 2012 11:32 AM by drdocument
DC Steve Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)



I have a late-2009 imac core i7 with a 2TB hard drive, OS JX 1.08.2 and 12gb RAM.  The drive is slightly more than half full.  The machines seems to have started to slow down.  Programs are slower to open and the fans seem to come on more often than they used to.  I'm wondering if there's any value to backing up the machine, wiping the hard drive clean and reinstalling everything.  The concern I have is that if there's anything in the files that is slowing the machine down, I'd just reinstall it when i perform the reinstallation.  I have a time machine backup and a superduper backup of my pictures and videos.


Any thoughts?





iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: Performing a reinstall on an imac
    den.thed Level 7 Level 7 (23,900 points)

    Backup is good, if you have enough room on an External Hard Drive it might be a good idea to use SuperDuper and make a backup of your entire Macintosh HD.


    I could be wrong, but to me it sounds more like your iMac is busy doing some sort of CPU intense activity that is causing it to both heat up the CPU and feel slow. To check, open your Activity Monitor and see if you have any run away or failed processes that are using a lot of CPU.


    If not, then there could be something going wrong with the Hard Drive. To check, startup from your Restore Partition, select Disk Utility and Repair your Macintosh HD.

  • 2. Re: Performing a reinstall on an imac
    DC Steve Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Where is the restore partition?  When I go to system preferences>start-up disc, I only see my HD and Superduper clone.

  • 3. Re: Performing a reinstall on an imac
    den.thed Level 7 Level 7 (23,900 points)

    Startup holding either the Command-R keys or the Option (Alt) key.


    Command-R should take you stright to the Recovery Partition.


    The Option (Alt) key will take you to the Startup Manager where you can choose from either your Macintosh HD, your SuperDuper backup or the Recovery Partition.




    Did you see anything in Activity Monitor that looked like it might be causing a problem...?

  • 4. Re: Performing a reinstall on an imac
    Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (117,820 points)

    I'm wondering if there's any value to backing up the machine, wiping the hard drive clean and reinstalling everything.


    No, there isn't.


    First, back up all data immediately, as your boot drive might be failing.


    One possible cause of a slow user interface is a large number of image or video files on the Desktop with preview icons. If you have more than a dozen or so such files, move them to another folder.


    Otherwise, take these steps when you notice the problem.


    Step 1


    Launch the Activity Monitor application in any of the following ways:


    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)


    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.


    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Activity Monitor in the icon grid.


    Select the CPU tab of the Activity Monitor window.


    Select All Processes from the menu in the toolbar, if not already selected.


    Click the heading of the % CPU column in the process table to sort the entries by CPU usage. You may have to click it twice to get the highest value at the top. What is it, and what is the process? Also post the values for % User, % System, and % Idle at the bottom of the window.


    Select the System Memory tab. What values are shown in the bottom part of the window for Page outs and Swap used?


    Next, select the Disk Activity tab. Post the approximate values shown for Reads in/sec and Writes out/sec (not Reads in and Writes out.)


    Step 2


    You must be logged in as an administrator to carry out this step.


    Launch the Console application in the same way as above. Make sure the title of the Console window is All Messages. If it isn't, select All Messages from the SYSTEM LOG QUERIES menu on the left.


    Post the 50 or so most recent messages in the log — the text, please, not a screenshot.


    When posting a log extract, be selective. Don't post more than is requested.

    Please do not indiscriminately dump thousands of lines from the log into a message.

    Important: Some personal information, such as your name, may appear in the log. Edit it out before posting.

  • 5. Re: Performing a reinstall on an imac
    drdocument Level 4 Level 4 (2,995 points)

    A backup is always critical.


    Separately, there are a number of things you can do to speed up Mountain Lion short of reinstalling.

    Repair permissions

    Reset PRAM

    Clear caches (I use OnyX)

    Confirm all apps are fully updated and ML-compatible

    Rebuild launch services database


    Allow Spotlight to completely reindex or rebuild Spotlight index


    Renew DHCP Lease (in Network Prefs)


    Quit all apps prior to restart at least once every 2-3 days