Skip navigation

my desktop mac is 6 years old. it is very very slow.  i have cleaned up my desktop, run diagnostics.  still slow.  i use it for email and accounting.  no photos or graphics.  i have 10.7.5 installed.  is it too old to be usable?

2452 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2013 2:22 PM by Linc Davis RSS
1 2 Previous Next
BumbleBBB Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 4, 2013 7:00 PM

my desktop mac is 6 years old. it is very very slow.  i have cleaned up my desktop, run diagnostics.  all seems fine but it is still slow ad trying my patience.  i use it for email and accounting.  no photos or graphics.  i have 10.7.5 installed.  is it too old to be usable?

iMac (20-inch Mid 2007), Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,145 points)

    How much RAM installed?

    Your iMac model can take up to 6 GBs of RAM.

    How Full is your hard drive?

    Do you run any antivirus software under OS X and/or any type of "crapware" like hard drive "cleaning" utilities?

    You can purchase and install reliable and correct RAM from online Mac RAM sellers Crucial memory or OWC (macsales).

  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (26,945 points)

    First, have you maximised the amount of RAM installable in the machine? You can put up to 6GB in that machine (4GB + 2GB) and I recommend you do so if you have much less.

     

    Second, how much hard drive space do you have, and how much do you use? You may just have a slow drive, and you'd be served by replacing it with a faster model or even a solid state drive if it's in your budget.

     

    I'd also experiment with installing a fresh (ie, clean, not an upgrade) system. When was the last time you've done that, if ever?

     

    Matt

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,930 points)

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

     

    There are a few other possible causes of generalized slow performance that you can rule out easily.

     

    • If you have many image or video files on the Desktop with preview icons, move them to another folder.
    • If applicable, uncheck all boxes in the iCloud preference pane.
    • Disconnect all non-essential wired peripherals and remove aftermarket expansion cards, if any.

     

    Otherwise, take the steps below when you notice the slowdown.

     

    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

     

    If you have more than one user account, you must be logged in as an administrator to carry out this step.

     

    Launch the Console application in the same way you launched Activity Monitor. 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. If you don't see that menu, select

    View Show Log List

    from the menu bar.

     

    Select the 50 or so most recent entries in the log. Copy them to the Clipboard (command-C). Paste into a reply to this message (command-V). You're looking for entries at the end of the log, not at the beginning.

     

    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 this discussion.

    Important: Some personal information, such as your name, may appear in the log. Anonymize before posting. That should be easy to do if your extract is not too long.

  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,145 points)

    Completely uninstall avast antivirus.

    It is not needed and is, probably, slowing your iMac.

    If the avast software has an official uninstaller, use it to completely remove this software.

    OS X doesn't need any antivirus software.

    It does more harm than good on Mac OS X.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,930 points)

    Uninstall "Avast" according to the developer's instructions, after backing up all data.

     

    1. This comment applies to malicious software ("malware") that's installed unwittingly by the victim of a network attack. It does not apply to software, such as keystroke loggers, that may be installed deliberately by an intruder who has hands-on access to the victim's computer. That threat is in a different category, and there's no easy way to defend against it. If you have reason to suspect that you're the target of such an attack, you need expert help.

    2. All versions of OS X since 10.6.7 have been able to detect known Mac malware in downloaded files, and to block insecure web plugins. This feature is transparent to the user, but internally Apple calls it "XProtect." The malware recognition database is automatically checked for updates once a day; however, you shouldn't rely on it, because the attackers are always at least a day ahead of the defenders.
       
    The following caveats apply to XProtect:
    • It can be bypassed by some third-party networking software, such as BitTorrent clients and Java applets (see below.)
    • It only applies to software downloaded from the network. Software installed from a CD or other media is not checked.
    3. Starting with OS X 10.7.5, there has been another layer of built-in malware protection, designated "Gatekeeper" by Apple. By default, applications and Installer packages downloaded from the network will only run if they're digitally signed by a developer with a certificate issued by Apple. Software certified in this way hasn't actually been tested by Apple (unless it comes from the Mac App Store), but you can be reasonably sure that it hasn't been modified by anyone other than the developer. His identity is known to Apple, so he could be held legally responsible if he distributed malware. For most practical purposes, applications recognized by Gatekeeper as signed can be considered safe.
        
    Gatekeeper doesn't depend on a database of known malware. It has, however, the same limitations as XProtect, and in addition the following:
    • It can easily be disabled or overridden by the user.
    • A malware attacker could get control of a code-signing certificate under false pretenses, or could find some other way to evade Apple's controls.         
    4. Beyond XProtect and Gatekeeper, there’s no benefit, in most cases, from any other automated protection against malware. The first and best line of defense is always your own intelligence. All known malware circulating on the Internet that affects a fully-updated installation of OS X 10.6 or later takes the form of so-called "trojan horses," which can only have an effect if the victim is duped into running them. The threat therefore amounts to a battle of wits between you and the malware attacker. If you're smarter than he thinks you are, you'll win.
        
    That means, in practice, that you never use software that comes from an untrustworthy source. How do you know whether a source is trustworthy?
    • Any website that prompts you to install a “codec,” “plug-in,” "player," "extractor," or “certificate” that comes from that same site, or an unknown one, is untrustworthy.
    • A web operator who tells you that you have a “virus,” or that anything else is wrong with your computer, or that you have won a prize in a contest you never entered, is trying to commit a crime with you as the victim. (Some reputable websites did legitimately warn visitors who were infected with the "DNSChanger" malware. That exception to this rule no longer applies.)
    • Pirated copies or "cracks" of commercial software, no matter where they come from, are unsafe.
    • Software of any kind downloaded from a BitTorrent or from a Usenet binary newsgroup is unsafe.
    • Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must be downloaded directly from the developer’s website. If it comes from any other source, it's unsafe.
    5. Java on the Web (not to be confused with JavaScript, to which it's not related, despite the similarity of the names) is a weak point in the security of any system. Java is, among other things, a platform for running complex applications in a web page, on the client. That was never a good idea, and Java's developers have had a lot of trouble implementing it without also creating a portal for malware to enter. Past Java exploits are the closest thing there has ever been to a Windows-style "virus" affecting OS X. Merely loading a page with malicious Java content could be harmful. Fortunately, Java on the Web is mostly extinct. Only a few outmoded sites still use it. Try to hasten the process of extinction by avoiding those sites, if you have a choice. Forget about playing games or other inessential uses of Java.
       
    Java is not included in OS X 10.7 and later. Discrete Java installers are distributed by Apple and by Oracle (the developer of Java.) Don't use either one unless you need it. Most people don't. If Java is installed, disable it — not JavaScript — in your browsers. In Safari, this is done by unchecking the box marked Enable Java in the Security tab of the preferences dialog.
      
    Regardless of version, experience has shown that Java on the Web can't be trusted. If you must use a Java applet for a specific task, enable Java only when needed for the task and disable it immediately when done. Close all other browser windows and tabs, and don't visit any other sites while Java is active. Never enable Java on a public web page that carries third-party advertising. Use it, when necessary, only on well-known, login-protected, secure websites without ads. In Safari 6 or later, you'll see a lock icon in the address bar with the abbreviation "https" when visiting a secure site.

    Follow the above guidelines, and you’ll be as safe from malware as you can practically be. The rest of this comment concerns what you should not do to protect yourself from malware.

    6. Never install any commercial "anti-virus" or "Internet security" products for the Mac, as they all do more harm than good, if they do any good at all. If you need to be able to detect Windows malware in your files, use the free software ClamXav — nothing else.
      
    Why shouldn't you use commercial "anti-virus" products?
    • Their design is predicated on the nonexistent threat that malware may be injected at any time, anywhere in the file system. Malware is downloaded from the network; it doesn't materialize from nowhere.
    • In order to meet that nonexistent threat, the software modifies or duplicates low-level functions of the operating system, which is a waste of resources and a common cause of instability, bugs, and poor performance.
    • By modifying the operating system, the software itself may create weaknesses that could be exploited by malware attackers.
    7. ClamXav doesn't have these drawbacks. That doesn't mean it's entirely safe. It may report email messages that have "phishing" links in the body, or Windows malware in attachments, as infected files, and offer to delete or move them. Doing so will corrupt the Mail database. The messages should be deleted from within the Mail application.
        
    ClamXav is not needed, and should not be relied upon, for protection against OS X malware. It's useful only for detecting Windows malware. Windows malware can't harm you directly (unless, of course, you use Windows.) Just don't pass it on to anyone else.
        
    A Windows malware attachment in email is usually easy to recognize. The file name will often be targeted at people who aren't very bright; for example:
      
    ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥!!!!!!!H0TBABEZ4U!!!!!!!.AVI♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.exe
       
    ClamXav may be able to tell you which particular virus or trojan it is, but do you care? In practice, there's seldom a reason to use ClamXav unless a network administrator requires you to run an anti-virus application.
        
    8. The greatest harm done by anti-virus software, in my opinion, is in its effect on human behavior. It does little or nothing to protect people from emerging threats, but they get a false sense of security from it, and then they may behave in ways that expose them to higher risk. Nothing can lessen the need for safe computing practices.
      
    9. It seems to be a common belief that the built-in Application Firewall acts as a barrier to infection, or prevents malware from functioning. It does neither. It blocks inbound connections to certain network services you're running, such as file sharing. It's disabled by default and you should leave it that way if you're behind a router on a private home or office network. Activate it only when you're on an untrusted network, for instance a public Wi-Fi hotspot, where you don't want to provide services. Disable any services you don't use in the Sharing preference pane. All are disabled by default.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,930 points)

    Your problem is excessive swapping of data between physical memory and virtual memory.

     

    That can happen for two reasons:

     

    • You have a long-running process with a memory leak (i.e., a bug), or
    • You don't have enough memory installed for your usage pattern.

     

    Tracking down a memory leak can be difficult, and it may come down to a process of elimination. In Activity Monitor, select All Processes from the menu in the toolbar, if not already selected. Click the heading of the  Real Mem column in the process table twice to sort the table with the highest value at the top. If you don't see that column, select

      

    View ▹ Columns ▹ Real Memory

      

    from the menu bar.

      

    If one process (excluding "kernel_task") is using much more memory than all the others, that could be an indication of a leak. A better indication would be a process that continually grabs more and more memory over time without ever releasing it.

      

    If you don't have an obvious memory leak, your options are to install more memory (if possible) or to run fewer programs simultaneously.

       

    The next suggestion is only for users familiar with the shell. For a more precise, but potentially misleading, test, run the following command: 

    sudo leaks -nocontext -nostacks process | grep total

      

    where process is the name of a process you suspect of leaking memory. Almost every process will leak some memory; the question is how much, and especially how much the leak increases with time. I can’t be more specific. See the leaks(1) man page and the Apple developer documentation for details:

     

    Memory Usage Performance Guidelines: About the Virtual Memory System

  • MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,330 points)

    BumbleBBB wrote:

     

    3/4/13 8:26:30.446 PM Firewall: Deny Microsoft Excel data in from 10.0.1.15:64005 to port 2223 proto=17

    This is a small thing, but you don't need to have your Firewall turned on as long as you are on a trusted network behind a router that has it's own firewall at home or work. It will slightly slow  down many processes and is obviously using some time to log all those entries.  See Do I need a firewall?.

     

    If you also have a laptop and take to a public hotspot at Starbucks or the public library, then you will need to have the firewall on.

  • seventy one Level 6 Level 6 (8,525 points)

    I have advised the hosts on your behalf.   Hopefully they will remove it for you.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,930 points)

    Avast was still installed, at least partially, when you captured that data. As long as it is, your system will be unmaintainable.

     

    Beyond that, nothing really stands out. You might benefit from installing more memory, if that's possible for your model (it may not be.) Otherwise I have nothing to add to my last comment.

1 2 Previous Next

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.