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How do I speed up a slow mac

4707 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2013 9:02 PM by ds store RSS
Ronthewineguy Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 3, 2013 8:47 AM

I have an older MacBook running 10.6. It's so slow and I get a spinning beach ball every time I go online. Is there any (inexpensive) way to speed this up? Software download, etc?

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), purchased 1/16/13
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 8 Level 8 (47,340 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2013 8:56 AM (in response to Ronthewineguy)

    Adding additional RAM is the cheapest first step.

    Freeing up hard drive space is the next. Buy a cheap external drive and move your largest Library (iPhoto, iMovie and iTunes) folders to it.

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (12,505 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 3, 2013 2:29 PM (in response to Ronthewineguy)

    If going on-line is when you get the spinning beachball, then I would start looking at your network setup.

     

    For example what are your DNS servers.  Just about everything you do on the internet requires you to lookup names via DNS servers to get IP addresses.  If your DNS servers are slow or not functioning, this can give the appearence of a slow Mac.

     

    You could experiment with alternate DNS servers.  For example:

     

    OpenDNS.org

     

    208.67.222.222

    208.67.220.220

     

    Google DNS

     

    8.8.8.8

    8.8.4.4

     

    Which you would set via System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced -> DNS -> [+]

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 5:19 AM (in response to Ronthewineguy)

    If you're not get any Page outs or close to none, then adding more RAM won't do a thing for speed. Look in Activity Monitor>System Memory tab. And, as for free drive space, if you have at least around 20 GB free, you shouldn't be seeing any ill effects.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 6:59 PM (in response to Ronthewineguy)

    Ronthewineguy wrote:


    It must be something specific to that computer.

     

    Sounds like a corrupted cache.

     

    Run the #12 OnyX routine here and reboot, do other steps as necessary and tune up the entire machine.

     

    ..Step by Step to fix your Mac

     

     

    Also make sure to see this

     

    Why is my computer slow?

     

    ..WiFi, Internet problems, possible solutions

     

     

    I don't advise a alternate DNS, unless you know what your doing as it can really slow down your downloads if other factors are not considered. (like where the alternate DNS server is compared to your ISP's server, just a few hundred miles difference can make a big deal on download speed)

     

    http://apcmag.com/why-using-google-dns-opendns-is-a-bad-idea.htm

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 8:29 PM (in response to ds store)

    There is one rather painless way to find out if OpenDNS will slow you down or not  namebench

     

    The OP should just go ahead and put in the OpenDNS numbers above the ones currently being used, then uncheck both boxes shown as checked below. This will quickly return a comparison test. Or just leave the top box checked.

     

    Why not suggest this, instead of routinely scaring people off of using OpenDNS?

     

    Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 11.22.22 PM.png

     

    Message was edited by: WZZZ

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 7:20 AM (in response to WZZZ)

    WZZZ wrote:

     

    Why not suggest this, instead of routinely scaring people off of using OpenDNS?

     

     

    namebench only gives the speed of the DNS servers in the area

     

    It won't run a test on Akamai/ISP based downloads which need to come from the closest server relative to the user.

     

     

    Take this for example:

     

    Say Naples has a slightly faster DNS because it's not being used as much as Miami DNS, I live close to Miami and attempt a large Akamai based download, it's going to download from the farther away and slower  Naples server.

     

    OpenDNS has to have a server in the same location as the users ISP Akamai based server.

     

    OpenDNS doesn't have servers everywhere only in a few selected major cites.

     

     

     

    For instance Grant (Level 7) lives in Boston and used OpenDNS, well they don't have a server in Boston, only in NY. (search Wikipedia for OpenDSN)

     

    So when Grant was downloading, it was very slow as it was coming from NY servers instead of the closer Boston servers.

     

    People around here are shilling for OpenDNS but they are screwing up people's machines in the process.

     

    If people don't learn what they are advising, then I have repeatedly threatened to contect a very high level up about the issue which will make policy to ban the shilling.

     

    So learn about what your advising.

     

    http://apcmag.com/why-using-google-dns-opendns-is-a-bad-idea.htm

     

     

    As long as it's done correctly there is no problem, it's just people are advising crap they don't understand.

     

     

    Only advise OpenDNS if the OP lives near or in one of the major cities OpenDNS has servers.

     

    Only advise GoogleDNS (or any other) if there is a DNS server in the same area where the OP is getting their Internet from.

     

    It's really not hard, but people seem to be brain dead or something.

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 7:37 AM (in response to ds store)

    namebench only gives the speed of the DNS servers in the area

    I don't understand why you're saying that. One of the options, the first one, is clearly marked for testing OpenDNS, among others, not regional servers only. Regional ones is another option, the second one down. And if one leaves both boxes unchecked, but enters the numbers for OpenDNS in the client, as well as leaving any others that might have been provided by the ISP, it will do a comparison of only those servers.

     

    I understand all that about the location of OpenDNS servers, but my point in suggesting testing with namebench is to find out one way or the other whether OpenDNS is giving good speed or not, regardless of making some assumption beforehand based on location, that it will necessarily be slow.

     

    I wouldn't be so quick to assume "brain dead" here.  This is not "shilling;" this about asking the OP to do some simple testing first before switching to OpenDNS, or any  alternative DNS server, for that matter. Now, what's wrong with that?

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 8:41 PM (in response to WZZZ)

    Screen shot 2013-02-23 at 6.56.43 PM.jpg

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2013 9:02 PM (in response to WZZZ)

    I understand all that about the location of OpenDNS servers, but my point in suggesting testing with namebench is to find out one way or the other whether OpenDNS is giving good speed or not

     

    This is a worldwide forum, the odds the OP is not living in one of the major cities serviced by OpenDNS is high.

     

    If they are living in or get their Internet from one of these cities serviced by OpenDNS,

     

    • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • Chicago, Illinois, USA
    • Dallas, Texas, USA
    • Frankfurt, Germany
    • London, United Kingdom
    • Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Miami, Florida, USA
    • New York, New York, USA
    • Palo Alto, California, USA
    • Seattle, Washington, USA
    • Singapore
    • Washington, DC, USA
    • Hong Kong, China

     

    Then it's not a issue. But people are spamming the forums and others come here and search, try the suggestion and wind up messing up their machines and also have erased their ISP's DNS settings so they got ANOTHER problem.

     

     

     

    This is not "shilling;" this about asking the OP to do some simple testing first before switching to OpenDNS, or any  alternative DNS server, for that matter. Now, what's wrong with that?

     

    What's wrong with asking the OP where they live first then advise a closest alternate DNS as a solution?

     

    I commend the use of namebench, at least that's gives the fastest DNS and can flag the ISP DNS if it's having issues (appears slower than others), but it doesn't solve the Akamai based content download issue.

     

    What about advising the OP to make sure to SAVE their ISP DNS settings to put back the way it was if it's not fixing their issue?

     

     

    Having people change their DNS without advising them to read the PRIVACY POLICY of said alternate DNS is another issue.

     

    Google is spying on everyone, OpenDNS is a for profit company that might be seling a users web traffic for profit.

     

    They might have a issue with the privacy policy or a lack of one with alternate DNS, yet nobody advises them of that detail neither.

     

     

     

    So I don't have anything against OpenDNS, just the method it's being used as a cure all and incomplete advice causing more problems for people that it solved originally.

     

    In most cases it's best to leave the DNS setttings alone! The ISP will resolve their DNS issues evnetually with no need for the user to do anything.

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