13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 18, 2008 2:45 PM by Pos
k5k Level 1 Level 1
My computer is running very slow lately. Even when zero programs are open it still takes a few seconds to click on an item on the desktop. Is there some type of disk cleanup I can run? Or even anything else? I am running OS 10.5 with 512 MB and an 80 GB HD that is halfway full.

Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5
    K5K, welcome to the forums.

    It would be helpful to know what kind of Mac Mini you have: Intel (4 USB ports on the back) or the old G4 PPC Mini (2 USB ports on the back).

    There are maintenance programs that can clear up problems. Yasu is one that I recommend frequently because of its simple interface:

  • k5k Level 1 Level 1
    I have the older G4 PPC mini. It only has 256MB RAM, but it has just been running a lot slower than normal. I ran the program you sent me, and I am still having problems.
  • k5k Level 1 Level 1
    I'm sorry, it's actually a 512 MB RAM.
  • Joseph Kriz Level 5 Level 5

    I was running 512 of memory on my Intel MacMini and it was slow.

    I just upgraded to 2x1GB chips and this machine is super fast now.
    It just isn't even the same machine. It's like getting a brand new computer.
    It's just as fast as my MacBook which has a faster processor and core 3 duo.

    My recommendation would be to put more memory in it.
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6
    My recommendation would be to put more memory in it.

    Always sound advice, but in this case it shouldn't be necessary. The OP has a G4 mini with 512Mb RAM which is broadly the equivalent of an Intel mini running 1Gb. It should provide reasonably good performance as it is, and even if RAM were an issue, it would not cause an apparent slow-down in performance. It should also be noted that the G4 minis have only one RAM slot, and can only take a maximum of 1Gb RAM.

    To k5k:
    What software are you running on that system? Are there any particular applications which seem to have slowed down, or is it all of them? Can you describe an example, and the circumstances, of the system running slowly?
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5
    I would agree with Andy's assessment that 512 Meg RAM is not going to be the issue with this user's PPC G4 Mini.

    I note that the user is running Leopard:

    "I am running OS 10.5 with 512 MB and an 80 GB HD that is halfway full."

    It would be useful to hear about the upgrade path the user has followed (what was the original OS version on this mini?) and how much of the original settings have been migrated over to Leopard.

    Did the Mini run this slow immediately before or after the Leopard upgrade? Or is it something that has developed over time while running Leopard?
  • Joseph Kriz Level 5 Level 5
    I disagree with you a little on the slowdown due to memory.

    For testing, I put 256 MB of memory in my MacMini and it was slow.
    Slow to startup, slow to load programs. Just plain slow with everything.
    Even 512 wasn't up to what I prefer.

    Yes, I am aware of the different slots and amount of memory a machine can handle.
    I was only giving the information for my particular machine.
    It runs much, much faster with 2 GB of memory than it did with 512 MB.
    Memory is cheap right now and like you also mention, it always good advice to add more memory.

    I also had a typo on the core 3 duo... Of course it is a core 2 duo..
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6
    There's no doubt that 256Mb RAM in a G4 mini makes it pretty slow, and 512Mb helps is enormously, but I stand by what I said before - 512Mb is adequate for most needs, and in any even would not account for a loss of performance as perceived by the user.

    Most of the reason a G4 mini with 1Gb memory gains performance over the same unit with 512Mb is down to the significant decrease in paging activity (the reading and writing of cache and temp files) which due to the slower laptop drives uses in those systems, creates somewhat of a performance bottleneck. The higher the memory, the fewer paging actions take place, thus the better the performance. However, the relatively performance difference is also a factor of how many applications are concurrently active, so even with more RAM it doesn't mean the system is going to have a specific or predictable performance gap.

    The comments I made about the difference is RAM capacities and slots were included solely to ensure the OP was not accidentally misled into believing the G4 system being discussed had the same capabilities and options as the Intel system you described.
  • Pos Level 4 Level 4
    Hi k5k,

    If I were in your position I think that I'd backup all of my important files and folders (i.e. music, photos, video, documents, safari bookmarks and ical files) and then run a clean install of Leopard. It wont do your system any harm, especially if you only decided to upgrade or archive and install from Panther or Tiger to Leopard. There will more than likely be a whole host of dusty files from your previous OS instillation cluttering up your hard drive and a spring clean (fresh install) should really do the trick. OS X does tend to just run and run and run without the need to wipe the system because its UNIX based and is generally very tidy in terms of the way that the system runs. There isn't really anything that can get into the main architecture of the operating system, most apps, files and folders just kind of float around on top of it. Freeware such as onyx (now available for Leopard) will allow you to have a good go at cleaning the surface but it might just need that little bit more.

    See what you think, a clean install certainly is a harmless procedure that only takes about 45 minutes and it usually does the world of good! As far as RAM is concerned, 512 is plenty capable of multi-tasking without a hitch and why shouldn't it be? If your system was running fine before, you know that your system can and does run quickly. There's just something thats built up or changed on your system that's causing the slow down.

    Just as a little side note:
    I upgraded my MacMini from 512MB to 1GB of RAM a month or two ago and the system does feel a little more responsive and I can have a lot more going on, but it was perfectly fine before. I only decided to go ahead because the memory was cheap. Cracking the lid off my mini was the scariest part, especially when you have to start prising gently and then you hear some spine shiveringly plastic cracking sounds but I did it well and it works a treat. A discreet latch / handle and a removable panel to the underside would have been preferred but what can I do about that? No damage done!

    Good luck
  • k5k Level 1 Level 1

    Will the Leopard install disc help me do a clean install, or do I have to format the hard drive first? Also, do I still need to back everything up if I'm running time machine?
  • Pos Level 4 Level 4
    Hi again k5k.

    Yes the Leopard disk will allow you to perform a clean install and I would still recommend backing up all of your really important files first just in case. In theory time machine should take care of this but I would be tempted just to make a copy of your absolute must keep files on some CDs/DVDs or an external hard drive should it not work in practise. At least this way after you've performed a clean install you will have a good idea as to how well time machine works with regards to allowing you to copy all of the backed up files back to your mac.

    In order to run an 'erase and install' from the leopard install DVD, pop it in your disk drive and start the instillation process. Your mac will restart and then load back up into the installation process. Read and continue through each of the dialogue boxes carefully until you come accross this window:

    'Select Destination'

    Along the bottom of this window there should be an 'options' button or something to that effect. Click that button, and then you should see a dropdown menu like this:


    Then simply select 'erase and install' and there you go! Just leave it for 45 minutes or so and whollah, a brand spanking new shiny mac! If you are still a bit hesitant or if you still don't quite know what to do, let me know and I'll walk you right the way through!

    Good look
  • k5k Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for the help. I reformatted, and now everything is running like new.
  • Pos Level 4 Level 4
    Glad to hear that! Enjoy your mac again =)