5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 15, 2008 7:30 PM by MNSKIER
MNSKIER Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello All,

I purchased a Macbook Pro about a month ago and have nothing but good things to say about it. Prior to buying a Mac, I've only used PCs (and used to be what many would describe as a mac hater). I had things to do on a regular basis such as virus/spyware removal, disk cleanup, disk defrag, deleting temp files and unnecessary applications, removing obsolete registry entries, etc. Now my question is what am I supposed to be doing with my MBP to keep it running like it did when it was new? I've seen utilities that I can download such as Maintenance 3.8 to supposedly keep my system running healthy. What utility (preferably free) do I need (if any are necessary) to keep a clean running machine?

For the removal of unneeded software, the general consensus seems to check and see if there is an uninstaller. If not, what is the best way of uninstalling software (as dumping it in the trash leaves preference files)?

Thank you in advance for answering my questions...Glad to be part of the Mac family!

Message was edited by: MNSKIER

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (252,285 points)
    Uninstalling Software: The Basics

    Most OS X applications are completely self-contained "packages" that can be uninstalled by simply dragging the application to the Trash. Most applications create preference files which are stored in the /Home/Library/Preferences/ folder. Although they do nothing once you delete the associated application, they do take up some disk space. If you want you can located them in the above location and delete them, too.

    Some applications may install an uninstaller program that can be used to remove the application. In some cases the uninstaller may be part of the application's installer, and is invoked by clicking on a Customize button that will appear during the install process.

    Some applications may install components in the /Home/Library/Applications Support/ folder. You can also check there to see if the application has created a folder. You can also delete the folder that's in the Applications Support folder. Again, they don't do anything but take up disk space once the application is trashed.

    Some applications may install a startupitem or a Log In item. Startupitems are usually installed in the /Library/StartupItems/ folder and less often in the /Home/Library/StartupItems/ folder. Log In Items are set in the Accounts preferences. Open System Preferences, click on the Accounts icon, then click on the LogIn Items tab. Locate the item in the list for the application you want to remove and click on the "-" button to delete it from the list.

    If an application installs any other files the best way to track them down is to do a Finder search using the application name or the developer name as the search term.

    There are also several shareware utilities that can uninstall applications:
    Spring Cleaning

    Look for them at VersionTracker or MacUpdate.

    For more information visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on removing software.

    Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance

    For disk repairs use Disk Utility. For situations DU cannot handle the best third-party utilities are: Disk Warrior; DW only fixes problems with the disk directory, but most disk problems are caused by directory corruption; Disk Warrior 4.x is now Intel Mac compatible. TechTool Pro provides additional repair options including file repair and recovery, system diagnostics, and disk defragmentation. TechTool Pro 4.5.1 or higher are Intel Mac compatible; Drive Genius is similar to TechTool Pro in terms of the various repair services provided. Versions 1.5.1 or later are Intel Mac compatible.

    OS X performs certain maintenance functions that are scheduled to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly period. The maintenance scripts run in the early AM only if the computer is turned on 24/7 (no sleep.) If this isn't the case, then an excellent solution is to download and install a shareware utility such as Macaroni, JAW PseudoAnacron, or Anacron that will automate the maintenance activity regardless of whether the computer is turned off or asleep. Dependence upon third-party utilities to run the periodic maintenance scripts had been significantly reduced in Tiger and Leopard.

    OS X automatically defrags files less than 20 MBs in size, so unless you have a disk full of very large files there's little need for defragmenting the hard drive. As for virus protection there are few if any such animals affecting OS X. You can protect the computer easily using the freeware Open Source virus protection software ClamXAV. Personally I would avoid most commercial anti-virus software because of their potential for causing problems.

    I would also recommend downloading the shareware utility TinkerTool System that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old logfiles and archives, clearing caches, etc.

    For emergency repairs install the freeware utility Applejack. If you cannot start up in OS X, you may be able to start in single-user mode from which you can run Applejack to do a whole set of repair and maintenance routines from the commandline. Note that presently AppleJack is not compatible with Leopard.

    When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand. I also recommend booting into safe mode before doing system software updates.

    Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):

    1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
    2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
    3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
    4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
    5. Carbon Copy Cloner (Donationware)
    6. SuperDuper! (Commercial)
    7. Intego Personal Backup (Commercial)
    8. Data Backup (Commercial)

    The following utilities can also be used for backup, but cannot create bootable clones:

    1. Backup (requires a .Mac account with Apple both to get the software and to use it.)
    2. Toast
    3. Impression
    4. arRSync

    Apple's Backup is a full backup tool capable of also backing up across multiple media such as CD/DVD. However, it cannot create bootable backups. It is primarily an "archiving" utility as are the other two.

    Impression and Toast are disk image based backups, only. Particularly useful if you need to backup to CD/DVD across multiple media.

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore.

    Additional suggestions will be found in Mac Maintenance Quick Assist.

    Referenced software can be found at www.versiontracker.com and www.macupdate.com.
  • Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)

    Well, Kappy's really given you the "whole ball of wax," so there's not much to say on that score. I'll just give my own take on it to (maybe) help you decide what you will do.

    First, there's really no maintenance that you must perform in order to keep your Mac running well. There are a few things (mentioned by Kappy) that you can do, but they will not really affect the way your Mac runs in most cases.

    Certainly, the first, middle, and last thing you should always be doing is maintaining a good backup. Kappy, and many others, like cloning. I like Time Machine (I have had better luck with it than Kappy has; YMMV). The absolute best option would be to use both, but definitely choose one or the other, then stay on top of it!!!

    Disk Warrior is certainly the most respected disk "repair" utility available. In many cases, it can and will repair a damaged disk directory when/if OS X's Disk Utility fails. If you are going to spend the money for third-party utilities, put this one at or near the top of the list. That said, I do not use it. If I ever encounter a disk error, especially one that Disk Utility cannot repair, I prefer to simply format (erase) the disk in question, then recover using my carefully-maintained backup (see above!). My methods are not better, simply different. I must say, however, that I only very rarely must resort to this (perhaps twice in as long as I can remember).

    Whatever else you do, just enjoy using your Mac!

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,870 points)
    You will come across many "maintenance" utilities for the Mac, but 95% of them are really "troubleshooting" utilities. Actual maintenance used to be more necessary in earlier versions of OS X, but Apple has gradually been automating each task, like defragmenting, so that we don't have to. There is no regular maintenance that I perform.

    That said, Mac OS X only defragments files that are less than 20MB in size, so if you are doing pro-level imaging, video, or audio, you may have larger files that could benefit from a utility like iDefrag. But most Mac users won't need that.

    I own DiskWarrior, and it's the best at what it does. However, where I needed to run it monthly about ten years ago, I don't run it very much these days because when I do, it hardly finds anything wrong. This is because Apple has continually tweaked the file system to prevent directory corruption, using features like file system journaling. Corruption can still happen, but it's much less likely than it used to be. Back in OS 9, a couple crashes could really mess up the directory, but today you almost have to have a hardware problem before that happens.
  • MNSKIER Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the information! I appreciate it.
  • MNSKIER Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the information...I appreciate it!