5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2011 12:54 PM by Network 23
GWalden Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
When we first got our iMac (2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) several years ago we were told that unlike our previous Mac we would not need to use Norton Utilities anymore since the new OS had UNIX scripts that ran automatically in the AM as long as we left the computer on. Sometime ago I came across a Dashboard app called Maintidget and installed it as an extra precaution.

With some program freezes, some crashes (especially FireFox), and general slowness I have been wondering if there is something I am not doing to maintain performance. I found a utility on the Apple website and when it scanned my HD it came back and said the HD had fragmentation. While searching I also found MainMenu, CleanMyMac, Drive Genius 3, CheckUp, Cocktail, and CleanApp.

How do I know if any of these utilities do what they say? What do I look for on the Mac when I am looking for bad files - corrupted files, etc.? I have seen files whose Icon is a grey rectangle with "exe" in the upper left corner; what are these?

Currently, on a 250GB HD I am using 132 GB so I don't think the HD is too cramped. What else could be slowing it down?

Thanks for any insights into maintaining the smooth operation of the iMac.

iMac 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,880 points)
    GWalden wrote:
    With some program freezes, some crashes (especially FireFox), and general slowness I have been wondering if there is something I am not doing to maintain performance.

    If a Web browser is freezing often, the cause is often by a plug-in extension for that browser, or bugs in the JavaScript or Java that a specific web site uses. Firefox doesn't freeze for most people; I haven't seen that happen in a long time.

    I found a utility on the Apple website and when it scanned my HD it came back and said the HD had fragmentation.

    All disks that are used for more than a couple minutes are fragmented. The question is how much. And on the whole, unlike Windows, you don't need to defragment Macs yourself. Info:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375

    While searching I also found MainMenu, CleanMyMac, Drive Genius 3, CheckUp, Cocktail, and CleanApp.

    I don't use any of those on my Macs. Once in a while I repair permissions, or maybe I'll run DiskWarrior if I suspect serious directory damage (very rare), but otherwise I consider Snow Leopard to be more or less self-maintaining.

    I have seen files whose Icon is a grey rectangle with "exe" in the upper left corner; what are these?

    .exe is the standard file extension for any application under Windows. They are probably Windows applications that for some reason are sitting on your Mac disk. Maybe they were downloaded by accident, thinking they were Mac apps. Maybe they belong to a copy of Windows you are running in virtualization or under Boot Camp.

    Currently, on a 250GB HD I am using 132 GB so I don't think the HD is too cramped. What else could be slowing it down?


    If you suspect a performance problem, you can use Activity Monitor to analyze usage. Under CPU, are there any processes hogging the CPU (using an unusually high percentage)? Under System Memory, are there any processes using an unusually large amount of Real Mem? Under Network, is your network connection being used to capacity, slowing down access for other apps?

    I use utilities like MenuMeters to show any unusual spikes happening in CPU, disk, or network use. When one occurs, I try to figure out which app is causing it. When all indicators are nominal (no unusual activity), the machine should be able to do whatever I need at optimal speed.
  • arthur Level 5 Level 5 (4,965 points)
    There is a freeware utility called applejack that is very good for doing routine maintenance (it's at http://applejack.sourceforge.net/). If my mac is not behaving properly I run it and it fixes it.

    Norton utilities should be mentioned only to be condemned.

    Years ago I was a fervent and devoted defragmenter, but I haven't done this in years.

    What seems to work well is to occasionally take a look at all the stuff on my hard drive and clean out what I don't need, and to maintain a reasonable amount of free space on the drive.
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (62,195 points)
  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,880 points)
    arthur wrote:
    There is a freeware utility called applejack that is very good for doing routine maintenance (it's at http://applejack.sourceforge.net/). If my mac is not behaving properly I run it and it fixes it.


    Yeah I love AppleJack. Like you, I only run it if I think something's amiss. Or every few months.