Revolving rainbow, I haven't heard that one. Commonly, it's called the spinning beachball, but I like your thinking :-)
Anyway, is it really an issue of not enough memory? When the spinning beachball pops up when starting apps, it could indicate a failing harddrive. Have you backed up lately?
You can check free memory by going to Launchpad, opening the Utilities folder and starting Activity Monitor. When you click on the System Memory tab, what do the numbers say for Free, Active and Inactive?
I suspect that your problem is storage. What is the size of your HDD and how much space do you have left? You can COMMAND 'I' on the HDD icon on the upper right hand corner of your desktop for that information. Download from the Internet OmnoDiskSweeper (free) and open it. It will show all of your files and the respective sizes. Delete what you don't need.
In your Applications folder is a Utilities folder where Activity Monitor resides. That is what Bar1977t is referring to. He assumed that you have Lion, not Snow Leopard, hence the bit of confusion.
Check the health of the hard drive with http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php
You don't have to worry about freeing ram, OS X does a pretty good job handling all that. Hope it helps, let me know what Smart Utility says.
I don't have an HDD icon on my desktop, but when I look at my Documents folder, it says I have 4.09 GB available.
I'd clear more space by deleting applications than files. I know I could move some applications to a new backup drive and then delete them from my hard drive. I'll find out how large the OmnoDisk Sweeper is before I download it. I may not have enough space to download another app. I compressed some files to save space.
I compressed some programs and data. I now have 4.56 GB free.
SMART UTILITY http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php
CAPACITY 80.0 GB
SMART STATUS: YELLOW and "FAILING"
"Removed 29 bad sectors
Total errors 1708
Reallocated 308 bad sectors"
Do I need to buy Smart Utility?
Had 5 simultaneous errors at READ DMA EXT. (I don't know what that means). I don't see all the windows that the web site shows. I guess that is for purchased downloads.
I'd like to reinstate MobileMe's Backup function. Apple says it will work until June so that I could back that up until I get the backup hard drive. I was in the store last week; iCloud will not work on my computer.
First, go and buy yourself an externat hard drive, then use Time Machine to create a full backup of your disk. Or you can use Disk Utility to create a full, bootable clone of your internal disk.
And second, buy your Mac a new internal HD, the one you have is failing. Once it is installed use Migration Assistant to restore your programs, settings and data from TimeMachine.
Remember, Backup is dead, about to be buried in June. TimeMachine is a fine replacement, start using it today!
Erkki Kangas is correct. Your top priority should be purchasing two HDDs and an enclosure. One to replace your internal HDD and the other for backup
I suggest getting at least 500 Gb and preferably 750 Gb capacity HDDs. This allows for expansion and will improve performance. Also AVOID getting HDDs with built in sudden motion sensors because they can conflict with the internal one in the MBP. (at least for the oneinternal you will be replacing the current one) This way you will avoid installation problems.
PS. OmniDiskSweeper is 6.9 Mb. This now is a low priority.
I have a question about the system memory of my mac and it seems like you might know the answer.
I have used boot camp to set aside system memory space for windows. But later I decided not to install windows.
I used the way you have advised and got to the activity monitor and here is what I got for the numbers: