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Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

How to free up memory in MacBook Pro? (How to avoid getting the revolving rainbow?)

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Bart1977 Level 2 Level 2 (285 points)

    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?

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 Level 8 (40,015 points)

    What is the year model of your MBP and related specifications?  Is this a RAM issue or HDD issue?



  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    It's a MacBook Pro 2006, 10.6. I don't know if it's a RAM or HDD issue, but I last backed up a week ago, before Mobile Me was deleted from my HDD. I'm using iCloud now and cannot back up to it. I need to buy a back up hard drive.

  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I cannot find the Utilities, ... System Memory tab. I have 10.6.


  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 Level 8 (40,015 points)

    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.



  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Checking free memory:

    Free 72 MB

    Active 1.24 GB

    Inactive 462 MB


    I know I'm short on HD space.


    Thanks, Bart1977

  • DOTro Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    Check the health of the hard drive with

    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.

  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    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.

    Thanks, Ogelthorpe


  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I compressed some programs and data. I now have 4.56 GB free.



    CAPACITY 80.0 GB


    "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.


    Thanks, DOTro

  • Erkki Kangas Level 4 Level 4 (3,715 points)

    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!

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 Level 8 (40,015 points)

    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.

  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thanks Ogelthorpe and Errki

  • Gab Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    It's actually 5 errors, not 1708.

  • cranberryroll Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    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:


    free: 1.34GB

    active: 1.14GB

    Inactive: 353.3MB

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