6 Replies Latest reply: Oct 27, 2012 3:44 PM by emmalauren
emmalauren Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

My 11 month old lion mac has become slower and slower.  What should I do to get it up to speed?  You tubes and other things download very slowly.  I have DSL.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (249,645 points)

    Of course slow internet may have nothing to do with the computer.

     

    Things You Can Do To Keep Your Computer From Slowing Down

     

    If your computer seems to be running slower here are some things you can do:

     

    Boot into Safe Mode then repair your hard drive and permissions:

     

    Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions Pre-Lion

     

    Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer.

     

    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

     

    Repair the Hard Drive - Lion

     

    Boot from your Lion Recovery HD. When the recovery menu appears select Disk Utility. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported, then click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the main menu. Select Restart from the Apple menu.

     

    Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

    Restart your computer normally and see if this has helped any. Next do some maintenance:

     

    Suggestions for OS X Maintenance

     

    For situations Disk Utility cannot handle the best third-party utility is 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.

     

    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 was significantly reduced since Tiger.  These utilities have limited or no functionality with Snow Leopard or Lion and should not be installed.

     

    OS X automatically defragments 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. For more about malware see Macintosh Virus Guide.

     

    I would also recommend downloading a utility such as TinkerTool System, OnyX 2.4.3, or Cocktail 5.1.1 that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old log files 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 command line.  Note that AppleJack 1.5 is required for Leopard. AppleJack 1.6 is compatible with Snow Leopard. There is no confirmation that this version also works with Lion.

     

    When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand.

     

    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. Carbon Copy Cloner

      2. Data Backup

      3. Deja Vu

      4. SuperDuper!

      5. SyncTwoFolders

      6. Synk Pro

      7. Synk Standard

      8. Tri-Backup

     

    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 CNet Downloads or MacUpdate.

     

    Additional Hints

     

    Be sure you have an adequate amount of RAM installed for the number of applications you run concurrently. Be sure you leave a minimum of 10% of the hard drive's capacity as free space.

     

    Add more RAM. If your computer has less than 2 GBs of RAM and you are using OS X Leopard or later, then you can do with more RAM. Snow Leopard and Lion work much better with 4 GBs of RAM than their system minimums. The more concurrent applications you tend to use the more RAM you should have.

     

    Always maintain at least 15 GBs or 10% of your hard drive's capacity as free space, whichever is greater. OS X is frequently accessing your hard drive, so providing adequate free space will keep things from slowing down.

     

    Check for applications that may be hogging the CPU:

     

    Open Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.  Select All Processes from the Processes dropdown menu.  Click twice on the CPU% column header to display in descending order.  If you find a process using a large amount of CPU time, then select the process and click on the Quit icon in the toolbar.  Click on the Force Quit button to kill the process.  See if that helps.  Be sure to note the name of the runaway process so you can track down the cause of the problem.

     

    Often this problem occurs because of a corrupted cache or preferences file or an attempt to write to a corrupted log file.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6 (17,500 points)

    Some thoughts ...

     

    FIrst thing I'd do is run the Apple Hardware Test.  This will tell you if there are any hardware issues. I wouldn't expect any on an 11 month old system, however, it doesn't hurt to check. Run the extended test, which may take over an hour to run.

     

    How much free disk space do you have? if 10GB or less, or generally 10% or less of disk capacity, that can slow the system down significantly.

     

    Are you running with 2GB or 4GB+ of memory? While 2GB is the minimum for Lion, it's recommended that you run at least 4GB for good performance.

     

    If you do a safe boot, where you boot holding the shift key down, which will take longer than a normal boot, is the performance more what you expect?  If so, try booting normally and see if things are still OK. One of the things a safe boot does is some disk maintenance.

     

    If a reboot after safe boot yields the same slow performance, that was improved under the safe boot, you want to look at your login items and software that's loaded when you boot. In System Preferences under users look at your login items. Make sure, first, that you want the programs that are loading, and that they are a version that will run with Lion. Next, at the bottom of the System Preferences window, there may be some programs listed. Make sure they are versions that will run under Lion.

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (39,915 points)

    Whatever you do, do not download or install any product claiming to magically "clean up" or "speed up" or "optimize" your Mac. Without exception, they will do the opposite. If you already did, you found the problem. Fix it.

     

    If it is only Web browsing that seems to be slower than it used to, that is often the result of such sites becoming ever more demanding of hardware and bandwidth. Short of paying for faster Internet service, buying additional memory, or a faster Mac, there is little you can do to cope with such so-called progress.

     

    If you're experiencing general slowdowns or "freezes" unrelated to Internet activity, the problem may be related to your computer or the software you installed and is something you may be able to fix, or at least improve. Aside from hardware failures and software that you install, including OS upgrades, there is no reason that your computer should not work exactly as well as the day it was built.

     

    Without a more specific description it is difficult to provide specific guidance. Read the following to determine if something may apply to your concern:

     


     

    General Mac maintenance: Tips to keep your Mac in top form

     

    General purpose Mac troubleshooting guide: Isolating issues in Mac OS X

     

    Creating a temporary user to isolate user-specific problems: Isolating an issue by using another user account

     

    Memory limitations: Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used

     

    Identifying resource hogs and other tips: Runaway applications can shorten battery runtime

     

    To identify potential hardware problems: Apple Hardware Test

     

    To resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance, use Disk Utility.

     

    Safe Mode or "Safe Boot" is a troubleshooting mode that bypasses all third party system extensions and loads only required system components.

    Read about it: Starting up in Safe Mode

     

    To repair a potentially corrupt hard disk, so that you may recover its data prior to replacing it, and subsequently reinstall Mac OS X: OS X Recovery

    (applies only to Lion and later versions of OS X)

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (249,645 points)

    Whatever you do, do not download or install any product claiming to magically "clean up" or "speed up" or "optimize" your Mac. Without exception, they will do the opposite. If you already did, you found the problem. Fix it.

     

    And, maybe, also ignore any written information claiming to do likewise. Ooops, wait! That would be us.

  • rmiller88 Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)

    Your subject implies your computer is slow, but the text of your message implies that your internet connection is slow. Which one is it?

     

    If it is the internet, then it probably has little to do with your computer, and more to do with either your ISP or noise on your phone line.

     

    You can measure the speed of your computer online by going to a site like the following:

     

         http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

     

    At this site, I get about 20Mbps download, and 4Mbps upload.

     

    Another good site is:

     

         http://www.speedtest.net

  • emmalauren Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I wish to thank all of you for the wonderful advice.  I will be checking each thing out that you recommend.  I do know that i need to delete some old things in such places as mail, bookmarks, etc.  You have all given me much food for thought and a lot of different things to do toward getting my computer to run faster.  Probably mainly my fault that is doesn't.

    I'll try to get back on here and tell you what I found works for me.  Getting more ram seems like a good idea.  I personally think that these high powered machines should come with more of it installed.

     

    I appreciate you for taking the time and effort to help me.