How to Optimize your MAC

Posted on January 28th, by Cathy Olsen in Tutorial. No Comments


So, I've had this on my 'to do' list for over 6 months.  I have been avoiding using our MAC home computer.  It is now 4 years old.   I have done much to 'maintain' my MAC.  Just install the software and security updates.  I found a good website that had some pretty good ideas.  Here is another article that I found that had similar information.

I don't know if you need all of the tools that the article mentioned.  It seems like there are 2 things you need to do.

1) MAKE ROOM on your hard drive

The article mentions that you should have 10% free space on your hard drive.  My computer has 232 GB of space and I only had 6 GB of space.

Think of your computer like it's your kitchen.  Think of the CPU as the cook.  What does the cook use to cook? food that is the pantry or fridge, easy to access and ready to use.  Think of the pantry as your RAM.  Where do you store extra food?  Usually is some cold closet in a basement.  Think of your food storage as your hard drive.  You can get at the food, but it takes a little more work to get it there.

There is a function in a computer called virtual memory.  This is when all of your RAM is used and the computer starts using part of the harddrive as RAM.  I automatically thought of my Mom for this comparison: Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, she is always running out of space in her pantry and fridges.  So, she uses her back patio as a place to store food.  It's EASIER to access, but not as easy as her many fridges and pantry.

What happens if your hard drive is full?  How does that affect performance?  Well, if your RAM is all used up and your hard drive is full, it is difficult for the CPU to process because it is constantly trying to find more space for virtual memory.  Think of trying to cook a thanksgiving meal, with a full pantry, full kitchen, full back patio, and full food storage.  You would have a hard time cooking because you would be constantly trying to find an empty spot to put the food you are cooking.

Easy way to make room – Before you start deciding which picture to keep from 3 years ago, here are some of the bigger files to tackle:

  • empty your trash – It's something I always forget to do as well.  But there could be 100s GB of space hiding there
  • movies – With all of the digital videos, it's brought Data retention and storage to a whole new level.  Get rid of the DVD projects that you have burned.  You can always make a copy down the road if you have a physical copy.  Also, you could move movies to an external hard drive.
  • If that didn't make enough room, then yes, start going through the 8MB pictures that you let your kids take.

2) Repair permissions

This is something that I did before, but didn't really understand.  Without going into depth, some programs that you may install may have improper file permissions.  By correcting the file permissions, the MAC OS can process more efficiently.

Open up the Applications Folder.  Go to Disk Utility.  Click on the Hard drive icon.  Click on 'Repair Disk Permissions'

Other items

The following items didn't apply to me, but they are worth mentioning:

  • Widgets – See how many widgets are running on your desktop.  Remove the ones that you don't use
  • Languages – There is a tool called monolingual that can be used to remove some of the languages installed on your MAC.  It will clear a couple hundred MB.
  • CPU settings – You can change the CPU setting (if battery life is of no concern to you) go to System Preferences>Energy Saver>Options and set your processor performance to Highest.
  • Maintenance Checks – Download the applicable Onyx maintenance application.

*** If all else fails – Add more RAM.  I will try and do this myself this next month. *** Maybe I can post a 'HOW TO'  We'll see this is even a little out of my league.

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