How to fix a slow MacBook

Apple MacBooks are known for their performance as well as their good looks. They're usually pretty snappy and make computing a pleasant experience. But over time, things can slow down as hard drives get filled and the system slows down. It's not usually noticeable on a day-to-day basis but when the MacBook is finally optimized, the improvement can be startling! Here Larry Camacho makes some useful suggestions to speed up your MacBook:

Why is My MacBook Running Slow?

There are many reasons why your MacBook might be slow. Many of them have to do with how your computer's being used. One good way is upgrade your RAM. OSX uses up a 512 RAM nicely; if you're running several other tools, you might need a 1 or 2 GB RAM, perhaps more. However, before you invest in a RAM upgrade, read the following best practices to increase your MacBook's speed:

Close unused applications: MacBooks need nearly 512 MB of RAM for the smooth operation of OSX alone. Additional applications running simultaneously will bring the performance down, even if you have a 2 GB RAM.

Restart your computer at regular intervals: Sometimes a simple restart will solve most performance issues.

Clean out Startup Items: Navigate to Apple Menu - System Preferences - Accounts - Login Items and remove any applications that you don't need at startup. Note: Make sure you do not delete anything that is critical to your MacBook's performance.

Update your System Preferences setup: If you don't use tools such as Universal Access, Bluetooth, Speech Recognition, and Internet Sharing regularly, keep them turned off until you need them again. You can do this from your System Preferences window. Turning off unused applications saves a lot of RAM.

Update your Other System Preferences: In the bottom pane of your System Preferences window, you will see some general preferences that are labeled Other. If you notice any preferences that you don't care for, or that you use occasionally, disable it, or remove the preference from the /Library/PreferencePanes folder.

Evaluate if you have the latest software: You might be using an Intel Mac, but some of your software may be running under the Rosetta translator. Rosetta allows applications that were originally built for a PowerPC processor to run on an Intel chip. If you must use Rosetta, make sure that the applications that are running under this platform are upgraded to the latest available patch. Try App Update widget will help with this.

Clean out irrelevant code: Most softwares are both PowerPC and Intel friendly. To optimize your MacBook to utilize the processor speed efficiently, use a utility like XSlimmer or Monolingual strip out unnecessary code in your software. This action gains you double benefits; applications run faster, and disk space is saved.

Note: If you're currently using a PowerPC Mac and you anticipate a possible migration to Intel, you might want to defer running XSlimmer until you've made the transition. If not, all the programs that you slimmed for PowerPC will be running under Rosetta on your Intel Mac, unless install the applications again.

Remove unused languages and translations: Your MacBook comes with multi-lingo localization options. However, you might not be using all of them. Use Monolingual to remove the language option for the languages you will not need. Important note: Monolingual will also remove any unnecessary architecture from your system, while keeping your applications safe.

Keep your MacBook cool: Make sure your MacBook's fan does not very hot. Your MacBook will slow down when the processor heats up. The Fan Control utility allows you to change the threshold for turning the MacBook's fan on and off. With a cool processor, you can maximize performance, though this might shorten your battery's life a bit.

Do you need all those Widgets? Evaluate the widgets on your Mac OS X 10.4.x Dashboard and disable the ones that you do not need; you will save both your RAM and your processor energy by doing this.

Use Apple's Activity Monitor to optimize processor power: By using this tool, you can monitor CPU usage, RAM requirements, virtual memory usage, and see if an application is a PowerPC or Intel (Universal) build.

Clean your hard disk: Doing this will enhance your MacBook's performance greatly.

Run repair tools on your hard disk: OnyX, Cocktail and TinkerTool are good options for this task. Run both the maintenance and the cleaning options in OnyX and also set up scheduled routines

Buying a new machine will cost a lot of money and will take time and more money to set up. Perform the optimization tasks outlined in this article and your MacBook might just perform like a brand new machine.

Larry Camacho is an article author for various resources such as Mac-How.Net. Larry Camacho knows how to deal with the "MacBook running slow" issues!

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