Monday, December 10, 2007

Making you old mac run a little faster

Macs are fantastic machines, but sometimes they also have their performance problems. I have my Mac running well for years, day and night, and it has been pretty capable to handle the load.

There are times, however, when you want to improve the performance of you system. If that is the case, it is interesting to check possible areas where you could get extra performance of your old Mac box.

I have a handy list of things to look for in my Mac from time to time. I run through this list to make sure that I get the best performance of my machine, and that Mac OS X keeps running fine. Here are some of my tips:

  • Take notice of the programs you are installing in the background. Mac OS X is highly reliable, but there are some programs that keep running in the background, and therefore take resources that should be made available to other programs. For example, I used to have small Java-based utilities installed. They can be very nice, but also take their toll from you processor. Nowadays, I prefer to remove any background program that is not doing anything used in my system.
  • Install latest updates. This is hard not to do, but am lazy enough to dismiss the Mac OS X update screen when it pops up. Of course, it will be there the next day, so it is better to do updates the first time they come.
  • Avoid multiple programs to do the same thing: I used to have multiple IM programs (now I mostly use Adium. Also, I used to have multiple browsers opened at the same time (Firefox, Safari, and Opera are my preferred). Now, I decided to use only Safari as my main browser. This both simplifies my life and uses less resources of my machine.

In summary, I am pretty happy with the speed and great performance of my Mac. However, I learned with time to make better use of the system resources, so I don't have to wait more than I really want to. This way, I can also spend more time with the programs that I like, such as iTunes, iDVD...

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