Is Your Precious Mac Running Too Slow? Here are Simple Ways to Speed It Up

by Guest Author on February 13, 2011

in Guest Posts, Mac

Even if you have done all of the possible things to make it faster, your beloved Mac might still be running a tad slow. As time goes by, your hard disk space is filling up rapidly and applications seem to be moving at a snail’s pace.  Do not worry too much about this, because you can do something about it.

First Things First – Your Mac Unit

Before you start, it is important to remember that none of these tips will change the performance of your old G4 as if it had Intel’s Quad-core processor.  One of the time-proven and tested ways in improving the speed of a rather old computer is by upgrading some of its hardware.  Investing in more memory as well as a larger hard drive can greatly help in boosting its speed.

Back then, upgrading even just the hard drives of Macs was very complicated.  Fortunately, they have decided to let go of this trend by making recent and newer models that are easier to upgrade, especially with memory.  In fact, replacing the hard drive on G4 and G5 iMacs, whether it is a Macbook or a tower, is a cinch.  However, there are still some Mac machines, such as the Mac Mini, that are difficult to upgrade and it is wise to have a specialist to do the upgrading for you.

If you are planning on making some upgrades on your machine, it is best that you consult your manual or a trusted supplier first before purchasing any upgrade parts. This will help to determine if the memory modules or hard drive is compatible with your machine.

Basic System Tips

- Desktop Clean Up: If your desktop is littered with tons of icons, chances are that your Mac’s performance may suffer. Mac OS X regards every desktop icon as if it were an opened window (even if they’re not opened at the moment), so this results to a tiny memory hit. This may not be an issue to many people, but if you have lots and lots of icons, then it is advisable to put them in another location.

- Get Rid of Unnecessary Startup Items: If you think that your Mac is slow when it starts up, just open your System Preferences, then click accounts. Choose your username and view what is listed in the startup items. There are times applications will include themselves here without asking for your permission (or maybe they asked before, but you may not want them anymore). Get rid of unnecessary startup items as this will definitely speed up your boot time.

Speed Up Applications that tend to be Slow

Most people who complain that their Mac is running slow usually have these applications on their Mac. You will find below some common reasons why.

- Dashboard Widgets are considered useful tools, but they still eat up memory even if you are not using them. This results to your Mac having less memory for the applications you are actually using. Go into your Applications Folder, choose the Utilities Folder and look for the Activity Monitor. The Activity Monitor is a clever way to observe which applications are using the most of your Mac’s memory. If you see several Dashboard Widgets on the top of the list, then consider disabling them.

- Firefox is one of the most-used browsers nowadays, so if you are using versions 1.x or 2.x of Mozilla Firefox, then you might notice that this browser tends to slow down after it has been running for quite a while. Try uninstalling extensions that are not needed. Eliminating the add-ons that you are running (to about 3 or 4) will more likely speed up most installations. One recommendation is to switch to the latest version of Firefox 3.6 which has considerable speed improvements over its earlier versions.

- Safari is known to be fast and lightweight, but it can still slow down if it is storing a bunch of Autofill entries or if your browsing history is extremely large. One easy yet effective way to clear all your caches and reset nearly everything at the same time is to select Reset Safari in the application menu.

While there is no perfect solution for making your precious Mac as cool (and as fast) as the first day you’ve laid your hands on it, the simple ways mentioned above can help get rid of the unwanted clutter, reclaim disk space and essentially speed up your Mac.

What do you think? Do you have any other solutions to speed up your precious Mac? Please feel free to comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Guest article written by Johanna. Cat lover, cleanaholic, immune to horror movies, anime otaku, and a nightmare to gummy bears and all squishy candies out there! Johanna is a happily married, part-time blogger who writes about a variety of topics which include cats, dogs, blogging tips, tech, food and health, self improvement and other stuff that you might be interested about. If you want to learn cool new things, visit her humble online abode at GIJoh.com.

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