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Tuning Mac OS X Performance

Tuning Mac OS X Performance
This FAQ provides recommendations for optimizing Mac® OS X performance. Additionally, it provides advice and links to advice for troubleshooting certain Mac OS X performance problems. Comprehensive advice on this topic can be found in the "Performance" chapter of our book Troubleshooting Mac OS X. Optimizing Mac OS X performance RAM, RAM, and more RAM Mac OS X loves RAM. Maintain ample free space on your startup disk Mac OS X makes extensive use of Virtual Memory (VM), which requires free disk space on your startup disk, aka your boot volume. See our "Problems from insufficient RAM and free hard disk space" FAQ to determine if you have sufficient RAM and free disk space to get the best performance from Mac OS X. Turn off the eye candy While I imagine everyone is impressed the first time they see a window minimized to the Dock with the Genie effect, this entertainment has a performance cost. Make the Dock less entertaining Open System Preferences > Dock. Disable or remove unnecessary fonts Related:  Performance & Optimization Tweaking

Problems from insufficient RAM and free hard disk space If you have a limited amount of either RAM (memory) or available — free or unused — space on your Mac® OS X startup disk, you may encounter problems including kernel panics, the inability to burn CDs or DVDs, or the apparent loss of application preferences. This FAQ, which is derived from a chapter from our book Troubleshooting Mac OS X, describes the basis of these problems and solutions for such. Memory management in Mac OS X Applications and processing on your Mac require physical RAM to work. The more applications you launch or the larger the files those applications work upon, the more physical RAM is consumed. To efficiently use your available RAM, Mac OS X employs a strategy common to all modern operation systems known as Virtual Memory (VM). Paging is a key activity of VM. To free RAM for other applications and processing, data is copied from RAM to a swap file. Swap files are created and released dynamically and are saved in the /private/var/vm directory. Slow performance.

Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM Languages Learn about your Mac's PRAM or NVRAM, and when and how you might want to reset it. Your Mac stores certain settings in a special memory area even if it is turned off. Information stored in NVRAM / PRAM includes: Speaker volume Screen resolution Startup disk selection Recent kernel panic information, if any If you experience issues related to these functions, you may need to reset the NVRAM or PRAM. Note: OS X does not store network settings in NVRAM / PRAM. Shut down your Mac. After resetting NVRAM or PRAM, you may need to reconfigure your settings for speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, and time zone information. Resetting NVRAM in Open Firmware If your computer is Open Firmware-based and you are unable to reset NVRAM as described above, you may alternatively reset the NVRAM and Open Firmware settings using the steps in the Solution section of Message “To continue booting, type 'mac-boot' and press return”. Some earlier Macs store these settings in PRAM:

Troubleshooting with Activity Monitor Activity Monitor, located in the Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities folder, is particularly suited to troubleshooting performance problems, such as the Spinning Beach Ball of Death (SBBOD) and general system sluggishness. For example, Activity Monitor can be used to determine if your Mac has sufficient resources — CPU, RAM, and free space on your startup disk — for your daily workload. If your Mac regularly performs poorly or your work is frequently interrupted by the SBBOD, your computer may be lacking in one or more of these necessary resources. This is especially true if your work primarily involves notoriously resource-intensive applications, such as multimedia editing, financial modeling, or scientific computing. To learn all that Activity Monitor can do, read its Help: in Activity Monitor, choose Help > Activity Monitor Help. This FAQ discusses using Activity Monitor to troubleshoot performance problems. Activity Monitor basics Checking CPU usage Checking RAM usage Related links

How to reset your Mac OS X password without an installer disc Posted by Ant on August 3rd, 2009 | 331 Comments Let’s say you totally forgot the password to log on to your Mac. Or maybe you purchased a used Mac from someone else and they’ve got it locked down. There are numerous ways to reset a password with no OS X discs. This tutorial may ruffle some feathers, but it addresses a topic that a ton of people ask about all the time. The information here has previously been made available from many different sources online and is presented with the intention of helping people with legitimate reasons for resetting their Mac OS X password. Important Note: This tutorial was written for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6. Reset 10.5 Leopard & 10.6 Snow Leopard password Power on or restart your Mac.At the chime (or grey screen if your chime is turned off), hold down Command+S on your keyboard to enter single-user mode.This step is optional, but it’s a good idea because it checks the consistency of the hard disk before moving on. Reset 10.4 Tiger password

Maintaining Mac OS X Much dubious advice is available concerning "routine maintenance" of Mac® OS X. This FAQ, based on the "Maintaining Mac OS X" chapter of our book, Troubleshooting Mac OS X, is intended to provide guidance on recommended maintenance and to dispel some common maintenance myths. Recommended maintenance The only routine maintenance steps we recommend are the following: Maintenance myths Most of the activities portrayed as maintenance by tools like Cocktail, Onyx, Yasu, and others are, in fact, troubleshooting steps. Accordingly, cache cleaning, repairing permissions, prebinding, and other tasks not listed in the "Recommended Maintenance" section above are not regular maintenance tasks. In some cases, such as System cache cleaning, they can have unintended consequences. We will now dispel some common maintenance myths. Cache cleaning System and User cache cleaning are troubleshooting steps, not part of regular maintenance. Defragmenting hard drives Repair Permissions Update prebinding Related links

Mac Dev Center: AppleScript Overview: AppleScript Utilities and Applications Apple provides a number of utilities and applications in OS X to enhance the features of AppleScript and your scripts. You can get additional information on some items described in this section by searching in Mac Help in the Finder or by going to the AppleScript website. AppleScript Utility AppleScript Utility, located in /Applications/AppleScript, is an application that first became available in OS X version 10.4. Starting in OS X version 10.5, this utility is itself scriptable. AppleScript Utility helps you manage several AppleScript-related features in OS X that were formerly available separately. Folder Actions Setup Folder Actions is a feature that lets you associate scripts with folders. Folder Actions Setup, located in /Applications/AppleScript, is an application that first became available in OS X version 10.3. This utility helps you perform tasks related to Folder Actions, including the following: System Events and GUI Scripting Image Events Database Events

Best repair and maintenance apps for Mac: The tools you need to fix OS X | iMore You have a Mac, or maybe you're responsible for taking care of them at your business. You need an toolkit of apps that help you get out of trouble when your Mac's not working right. Maybe a hard drive needs rebuilding or recovery, the memory needs testing, you're desperate to un-delete files, you need to access to deeper system maintenance, or you simply want to better clean out the debris from old apps, there are several tools you can go to. These are my pick for the best Mac apps, and most indispensable tools, you can have. DiskWarrior 4 When it comes to rebuilding and recovering a hard drive that's not working right, Alsoft's DiskWarrior is peerless in the Mac realm. DiskWarrior excels at rebuilding the directory structure of your Mac's hard drive, and it does so by building a replacement directory instead of trying to patch the existing one. $99.95 - Download now Techtool Pro 7 Micromat's Techtool Pro 7 isn't just about recovering files off your hard drive, though it can do that. OnyX

Zen and the Art of Battery Life « iFixit Blog The lithium-ion polymer batteries shipping today are amazing creatures, packing greater energy density than both the nickel-based cells of yore and the first generation Lithium-ion cells. Yet most people are unaware of how to properly manage the life of this new technology. What you do on your laptop is your own business, but following these tips will let you do it longer (that’s what she said!). Most of this info holds true for iPod batteries as well, so you might as well learn the ropes now and reap a lifetime of rewards — at least until scientists come up with new, better, battery technology. Step 1: Learn The Tech LiIon cells charge in two stages. Apple's visual description of charge stages Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter whether you completely drain and completely charge the battery every cycle, or grab a few minutes of charge time whenever you can (with regard to battery life, at least). Step 4: Recycle It

45 Awesome Utilities for Tinkering With Your Mac This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on May 17th, 2011. The “utility” software niche is one that is extremely active in the Mac application community. There is an abundance of fantastic utilities currently available, and that list is ever changing. We love this type of software at AppStorm, regularly reviewing different apps that let you tweak and tune your computer. With the area changing so fast, we decided to take a look at some of the best and most useful Mac OS X utilities that are available right now. I hope you discover some applications that will be helpful for you! System Utilities Mactracker Mactracker is a simple appliction that will provide you with about all the information about your Mac, iPod, iPhone or any other Mac piece of hardware for that matter, you’d like. DesktopMonitor MiniUsage Cockpit Caffeine