Editorial: Three ways to a cleaner, brighter Mac

The presupposition that Macs are the choice for the user who wants a hassle free, take it out of the box and get on with it experience is simply a lie. This may very well be the experience Mac users get for a while, but soon enough the system (like every other computer) becomes a little sluggish, and not as speedy as it was in its younger days.

Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that if a user requires their Mac for anything other than rudimentary tasks, it has to have a deep clean every now and again otherwise it will get a little sluggish. Should this be at the stage you are with your mac now, I suggest you read on, there are some important free utilities available which should help this problem become resolved.

The first place to begin is by downloading a utility named 'OnyX'. This is available through the Apple downloads section of the site and allows a user to run maintenance 'repairs', trash any files and caches which the utility deems unnecessary.

The next step is to take a look at the login items which startup as your Mac does. These can be surprisingly high as some programs choose to open at login without permission. This option menu can be found and edited by clicking: Apple, System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items.

Finally, assuming that diligent users have made sure that their hard drives are clean of files which are not used or not needed then a good way to get some extra space is by using another utility called 'Xslimmer'. This program strips out unnecessary code imbedded in your software and can save a great deal of hard drive space.

It should be said that none of these fixes will make your system ultimately faster than it was when it was first bought. They will however clean the Mac so that it doesn't become so sluggish and cumbersome when performing even the most rudimentary tasks.

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On a side note: Multilingual frees up substantial space used by unneeded language packs.

It might be just me, but 10.5.7 feels horribly slow.

There is nothing OnyX does that Mac OS X doesn't do on its own. The application can be used to trigger the already build-in clean-up scripts ahead of schedule, but that's it. In some exceptional cases it can be handy to trigger them manually, like if your cache goes corrupt, but a situation where you would need it is rare at best. Disc optimization and clean-ups are executed automatically and don't require the end-user at all. If you don't intervene with those scrips the likelihood of Mac OS X becoming noticeably slower is very unlikely.

Xslimmer does nothing at all to speed up your Mac. It frees up some HD space, which can be handy on a MacBook or Mac mini, but doesn't improve the overal performance of Mac OS X itself. Next to that it doesn't always play too well with applications like Microsoft Office and Adobe, so it's more likely to cause problems than actually improve the experience.

I was about to write exactly this. I wouldn't use Xslimmer simply because apps don't expect to have Xslimmer used on it, so will most likely throw a hissy fit when (even non-crucial) files go missing. OnyX is pretty unnecessary too.

To the people that say thier macs never have problems. That's cool. There are Windows users that can say the same. That's cool too. But there are people that maybe could use these tools and if not, look into other tools that may help them. It isn't a big deal. Routine maintenance on anything is something that should be do

Currently the author have not clue about what is the trouble. But my point is people must use such tools with extreme caution.

This program strips out unnecessary code imbedded in your software and can save a great deal of hard drive space.

How does that work exactly? What is unnecessary code?

SuperHans said,
How does that work exactly? What is unnecessary code?


PPC or Intel code, depending on whether you are running on a x86 or a PPC Mac.

Umm I've owned macs for I can't even count how many years and I've never had a slow down that basic disk permission repair or the such hasn't fixed. The statement that the statement about Macs are not as easy as taking it out of the box and having it work is a lie

Actually it's not at all a lie and is quite the truth. My 1st Mac, a G4 required a complete reinstall of the OS only 15 minutes after setting it up at home and installing my 1st game to the system... After several hours on the phone with saupport the only solution to the problem of the system no longer booting up after installing a game was to completely reinstall the OS. So everytime I see those Macs are better/superior to PCs I laugh and say BS! They are equally as problematic and NOT at all error free or more user friendly. I now own 5, sooon to be 6 Macs and about 20+ PCs. They may be more expensive then PCs in most, not all cases, but they aren't as error free as they make themselves to be.

Wow, this news thread is incredible. Show tips on how to clean your mac and remove unwanted startup programs... and the entire mac world breaks out a war saying it's already fine and go away, we aren't like PC's. o_O Grow up?

Good to know those programs... I'll remember them if any of my mac friends want them in the future.

Nightwind Hawk said,
Wow, this news thread is incredible. Show tips on how to clean your mac and remove unwanted startup programs...
...

I guess the argument isn't that one should not post helpful information. It is: "Is this accurate? Can it be measured?"

I use Linux, and articles on how to tweak and optimize your builds are common, and even welcome. This article is getting a different response, and I think it comes down to supporting data for the claims.

I don't know how many times this has been said above disk permissions but I'm going to clear the water.

Repairing permissions will not help you after Panther.

This is an outdated method from macosxhints 6 years ago. Take a look at:

http://daringfireball.net/2006/04/repair_permissions_voodoo

or

http://www.unsanity.org/archives/000410.php

Here is the key line you are probably looking for:

Despite what Apple's Knowledge Base Article says, Repair Permissions does not repair permissions on any third party software (or any Apple software outside of the Base System).

Therefore it may only have a usefulness after a software update.

"Troll" isn't accurate.

I would say that the article is "presupposing" that the conditions described are measurable. Or, have been measured?

I don't use a Mac, but I guess that if there was supporting information, it could be posted to support the argument.

It would reduce the number of people complaining that it doesn't happen.

markjensen said,
"Troll" isn't accurate.

I would say that the article is "presupposing" that the conditions described are measurable. Or, have been measured?

I don't use a Mac, but I guess that if there was supporting information, it could be posted to support the argument.

It would reduce the number of people complaining that it doesn't happen.


Actually this article helped me a lot. I dropped safari on a free crunch app and now it opens instantly much faster than the 2 3 second wait. It is very noticeable difference on all apps I done it with. Great article. I dont car how f-ed up the article is written if it produces these kinds of results. I'm happy. Apple are great I wish ms would follow and close all the back doors and make the os more responsive and less of a victim to bad peoples programming and we would have a better world of computing.

I dont understand why people assume that macs are as bad as pcs. I used my mac for over a year now. I got 120 gigs of stuff all over unorganized. By the way I have to wait for my router to boot up. The computer boots faster than a router. It used to be where with windows I had to wait for the op sys to boot. Windows within a month got so slugish where i was forced to do a reinstall every 2 3 mos. So I dont even see a point of comparing apples and oranges/or lemon in windows case apples are sweet and lemons are well ask your face after the taste in your mouth.

There are newer versions of Windows after Windows 95. I have no registry errors, no sluggishness, no blue-screens. And what kind of router do you have? Mine takes like 2 seconds to go from unplugged to ready to use, and I've never seen a computer resume from hibernation that fast, let alone boot.

To the people that say thier macs never have problems. That's cool. There are Windows users that can say the same. That's cool too. But there are people that maybe could use these tools and if not, look into other tools that may help them. It isn't a big deal. Routine maintenance on anything is something that should be do

What a bogus article... I've been running the same install of OSX 10.5 for 2 years now. That includes 2 different laptops and 3 hard drives without a single OS reinstall. I've installed easily 60+ applications and never bother to remove them or do *any* cleanup aside from occasionally emptying trash. My uptime is usually around 25-30 days and I generally only have to reboot for big updates.

BOGUSSSSS

Really, 2 years? But 10.5 was only released a year and a half ago. So you were, like, running Leopard before it even existed?

Didn't realize Time Machine was that powerful.

Newinko said,
Really, 2 years? But 10.5 was only released a year and a half ago. So you were, like, running Leopard before it even existed?

Didn't realize Time Machine was that powerful.


Wow. "pwned" over 5 months?

Maybe you could have been a bit more pedantic and gave the correct time in months, and said that the original poster didn't say "about", or "nearly", "two years". Yeah. Point out that he didn't indicate he was rounding to the nearest whole number.

That would show him!

Jason Wagner said,
What a bogus article... I've been running the same install of OSX 10.5 for 2 years now. That includes 2 different laptops and 3 hard drives without a single OS reinstall. I've installed easily 60+ applications and never bother to remove them or do *any* cleanup aside from occasionally emptying trash. My uptime is usually around 25-30 days and I generally only have to reboot for big updates.

BOGUSSSSS


The presupposition that Macs are the choice for the user who wants a hassle free, take it out of the box and get on with it experience is simply a lie

Lie? Oh, you mean, advertising focus of Apple for years.

I guess that means they are guilty of false advertising.

As with PC's, the best one can do to speed things up is to disable startup programs that are not needed by the user.

Its true for any OS. windows has registry cleaners, registry defraggers, hd defraggers, ccleaner for temp files, etc.
Macs are following the same route now.
Linux i would say require the least maintenance. All i know of is bleachbit (which is like ccleaner), and gconf cleaner (think of it as somewhat of a reg cleaner) when using the gnome interface on say a distro like..ubuntu.

BilliShere said,
Its true for any OS. windows has registry cleaners, registry defraggers, hd defraggers, ccleaner for temp files, etc.
Macs are following the same route now.
Linux i would say require the least maintenance. All i know of is bleachbit (which is like ccleaner), and gconf cleaner (think of it as somewhat of a reg cleaner) when using the gnome interface on say a distro like..ubuntu.

Yeah, placebos are good on a variety of platforms. ;)

In Linux, I can clean my .wine registry, ummm... no. Maybe defrag? Again, no. (not to say that files aren't fragmented somewhere, just that I don't have a performance impact). And I suppose I can remove all my man files. They take up hard drive space.

What I ask of this article is that have reliable accurate measurements of performance been done before and after? Has there been a real performance gain, or does one just feel better about emptying out the trash can and dusting the shelves, so to speak?

I think Neowin has one. Actually I know we do. And I can tell you that this article passed it because it is useful for Mac users.

How odd, this is among the reasons I got a Mac, to not have the system get bogged down as easily. :S

There's no Windows registry to cache at start up, the apps are much better self contained than on Windows for good uninstalls, and so on...

I can't say I'm seeing any difference here either, and I've had mine for half a year now, and as a geek and first time Mac user, I've tried out a lot of different software, not being initially sure of what I wanted. But still nothing I can tell that have slowed things down, not even VMWare with its extra drivers, Photoshop, and other beasts like that. Actually, I uninstalled PS and switched to Pixelmator, and everything is very snappy in the graphics deparment now.

Yup, I'm agreeing with the above. Onyx just runs the maintenance tasks that you can invoke manually via the terminal if they've not been run in a while and I've got 100+Gb free on my HD, I don't need any more, and if I did I've got my 500Gb external for that.

If you do notice your mac slowing down, the only one I'd recommend is checking the login items and running disk utility to repair permissions.

Xion-UK said,
Yup, I'm agreeing with the above. Onyx just runs the maintenance tasks that you can invoke manually via the terminal if they've not been run in a while and I've got 100+Gb free on my HD, I don't need any more, and if I did I've got my 500Gb external for that.

If you do notice your mac slowing down, the only one I'd recommend is checking the login items and running disk utility to repair permissions.

Lipo is useful for Unibody MBPs that use an SSD. An install of Adobe CS4 takes 12-15GB and slimming it is quite useful if you only have 120GB of HDD space with no option for an external -- don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, just saying there's a use for it.

I'll post this again down further; repairing permissions to fix slowdown issues is voodoo as of Panther. It does absolutely nothing. Stop reading that 6 year old mac osx hint.

I thought this article was going to tell you how to physically clean a Mac or tweak something to make the display better looking. I leave disappointed.

Umm I've owned macs for I can't even count how many years and I've never had a slow down that basic disk permission repair or the such hasn't fixed. The statement that the statement about Macs are not as easy as taking it out of the box and having it work is a lie

I've used both this tools for a year now and have had no problems, and they do seem to make things more snappy when used together.

that happens after you use these apps to speed up your mac it now goes so fast that it catches fire and burns as bright as the sun LOL

Silly short list imo. #2 is really the only true quirk and generally Mac applications are better behaved about launching at logon.

Though I think most PC maintenance is just as boring in this day and age.

Why people still trying to get more hard drive space by "slimming" programs/ OS?

Come on, make backup copies of files (which you don't access frequently) on external drives/ online storage (SkyDrive/ Dropbox/ whatever, better to have 3 copies at different places) and delete the copy on computer. Hard drive is cheap too.

If I understand it correctly, Mac OS X programs that are not IBM- or Intel-specific contain code so that they can run on both platforms (those are the "universal binaries"). It's nice to ensure that a single installer can be run under both platforms, but it introduces extra code. If you're using an Intel-based Mac, then you don't care for that extra code, and I presume these utilities allow you to strip it out.

You may also recall an earlier news article here at Neowin that showcased how OSX 10.6 has reduced the space taken by many of their applications. It is suspected that most of the savings are a result of OSX 10.6 being Intel-only, and as a result, stripping out the code for RISC processors.

Haven't really noticed slowdowns and most things Onyx does is to run maintenance scripts which are normally run automatically anyway. Xslimmer doesn't make any noticabe difference to load times only seems to be useul if you're running out of disc space.

Hmm... something must be wrong with my system as it's not any slower now than it is when I do a clean install...

I'm trying it...

Looks impressive. I'm not going to apply any of it's actions but it looks like it can give me over 3GB. Thats pretty good.

Shame i've got 150GB free space! Don't really have a use for this after all. But yeah, nice program.

Xslimmer makes my Color Wheel spin - even on reboot...
It appears to spin a bit faster now. Before I would have to plug in my Toshiba HD camcorder to get that to happen
I give it 10 thumbs up for speed