Making your Macintosh run Faster

Checklist

The main check list

Presented below are some useful tips to making your Macintosh computer running the classic OS run more efficiently and responsively:

  • Make sure you have adequate hard disk space and RAM on your Macintosh computer. Sometimes the reason why an application may be running slowly is because it is trying too hard to manage the limited hard disk space or RAM it has been given to perform certain duties;
  • Weed out unnecessary extensions, control panels and applications from your computer. This will help to simplify the number of files on your hard disk and so increase its space as well as make the Finder respond and perform better when finding file and application on the hard disk;
  • Updating some of your extensions, control panels and other applications may increase the performance of your computer. For example, updating the AppleScript extension from version 1.1.2 to 1.3.7 will make a significant improvement in speed when running AppleScript files because the latest extension version is fully PowerPC native. However, it is also possible that updating some of your extensions could bloat your hard disk space with unnecessary features which could reduce the performance of your computer. You will need to experiment with this one for yourself;
  • After weeding out unnecessary files and updated existing ones, rebuild the desktop files. The benefits of doing so will be a more responsive, speedier and stable Finder in locating any file or application on your hard disk;
  • Defragment the hard drive. This is especially important for hard drives with limited space because the Finder may have to save a large file into several parts on the disk. When files are fragmented like this, the hard disk has to work harder and spend extra time looking in different places for the various parts of the file. Eventually, as more and more files get fragmented, the operating system can be slowed down dramatically and it may take longer for your machine to reboot. For this reason, it is a good idea to run a disk defragmenter program like Norton Speed Disk (part of the Norton Utilities package) once in a while.

    NOTE 1: It is better to have an automated defragmenting tool to work in the background when you are not using your computer. It will increase your productivity in the long run instead of manually turning it on and waiting for it to do its deframentation job.

    NOTE 2: An automated defragmenting tool can create extra wear and tear on your hard disk beyond the normal work you do. Choose to have automated deframenting tools installed for business systems requiring the fastest access to information for clients. Most consumers with a computer will only need to use a deframenting tool once every 3 to 6 months;

  • Using a colourful and complex (i.e. a high colour depth and large graphic size) wallpaper or picture may be a great way of brightening up the look of your Macintosh desktop. It's also a good way to slow down your computer because of the extra information the computer has to process. Keep it simple. Open up the Desktop Pictures control panel and select a small background tile image instead of a large one, or use a simple background colour;
  • Using utilities or control panels that allow you to assign fancy sound effects to certain particular system events will generally slow down your operating system, especially if you don't have a powerful sound card. Remove or disable these utilities or at least reduce the number of sounds you have assigned to system events;
  • Trash very old and bloated-looking preference files in the Preferences folder of your System Folder. Sometimes a lot of garbage could have been stored away in these files and removing them may increase the speed of some of your applications, including the Finder;
  • Reduce the number of fonts to an absolute minimum. The performance of your operating system is reduced because it has to process all the typefaces.