How To Keep Your Mac Running Lean, Clean, and Problem Free


Here are several suggestions on how to keep your Mac running clean. Start with deleting any unnecessary apps that are launched when you startup your computer.   However if you are unsure if an app is important it is best to do the research before deleting it.

You can delete start up items by the following these instructions:




  • Go to System Preferences > Accounts, click on the “Login items” tab, and delete everything that you do not use.


  • Install and use OnyX, a free program that will automatically delete caches.  Onyx will only delete system data, not user data.


  • Many Mac problems can be fixed by simply rebooting the computer. Mac OS X runs on Unix and Unix was made to stay on for extended time periods and still run smoothly.  But rebooting your laptop or desktop once every week or so is generally good for your system.

Keep your Mac Software Updated



  • Run Software Updates from the  Apple drop down menu, and periodically check the Mac App Store for updates on any of your apps. Updates provide general bug fixes, feature enhancements, and security fixes.


  • Software Update will automatically check for updates once a week by default, but the Mac App Store has to be manually checked for updates in OS X Lion. With OS X Mountain Lion, automatic Software Updates are available on the Mac App Store so this process will be entirely automated for OS X 10.8 users.


Keep Your Desktop Clean and Organized




It may be hard to believe but having a lot of files on the desktop will actually slow down a Mac. This happens because each file and its icon preview use RAM and other resources. The less RAM you have available, the more you will notice the sluggishness resulting from a cluttered desktop strewn about with tons of icons. Try to get into the habit of filing things off the desktop and into appropriate folders.


Here are some preventive measures you can take to make sure your Mac stays healthy:

1)    Run Disk Utility

  • Run Disk Utility every month.  This is a good idea for two reasons: repairing permissions, and, verifying and repairing the hard drive. Disk Utility is included on all Macs and found in the: /Applications/Utilities folder, these two procedures will be under the “First Aid” tab.


  • Running the “Verify and Repair Disk” function in Disk Utility every month will verify your data directory, not your actual hard disk.  Directory issues can cause many problems in a Mac if they are left unrepaired.


  • The best way to repair the boot disk is to boot from the recovery partition by holding down Command and R at start up and running Disk Utility from there. This step will be necessary if bad blocks are found or if the data on the drive is corrupt. Make sure to run Verify Disk not only on the drive itself (physical drive name), but also the boot partition (Macintosh HD). If any errors are found, they will appear in red, and Disk Utility is capable of handling these repairs.


  • Repairing Disk Permissions is good practice to make sure your Mac is running properly especially after installing and uninstalling a bunch of programs.


  • If you use any disk utility besides Mac OS X’s Disc Utility, you should use Disk Warrior.  You can use Disk Warrior for rebuilding damaged or fragmented directories.


When your machine won’t boot, here’s what you should do:


  • Boot from your Mac OS X CD/DVD and run Disk Utility, or go to the command line and run ‘fsck’ as many times as it takes for it to not find a problem.


  • Boot from Disk Warrior and rebuild your directory.


  • Make sure to keep your data safe by having a back up.  You can always hold down Apple-T while booting your machine to start it up in FireWire Target Disk Mode. This makes your computer act as an external drive, allowing you to connect it to another computer via FireWire and transfer all your data.


  • If you find there are physical problems with your hard drive, back your data up and replace it.


Have A Current Back Up Of Your Data




Performing regular backups is essential for any computer maintenance.  The simplest and most effective back up solution for Macs is the Time Machine application. You will need an external hard drive, and once you set up Time Machine automatic data backups occur without hardly any effort.