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Summary:

Ever notice that your OS X system isn’t running as quick and efficient as it once seemed to? Are things opening slower, taking more resources to operate, and generally causing you to become more impatient while using the computer? It’s probably time to deal with the gunk build-up that’s accumulated over time in OS X. Here are a few tips that will help you regain that lost efficiency from your system.

Unix has a lot of utility apps built into the operating system, and since OS X is built on a Unix framework, you’ve got those utilities right there and waiting to be used. In fact, you don’t even have to know what those utilities are, or how to use them! I know, right now you’re going, “Huh?” Here’s the trick:
Let your machine run while you sleep at night. (If necessary, tell it not to go to sleep, or to automatically wake in the early AM.) OS X has a few tricks up its sleeves, but they’re only set to run in the middle of the night by default. So letting things run on their own while you rest will help to keep your system running a little smoother than it would otherwise. You really don’t have to do anything about it!

Ever notice that your OS X system isn’t running as quick and efficient as it once seemed to? Are things opening slower, taking more resources to operate, and generally causing you to become more impatient while using the computer? It’s probably time to deal with the gunk build-up that’s accumulated over time in OS X. Here are a few tips that will help you regain that lost efficiency from your system.

Unix has a lot of utility apps built into the operating system, and since OS X is built on a Unix framework, you’ve got those utilities right there and waiting to be used. In fact, you don’t even have to know what those utilities are, or how to use them! I know, right now you’re going, “Huh?” Here’s the trick:
Let your machine run while you sleep at night. (If necessary, tell it not to go to sleep, or to automatically wake in the early AM.) OS X has a few tricks up its sleeves, but they’re only set to run in the middle of the night by default. So letting things run on their own while you rest will help to keep your system running a little smoother than it would otherwise. You really don’t have to do anything about it!

Getting involved in some aspects however is necessary to some extent. Running programs like Onyx, MacJanitor, and Tinkertool will help to clean some of the more problem-causing cache files and system log build-up. Even with these tools, you don’t have to know much. Just tell it what and what not to clean, then hit Run. (Call me paranoid, but when I run these things, I usually let them do their thing, and don’t use any other apps until they’re through.)
It is helpful to have a basic understanding of the things that these utilities do, so if there’s a setting you’re not sure of, Google it, check some mac forums, or ask someone in the know. But basically, there’s nothing you can do with these tools that will render your system disabled. In the end, you’re really only going to gain from their clean-up work.
Basically, these apps will do the things that OS X would do while running at night, as I mentioned earlier. But these tools offer a few more options and give you more control over the clean-up and maintenance processes.

Repair your permissions. This is kind of like the ‘reboot’ solution for Windows. If something odd seems to be happening regularly on your system (especially after a new program install, software update, etc), then repairing the permissions is usually the first suggestion you’ll get on any mac forum.
To repair your disk permissions, go to the ApplicationsUtilities folder. Open Disk Utility. Basically, you select your hard drive and then while on the First Aid tab, click Repair Disk Permissions. It’ll probably take a little while to run, but if anything’s out of whack with your system, it’ll be handled here. As I mentioned above, I’m paranoid when it comes to this kind of stuff, and I don’t generally use anything else on the computer until the Permissions are done being repaired.

The Keychain holds lots of vital authentication information for your operating system and daily use. So when it becomes confused and starts giving you errors, or forgetting things altogether, it can cause you major headaches. Check out Keychain First Aid. It’s a utility that Apple’s made available for those inopportune times when your Keychain takes a vacation of sorts. I’ve had to use it once and I was thrilled that it works like it’s supposed to. I was back up and running very quickly after finding KFA.

These things should get you and your OS X system on the right track. If you continue to have maintenance problems, and want some more heave duty processes to try, leave a comment or email me. I’m no hardcore system level technical geek, but I’ve done everything at least once, so could probably help point you in the right direction, or get you to the proper forum thread at the very least.

Hopefully these things have helped you on some level. As always, if you’ve got other routines, apps, tips that you think are beneficial to add, let us know!

  1. Keychain First Aid is not necessary for 10.3.x. It is built into the Keychain Access program….

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  2. I’ve regularly used MacJanitor, almost every day, but let a few days lag. When I tried to run it today, for the first time it asked:MacJanitor wants permission to decrypt item “com.brianhill.MacJanitor” in keychain. (my name) Do you want to allow this? I’ve never been asked to give any outside software keychain permission before, and it freaked me out a little. Why is it asking now, and is it safe (will I be secure) to give it? Thanks~d

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