OnyX – Tune-Up for a Slow Mac

My 2 year old MacBook Pro had been dragging its feet recently. Too many spinning beach balls of doom within Safari, iPhoto and Numbers.

The hard drive is also getting pretty full with only around 30GB of free space on the 320GB  drive, so that may also have something to do with the machine’s sluggishness.
I Tweeted the MacBook Pro’s symptoms and Steve Stanger of The Mac Attack Podcast came back with the suggestion that I try an application called OnyX which enables you to run various system maintenance tasks on your Mac.
I duly downloaded OnyX version 2.2.3, a free application from Titanium Software
Upon launch, OnyX recommends “Checking the S.M.A.R.T.  status” of your start up disk. Once completed, you can then move on to choose other tasks from the OnyX task bar.

From the Maintenance tab I ran Repair Permissions, Execute Maintenance Scripts and Rebuild Launch Services

and from the Cleaning tab I deleted the suggested caches.

Once all the tasks had been completed I restarted my machine.
Now I don’t pretend to understand what half of these tasks actually do, but the result is my MacBook Pro feels faster as I switch between tasks or applications and is far more responsive following its tune-up!

It is recommended that the “Rebuild Launch Services” and “Delete System, User, Internet and Font Caches” tasks are NOT performed more often than every six months, as more frequent use of these particular maintenance tasks can actually result in the slowing down of your computer.
For a more detailed explanation of OnyX and Mac maintenance have a listen to episode 106 of The Mac Attack Podcast where Steve Stanger discusses his routine maintenance tasks.

OnyX also enables you to configure some features of the Finder, the Dock, QuickTime, Safari, Mail and other OS X applications.

I just need to set myself a six-monthly reminder in BusyCal and I’m all set with my regular maintenance schedule.

  1. Hi Jane,

    Once again you point out one of those applications that I use and take for granted. I do perform the full list of maintenance tasks once a month prior to performing my monthly SuperDuper backup.

    One point to note, if you do clear the caches, is that the first few boots afterwards may indeed take a little longer than normal, as obviously the system needs to rebuild them, but I certainly notice the difference.

    One other thing you may want to look at is the state of disk drive fragmentation. I use a tool called iDefrag, http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php which isn’t free (£23.94 Inc Vat), but is well worth the money in my opinion.

    I only run this a couple of times a year, but you would be surprised the difference it makes, well to me anyway.

    Keep the posts coming.


    • jane73
    • February 20th, 2011

    Thanks for your comments Mark,

    I will check out your recommendation of iDefrag.

    There certainly seems to be quite a divided opinion of whether defragging is required on a Mac so it always good to hear of user’s personal experience with that particular maintenance task.


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