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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

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loggerhead

 
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I'm running OS X 10.9.1 on an early 2009 Mac Mini. I've noticed slow response so I checked my hard drive and noticed a slew of disk permission problems. I've repaired this type of problem before but am wondering if I'm overlooking a root cause. Is my drive getting ready to die, for instance?
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Normally disk permissions have nothing to do with slowdowns and repairing them accomplishes very little or nothing.

How full is the hard drive and have you used Disk Utility to verify the drive? If the drive has plenty of room available and Disk Utility reports that it is OK, you can try using a maintenance and cleanup program. The only one we recommend is OnyX which you can download from here. The program is free, but be sure to download the correct version for Mavericks.
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loggerhead

 
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Dear chscag,

Thanks for your guidance. My Mac hard drive is just 1/3 used. And,yes, I've used Disk Utility to verify the health of the drive. It appears to be OK. I've been using Clean My Mac 2 for general maintenance. I'll give Onyx a shot. One last thought...when I used to run Windows, I'd find it necessary to purge my drive every three years or so and reload all of the applications to gain back the system's original performance. Would the same approach have benefit for a Mac?
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bobtomay

 
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Once every 3 years? Had to do mine once every 6 months... my wife's once every 12 months.

It would not necessarily have a benefit making it worth even the hour or two it would take. Particularly not with 65% free space on the drive. OS X does not have a registry - the primary culprit in Windows.

Undoubtedly, after 3 years a clean install and restore would gain back some amount of speed, simply because everything would be put at the front of the drive again - whether that improvement would be noticeable??? The question has to be asked, are you noticing any slow downs that are not taken care of by using Onyx and resetting your browser - both, probably only once every few months.

My wife used her last Mac for 7 years before I upgraded her. It went through upgrade installs of 3 versions of OS X, never had a clean install and never defragged the drive - sitting at about the same 65% free space. She ran Onyx about twice a year and seemed even to me to be running as good as new when replaced.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by loggerhead View Post
Dear chscag,

Thanks for your guidance. My Mac hard drive is just 1/3 used. And,yes, I've used Disk Utility to verify the health of the drive. It appears to be OK. I've been using Clean My Mac 2 for general maintenance. I'll give Onyx a shot.
You might want to uninstall Clean My Mac as well. Perhaps you'll notice improvement in performance once you do. There are plenty of threads on forums such as this reporting problems using that application. Of course, no problems, no posts needed. But, I can't say I've ever seen a thread saying OnyX messed up someone's computer.
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Another recommendation to remove CleanMyMac whatever version.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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loggerhead

 
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Thanks for the additional suggestions.

I've done a complete run of OnyX but am still experiencing slow response. I'll try dumping Clean My Mac2 and see if that helps.

If not, I ran into a useful post on the Apple Support Communities (https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4032) on how to safely defrag a Mac hard drive. It requires a little work (buying a wired keyboard, reformatting a spare external drive, using carbon copy cloner) but I can see where I'd be able to clean out the crud and regain original performance. Have any of you had any experience with this procedure?
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bobtomay

 
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Several ways to defrag the drive.

1. iDefrag - there are a couple of other apps - personally, have very good experience with this one.

2. Wipe the drive (partition and format), do a clean install of OS X, then when it asks on first boot up, use the option to restore from your Time Machine backup.

3. Wipe the drive (partition and format, then restore from a CCC or SuperDuper! backup.

Of course, option 2 & 3 require creating the backup prior to wiping the drive.

Have to ask - how much used and free space do you have on the drive?
Do you have a habit of moving a lot of files on and off the drive?

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loggerhead

 
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Dear bobtomay,

Thanks for the iDefrag suggestion. This sounds much more user friendly than the alternatives.

To your questions...only a third of my Mac HD is in use (100 of 319 GB). I keep iPhoto on an external drive and have a second external for iTunes. The Time Machine app is on a third external drive. To my knowledge, I don't move files on or off the Mac HD.

What is your concern?
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Whether a defrag will do much for your particular use or not.

With 70% free space - perhaps, perhaps not.
Over 3 years of use, the free space could be fragmented pretty good and I've seen boot time and app launch time improvements with iDefrag on 75% free space drives - but, I do move a lot of data on and off my system drives.

In my own testing, iDefrag even improves upon a clone restore - both in boot time and app launch times. Download the iDefrag demo and check the Layout tab at the bottom when it gets done - that provides a picture of where on the drive the data is stored and where the free space is located.

The pic below is of my SSD - if that was a pic of the HD in my other Mac - I'd be running iDefrag on it tonight for sure.
Actually, I can be pretty anal about slow downs and probably would have defragged it long before it had data spread out from one end of the drive to the other like that pic shows.
iDefrag does take longer than a clone restore - so it's something that I typically only ran at night.
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File Type: png Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.07.06 PM.png (17.4 KB, 68 views)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by loggerhead View Post
I'm running OS X 10.9.1 on an early 2009 Mac Mini. I've noticed slow response
The first thing that I would do is run all of the routine maintenace suggested here:

Mac OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
The site says that it is for up to OS X 10.8, but little has changed for Mavericks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loggerhead View Post
so I checked my hard drive and noticed a slew of disk permission problems. I've repaired this type of problem before but am wondering if I'm overlooking a root cause.
If you take a look at:
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
item #1
you will note that Disk Utility/Repair Permissions reports a lot of stuff that can be safely ignored. The thing is, DU/RP gives a lot of advisory messages as well as reporting problems that need to be fixed. These messags are accurate, but unless you are an IT person and know what they mean, they are of no concern to you and they do not indicate that there is a problem with your Mac.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loggerhead View Post
Is my drive getting ready to die, for instance?
That's a possibility. OS X includes something called SMART Status to warn you of impending drive failure,
MPG - How To Guides - How to detect a failing hard drive (SMART status)
but this isn't as helpful as one might hope.
http://static.googleusercontent.com/...k_failures.pdf

A much better utility to check on the health of your hard drive is:

Voltan's Smart Utility
Volitans Software- Makers of SMART Utility for the Mac

The free demo of Voltan's is fully functional. You don't have to pay for it unless you intend to keep it. Voltan's uses the SMART parameters, but uses its own algorithms to do a better job of predicting drive failure than OS X does.

Also, have a look at:
Fix Finder Slowness & High CPU Usage Issues in OS X Mavericks

Randy B. Singer

Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
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What are the specs of your machine? How much memory (RAM) do you have and what kind of processor (and clock speed) does your Mini have? Here are the Mavericks requirements. I'm guessing that you're closer to the minimum than anything which may explain speed issues.

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Thanks for that link to the S.M.A.R.T utility Randy. I have been seeing bad block reports in my boot drive and want another opinion of whether it might be going bad. Haven't experienced the dreaded failing S.M.A.R.T status yet.

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loggerhead

 
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Dear bobtomay,

I did a search on "defrag for Mac" and found a YouTube video that suggested another way to defrag the Mac HD without any cost. Plus it's simple. I tried this and it appears to have worked based on the data I received from the iDefrag app demo. First, I performed a backup of the entire system to Time Machine. Then I restarted the system and hit COMMAND R. The Restore function appeared. I selected the option to Restore the Mac HD. The app deleted everything on the Mac HD then restored the drive based on my last saved Time Machine backup. The restore, of course, packed the front end of the drive, in effect defragmenting the drive. So far, so good. All of the items I typically use (Mail, Safari, Numbers) load quickly again. See How to Defrag your Mac for FREE - YouTube
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That would be option # 2 I listed above.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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