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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2008
    Posts
    8
    Unhappy Speeding up a mac; problem installations?
    I use a mac computer at work and have a few issues that I am trying to clear up. I know very little about Mac settings or workings because I am a PC user at home. The age old debate…

    My mac is running dreadfully slow. I’m sure it could use more RAM , but I don’t control the purse strings in that department. My basic specs: 800MHz Power PC G4 processor; 256 MB SDRAM; running OS X 10.4.11. If any other specs would assist in responding, let me know what (and how/where I might find it) and I will be happy to provide it.

    The first thing I was told to do was to run Disk Utility and fix the permissions. I did that and it maybe helped a bit, but still not even close to what it should be.

    Is there some place on a mac where I can view all of the programs and processes currently running which might be eating up my RAM or an I barking up the wrong tree? I know that used to be a problem for me on my pc, but I don’t know where to look to monitor that info.

    I seem to have the most trouble when I am in my e-mail and web browser. I use Firefox and Thunderbird, but I don’t believe the speed of our DSL connection is the culprit. I may be way off base, but a year or so ago when I first switched to the above browser and e-mail programs, I downloaded the basic files and then tried to install.

    Instead of installing as a simple program/application with a desktop icon, they seem to have installed differently where my mac displays them as independent drives. Every time I open either program, a couple of windows pop up. One that appears to be an installation kind of thing although I have no idea for sure.

    The other from an old anti-virus program that apparently reads this as a new external drive being connected so it wants to check for viruses.

    Once up and running, I get a desktop icon designating it as a separate drive.

    In the last photo I grouped four icons together: the server at work is the “A-Drive”; I have a USB flash drive “Toms Cruzer” connected; and there are my web browser and e-mail programs. Thunderbird and Firefox icons also appear active in the dock below, though not shown in the photo.

    I wonder it that might be causing some of my delays. I have tried to reinstall the programs, but I keep getting the same functionality. I just downloaded a new web design program Amaya. And gosh darn it if it didn’t install the same way when I opened up the .dmg file. Is there some way I can install these programs to just act like normal applications? It is probably an easy fix or nuance that I just don’t know about being a primarily pc person.

    AND if I am able to ‘solve’ that issue, is there a process to getting my current user settings and data into the newly installed programs – like my current e-mails still in the program and firefox preferences, etc.

    Are there any other common tips I can try to improve my speed? Someone suggested that I reinstall the OS X software. Is that something I can do right overtop of my present system without any data loss or so I need to do all my major backups before trying something of that sort?

    I have a desktop slide show that rotates through a series of photos of my daughter – changing every 5 seconds. That transition is flawless and regular with no hang ups or slow downs. But when I mouse over my dock or right click to close out a program on the dock, I am sometimes waiting for 10, 15, 60+ seconds for the simple menu to pop up. And then I usually wait at least as long for the Quit selection to have any effect.

    I am sorry for the length and rambling nature of my query. I appreciate any help anyone can offer.

  2. #2

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,465
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    That drive icon indicates that you have not installed Firefox or Thunderbird. You are simply opening Firefox from the icon in your picture above. To install Firefox, you need to drag that Firefox icon into the Applications folder shown right there next to it.

    The same for Thunderbird and any other Mac application that does not come with it's own installer. To install most Mac programs, you simply drag and drop them into the Applications folder. Once you've dropped it into the Applications folder, then you can close that window, close the drive icon, and delete the download you've been using to open the program. The apps that don't have the Applications icon sitting in there, you'll have to open a separate Finder window to drag them over to the App folder.

    Activity Monitor will show you all the processes that are running on your computer.

    Part of your issue is going to be the 256MB RAM.

    Part of your issue is the fact that you have Norton running on the thing, There really is no need to have that or any other anti-virus running full time on your Mac. Without a doubt it is using a big chunk of your CPU and RAM that shouldn't be wasted on your G4 with only 256MB.

    Get rid of the changing desktop every 5 seconds. You don't have enough memory in that machine to be doing something like that unless you like waiting for things like mousing over the dock or right clicking. Change it to 10 minutes or better, 30 minutes.
    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.

  3. #3

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    19,782
    Specs:
    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    Like bobtomay said, no need for Norton. Not that Macs are virus proof but as long as you are conscious of what you open/download from the net, you'll be fine. Norton will be sucking away at your system resources especially when you only have 256MB of RAM.

    With that little RAM, you need to do what you can to minimize anything that will slow down your Mac. That said, I highly suggest petitioning for more RAM. It's cheap and will make the Mac much faster.

  4. #4

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,465
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    After all that grab Onyx from here.

    Make sure you install it by dragging it to the Applications folder. Once you open it, go to the Automations tab. (Yours may be a little different, I'm on Leopard, but should be similar.) Put a check next to everything in the Maintenance section and the Cleaning section then press Execute. It's going to take a while.

    All of this should help, but upping the RAM should make a decent difference also. That machine uses 168 pin PC133 SDRAM. You've got three slots that will take upto 512MB each for a total of 1.5 GB. Here you can the whole 1.5GB for under $100. If they've no intention of getting a new machine any time soon, the $100 will be money well spent.
    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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