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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

How long between wipes...


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Smalltowntech

 
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I have had my macbook pro now for a little over a year. I have noticed it is a bit slower than when it first came out of the box and I have tried to keep up with my maintenance. It is by no means crawling but I have to ask the question: How long do you normally go between wipes on your hard drive - and what level of wipe do you normally use?

Before I jumped into macs I was running a dell laptop that needed to be wiped from the root directory back to the factory setting about once a year. I maintained backups through norton and only tried to do a clean-up once as it was not a happy event. I found that if I wiped back to the factory settings and imported my critical information from backup it ran like a new machine. Sadly though at the end I was having to wipe it about once every 3-4 months.

Just looking for a little history from the board's perspective and maybe a little advice since this is my first mac.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smalltowntech View Post
How long do you normally go between wipes on your hard drive - and what level of wipe do you normally use?
I'm going to pull a number out of the air...let's say every 100 years!

Honestly...we usually don't recommend doing complete HD wipes with Mac's. At least not as a regular maintenance practice. Occasionally someone may need to do a complete HD wipe if EVERYTHING else tried fails (when there's a problem)...otherwise...complete wipes are not used as a regular maintenance practice.

If a computer seems to have slowed down...it's usually because:

- the HD is too full
- the HD is going bad/dying
- HD maintenance using a program like "Onyx" hasn't been used
- or the slowdown issue has nothing to do with the HD or the OS install

* Nick

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bobtomay

 
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I need to write an article about this instead of writing bits and pieces here and there - stay tuned.

Meanwhile...

As a great many hardcore gamers and over clockers in particular, over and above the 4-6 hours per week of maintenance, I did spend a whole day at a maximum of once every 6 months with that other OS doing a clean install. That was the only way to get it back up to speed again. My ritual went so far as to totally tear down the machine for cleaning and rebuilding. And never kept a Win box before building a better/faster one longer than 12-18 months for the better part of 15 years.

Not sure I'd have pulled 100 years out of the air, but agree with Nick on the rest of the points.
With the proper care and handling, there is no need that I've found to reinstall the OS, apps and all your data from scratch with OS X.
Well... actually, I have found "one". But, more on that later.

Since it seems we've been gathering a larger influx of the Windows base that are extremely sensitive to the speed of their machines, look for something new here in the next week or so designed specifically at the few percent of users interested in this.

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toMACsh

 
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I think I do it about every 6 months, not because I need to, just an old habit from OS8/9. I let it run overnight. It doesn't do any harm, and I'm asleep anyway.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smalltowntech View Post
I have noticed it is a bit slower than when it first came out of the box and I have tried to keep up with my maintenance.
This is normal. Like everything in life, nothing runs quite as well as it does when you first start using it. Indeed, nothing ever will.

What kinds of specs are you working with?

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MYmacROX

 
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In addition to adequate free hard drive space and sufficient memory, you could also verify and repair permissions in Disk Utility on a weekly or monthly basis. Might help, might not. I rarely even think about it unless I notice a hiccup or app acting funny (and that's almost never).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
With the proper care and handling, there is no need that I've found to reinstall the OS, apps and all your data from scratch with OS X.
Tom...this is why I "pulled out of the air" the 100 year number. I could have said 10 years, 50 years, etc. My main advice was...reinstalls of OS X are not something that we need to do on a regular basis (or ever).

I can't remember the last time I had to reinstall OS X as part of a regular maintenance routine...which I think is what the OP is referring to.

Of course occasionally there can be some unusual situations where reinstalling OS X is necessary. But then we're talking "unusual situations" versus "regular maintenance".

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toMACsh View Post
...just an old habit from OS8/9...
Agree with you there. OS 8/9 was a totally different animal. Way more maintenance necessary compared to OS X.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Slydude

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYmacROX View Post
In addition to adequate free hard drive space and sufficient memory, you could also verify and repair permissions in Disk Utility on a weekly or monthly basis. Might help, might not. I rarely even think about it unless I notice a hiccup or app acting funny (and that's almost never).
I used to do the permission repair routine about once a month. I stopped doing it when I read this Macworld article. The only time I bother with it is if I am encountering a problem. Even then it is pretty far down the checklist.

The one thing I can say about the maintenance myths iid that there are two situations where defragging a drive may be prudent:

1. When creating a Bootcamp partition since the setup utility expects the drive space to be in a contiguous block.
2. If you routinely move large files such as audio / video you may notice an improvement.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
I used to do the permission repair routine about once a month. I stopped doing it when I read this Macworld article.
That article is very much correct. I think repairing permissions is given way too much value as a tool to fix issues. Indeed, as that article notes, it really only addresses a small part of the filesystem since OS X can't possibly know what the proper permissions are for files it didn't create.

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Thanks for the help so far. It would appear that i am currently doing all that I need to do. I must say that my system is running fairly well, I was just trying to determine when, if I needed to do something preventative. The last two OS I had to deal with were Windows XP and Vista. They were not very forgiving once things started to go downhill and while I had a digital backup it did not restore very well. After being a creature of the windows environment (all the way back to windows 3.11 for workgroups) it is still difficult at times not to fall back into the same habits.

Thanks again for all of the advice, it would appear I still have a bit of reading to do.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smalltowntech View Post
Thanks for the help so far. It would appear that i am currently doing all that I need to do. I must say that my system is running fairly well, I was just trying to determine when, if I needed to do something preventative. The last two OS I had to deal with were Windows XP and Vista. They were not very forgiving once things started to go downhill and while I had a digital backup it did not restore very well. After being a creature of the windows environment (all the way back to windows 3.11 for workgroups) it is still difficult at times not to fall back into the same habits.

Thanks again for all of the advice, it would appear I still have a bit of reading to do.
There are a few main reasons to do a periodic clean install of Windows, neither of which exist on OS X...

For one, you have the registry which will balloon over time and eventually accrue cruft and bog down the machine as it grows. Secondly, in earlier versions of Windows, and indeed to a lesser extent in Windows Vista and greater, applications and users are often completely unrestrained as to where they can write files to.

OS X doesn't have a registry. Additionally, OS X will generally not allow OS directories to be modified. So, a worst case scenario would be that you create a new user account and delete the old one to achieve the desired effect.

Providing that you are allowing sufficient free space on your OS partition and not constantly writing very large files, fragmentation shouldn't be an issue either. Periodically purging caches and other miscellaneous routines using OnyX can be helpful, though largely unnecessary. I typically wait 3-6 months in between doing maintenance.

As a long-time Windows user, it can be hard to understand and adjust to the idea of not worrying about maintenance, but in all honesty, OS X is fairly self-maintaining.

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