View Full Version : OSX optimization

anonymous Mac Tech
07-05-2009, 05:34 AM
This thread is being started based upon some requests from some techs on these forums who would like to know about optimization for OSX.

Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility: Disk utility is one of the most important tools included in OSX. Many functions such as Verifying and repairing your volume. Repairing disk permissions because permissions are an integral part of a Unix based OS, checking SMART status, and 2 functions I find very useful:

Creating a disk image of a volume.
Restoring volumes to other disks.

Note: functions mentioned above such as repairing your volume, creating a disk image of your volume, or restoring your volume to another drive must be done through the OSX installer or another Mac with the target volume booted into Target disk mode via firewire.

Safe Boot: Performed by booting while holding the shift key until you reach a login screen. Have personally witnessed this process fix wireless issues, fix boot issues, and correct several varieties of strange issues. This link will explain what it does much better than I could: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1564?locale=en_US

Onyx: Must have utility for cleaning system, user, and font caches, repairing disk permissions, and even goes through all the .plist files and verifies they are all in good condition. Everytime Onyx launches it checks your drives SMART status and verifies the startup volume. Great for cleaning alot of hidden caches on the system and user side. Does a thorough cleaning of Safari's caches, cookies, history and form and search data . The cool thing is each particular cleaning function can be done seperately. http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/onyx.html

idefrag: Never personally used it but have heard its good. free demo or $29.95 for full version. http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php

My preferred method of a Defrag/optimization for my machines or clients: Start by creating a disk image of your target volume to another HD. Zero out the target volume. Clean install of OSX. Create dummy user/set energy saver preferences to never go to sleep to stop any interference with updates and data migration. Install all software updates. Applications/Utilites/Migration Assistant to migrate data back from disk image to target volume.

Note: above method will require at least another external HD with firewire port or another Mac with plenty of HD space, OSX installer, and firewire. But regardless a defrag of some sort is important because Unix based/freeBSD volumes are prone to a good amount of fragmentation.

Disk Warrior: The ultimate in directory structure repair. If disk warrior can't fix it, you've probably got a bad HD. I've personally witnessed on several occasions DW to mount unmountable volumes due to extreme directory structure damage and repair volumes that disk utility failed to repair on several occasions. I also can't tell you how many customers I've gotten from the Apple store diagnosing bad HDs that disk warrior has been able to help me retrieve customer data, or repair the drive altogether. Great tool for sniffing out bad HDs as well. Does cost $99.00, but if you plan on doing a good amount of Mac work, will pay for itself. http://www.alsoft.com/Buy/index.html

istat pro: Fanatastic dashboard widget for monitoring operating temps, fans, and processor usage. Not as useful with older PPC based Macs due to alot less thermal sensors on those models, but a must for any intel based Mac. http://www.islayer.com/apps/istatpro/

Last but not least I want to point anyone that doesn't know about it to Bryces list of Mac resources in this article: http://www.technibble.com/resources-for-repairing-apple-macs/#more-2827 (http://www.technibble.com/forums/../resources-for-repairing-apple-macs/#more-2827)

Of course anything I haven't mentioned by some of our other more than Mac capable techs are also welcomed.:)

07-05-2009, 05:38 AM
Thanks, there is some good stuff in here. I always like reading Mac stuff even though I don't work on them usually.

07-05-2009, 06:19 AM
Thanks for that mate; just what I was after =)

anonymous Mac Tech
07-06-2009, 08:53 PM
Thanks man, this will really come in handy. I just had in an old ibook G4. Wouldn't start up, would just sit at the folder blinking with the question mark. I wound of trying to reset the PRAM and all of that to no avail. After googling for awhile, I came across a solution that worked, and figured I'd mention it here. I started it up by pressing and holding the power button and waiting for the long beep to end, then released the power button, and wouldn't you know it, it is on the desktop now. Customer happy, and I'm happy to have fixed it, and been paid.

Sounds like a firmware issue? Perhaps the customer didn't properly install a firmware update, and that rolled it back to the previous version or pushed it through? But the only thing is its been quite a long time since any new firmware updates were released for ibook G4s. Oh well, its fixed!:D

08-04-2009, 07:07 AM
Great post! I've been wondering for a while if it was even possible to "tune-up" a Mac. Now i know. Thanks!

08-26-2009, 02:36 PM
Thanks for the information. I knew about Onyx and most of the other tools, but I like the idea of your osx optimization solution. Thanks for sharing!

08-26-2009, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the post AMT. This will come in handy when I get my mac :)

anonymous Mac Tech
08-26-2009, 08:08 PM
Glad you found it useful. I posted this a while back and felt I placed this in the wrong category after posting it here (although it seemed like the right area at the time). I probably should have posted it under Apple Macintosh? But I'm glad you dug it up and brought it back!:)