Mac Air laptop suddenly sluggish, how to tune up?

Eric_Tuthill
Eric_Tuthill used Ask the Experts™
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Hi All-

I have aquired a macbook air laptop.  I am an advanced PC techie but pretty novice on the mac.  It seemed to be running fine, I loaded acrobat reader on it and the machine is now sluggish as heck.  I pulled acrobat back off, checked disk space - 5 gigs free - so the hard disk should have enough space on it.  What else can I check in terms of tuning up?  

Much appreciated, would like to do this sooner rather than later so max points.  If you have further questions, please ask. I believe it to be running osx.
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Commented:
Hi Eric

I'm not really a Mac pro myself, but I do have a desktop and a laptop, and they serve me pretty well.  I have a quick idea.

You may want to check your start up applications.  Forgive me, I don't have my Mac in front of me at the time of writing this comment, so I can't tell you exactly where to go.  But if you open the System Preferences and use the search bar to search for 'Startup' you should get a hit on it.   Comb through that an un-check programs you don't want to run when the system starts.

Eric (Yep, that's my name too!)

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Commented:
Thanks.

Ituneshelper was the only app listed in there.

Im now wondering about it overheating maybe.  Of the 73 gig drive, only 5g are free.  Too little?

Author

Commented:
I freed up 20 gigs, still sluggish.
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Commented:
There's also a System Monitor under Applications > Utilities you can use to investigate what may be consuming resources, so that could be worth a look-see as well.

What are the stats of this machine?  What version of OS X?

I would indeed say that your hard drive is getting a little low.  Perhaps not yet low enough to cause performance issues by itself, but low enough to consider reloading the machine.  Once upon a time, my Mac desktop was in a fit where it would crash (and hard!) every once in a while.  A reload made a world of difference as far as fixing that issue and improving overall performance.  I suppose even Mac OS X isn't immune to needing a reload every once in a while.

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Commented:
I would rather repair than reload at this point.  Leopard is the OS, 2 gigs ram, it was running fine before the install of acrobat. Could a botched install cause this?  Might a permission repair be in order?

Commented:
I'll largely have to refrain from comment on that last one, and let someone with more experience with the operating system answer.  However, I will say that needing a permissions repair seems unlikely to me.

Again, I'm no pro.  I'm largely over my head just coming to the Apple area.  I just visited EE today to see what's up and saw your question at the top of the list, thought I *might* be able to help.  So one last thing before I bow out - I found this: (http://www.peachpit.com/guides/content.aspx?g=mac&seqNum=257), it might be worth going over this list.

Good luck to you sir!

Eric
Commented:
acrobat isn't really an intensive app so shouldn't cause the sluggish-ness that you're experiencing.

What version of Mac OS X are you running? 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard)?
What minor version are you running - 10.5.8 or 10.6.4 are the latest. You can check by clicking the apple button at the top left of finder, then about this mac. For more detailed information use system profiler in Applications>Utilities (not needed on this occasion)

I would run software update to ensure you are at the latest version of your OS, reboot and repeat until there are no more updates. Then do a disk permissions repair:

option 1 using the GUI (more informative but slower) Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility>Select DIsk>Repair permissions

option 2 using terminal (quicker, less informative) Applications>Utilities>Terminal
sudo diskutil repairpermissions /

Next install acrobat, if the problem goes away it was a permissions issue (most likely). If it's still slugglish, open activity monitor from Utilities and watch what processes are eating resources whilst acrobat is running.

Hoep that helps

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Commented:
10.5.8

Ran repair permissions, but had to cut it short.  BUT, once I cleared disk space, wow what a difference.

Acrobat installed fine.

System still needs a disk repair and another permissions repair but for now, good enough.  Thanks  baxter.

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