Mac Air laptop suddenly sluggish, how to tune up?

Eric_Tuthill used Ask the Experts™
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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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!)



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?


I freed up 20 gigs, still sluggish.
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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.


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?

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: (, it might be worth going over this list.

Good luck to you sir!

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



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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