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What are the best actions and utilities for a Mac tuneup?

Posted on 2011-02-19
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Good morning,

I'm looking for advice regarding Mac OS tuneups. What are the best steps to take to improve the overall performance and reliability and are there any recommended utilities? I am also wondering if it is wise not to apply virus protection. Can I get any feedback regarding virus protection for a Mac?

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:Poly11
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by:Mac2010
ID: 34933213
> I am also wondering if it is wise not to apply virus protection. Can I get any feedback regarding virus protection for a Mac?

I think it is wise, especially if you have a MacBook (Pro) that connects to many different networks, like mine does. I use Intego Virus Barrier X5 (X6 is the latest one) and am quite happy with it. Results so far: 0 viruses found. But I have it installed 'just in case'.
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mccrick earned 250 total points
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The very first Mac Tuneup tip is to Repair Permissions from the Disk Utility. This can solve countless problems and is part of the software that comes with the Mac

The second tip is Safe Boot: Restarting Mac with Shift Key held until you see the Apple logo. This clears boot caches and runs a quick directory structure repair, although I doubt the second part is particularly effective.

The 3rd trick is "zapping" the PRAM: CMD OPT "P" and "R" keys simultaneously on Reboot through several start-up chimes. This can clear up issues with video and peripherals. This used to solve a lot of problems, but more recently seems to be less of an issue.

Life saving Directory Structure Repair is best performed by a third party utility such as Disk Warrior. This is far better than what is built into the Disk Utility or the equivalent Unix command.

Clean Install of the OS is an amazingly effective cure-all. Sure it might take 30 minutes and only fix a couple of corrupt files. But out of the tens of thousands of files, How else are you going to figure out which file are bad and replace them. A "Clean Install" is the default in OS 10.6 but in 10.5 you should always do the Archive Install.

Lastly there are a few rarely needed tools out there such as Parian that will let you nuke various cache files. This can really help things out if your cache files are tweaked but it's so easy to do, it's worth a shot. That said, Safari trouble can often be addressed by using the Reset Safari function and cleaning cache files that way.

Here is a quick link that points out a few things I missed such as updating your software:

http://mac.elated.com/2009/01/13/mac-troubleshooting-10-quick-tips-for-fixing-your-computer/
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by:mccrick
ID: 34938479
On the virus issue, you may want to run something that reduces the likelihood that you will pass something onto one of your PC, or PC friends.

On the other hand, I certainly would not pay for Virus software on the Mac. Virus software may give a false sense of security, take up resources unnecessarily and foul up an occasional install. Since there are virtually no Mac viruses running around out there, you could easily be infected by a virus on the Mac even with AV software on your Mac or go a life time without virus or AV software.

If a significant virus-like threat hits the Mac platform it will be front page news from all news sources.
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by:nappy_d
nappy_d earned 250 total points
ID: 34939198
While disk repair for permissions work, a utility that works better is Onyx. This app not only checks and repairs permissions but also it can clear disk, font and application caches. it will also check the S.M.A.R.T status of your hdd which for some reason, apple does not give an obvious method of doing. In order to check the S.M.A.R.T status manually you have to go in to your system profiler.

Lastly, a method that always works for me is to run from single user mode, "fsck -fy" for checking and resolving file system issues, which I find works just as good as diskwarrior but free.

As for viruses, yeah, OS X doesn't get many but it doesn't mean we should be complacent. Sophos is a good choice I run on all my corporate Macs.
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by:Poly11
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Thank you!
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