Keep your Mac run­ning smoothly

Here are a few things to take care of, main­te­nance-wise

Mac Format - - TO THE RESCUE -

The good news is that re­cent ver­sions of OS X have all but elim­i­nated the need to per­form reg­u­lar main­te­nance on your Mac. You no longer need to pe­ri­od­i­cally de­frag­ment your hard drive, run Unix cron jobs, or clean caches. There are, how­ever, a few things you can do to pre­vent prob­lems and keep your Mac run­ning smoothly.

The first and most im­por­tant is to im­ple­ment a reg­u­lar, au­to­mated backup sched­ule – reg­u­larly! Au­to­mat­i­cally! At the very least you should switch on Time Ma­chine and use it to back up data to an ex­ter­nal hard drive or NAS. Ideally, you should also have an off-site back-up rou­tine us­ing a ser­vice like CrashPlan or Back­blaze. If you want to be re­ally safe, you could clone your en­tire drive reg­u­larly us­ing Su­perDu­per! or Car­bonCopy­Cloner.

Back-up aside, if you’re us­ing a ver­sion of OS X ear­lier than Mav­er­icks (which sand­boxes Flash), con­sider dis­abling the Flash plug-in in Sa­fari (if you need to view Flash con­tent, read about workarounds at dar­ing­fire­ball.net/2010/11/flash_ free_and_cheat­ing_with­_­google_chrome).

Pe­ri­od­i­cally check your Down­loads folder and re­move in­stallers and disk images you no longer need – it’s an easy way to re­claim hard drive space. Up­grade the RAM if pos­si­ble.

Tools such as Cock­tail or Main­te­nance will run scripts to re­pair per­mis­sions, re­set Spot­light’s in­dex and more. They’re less nec­es­sary in re­cent ver­sions of OS X, but es­pe­cially if you’re run­ning Snow Leop­ard or older, they may help keep things run­ning smoothly.

Pe­ri­od­i­cally restart your Mac; once ev­ery week or two is fine. Quit and re-open Sa­fari once a week or so. Close any tabs you no longer need, and Empty the Trash reg­u­larly. Keep an eye on the health of your boot drive us­ing a tool such as TechTool Pro, DiskWar­rior, or Drive Ge­nius.

You should also keep soft­ware up to date. Apps down­loaded from the Mac App Store will up­date them­selves, but for other apps switch on the op­tion which al­lows them to pe­ri­od­i­cally check for up­dates. Don’t ig­nore up­dates to OS X from Ap­ple, but give them a few days be­fore in­stalling and use Google to check for is­sues be­fore you hit In­stall.

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