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Speed Up Your Mac - Enhance the Boot Process

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 11/10/2008

A Mac's startup process should be as quick as the day you brought it home. When boot time starts to suffer, it's time to take a look at what's going on during the boot process.

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    You can help improve your Mac's performance and startup speed by tweaking the startup process. The amount of time it takes the Mac to start correlates almost exactly with how much it has to do. Meaning, if your Mac has a boatload of programs to start each time you turn it on, it’s going to take longer to boot than if it only had to load a few.

    There are a lot of ways to speed up the boot process. For instance, don't let your Mac load programs that you aren’t going to use. Doing so will cause boot time to increase and performance to decrease. Running programs require your Mac to call on system resources it could be using to perform other tasks too, like playing a DVD or downloading music. This affects overall system performance.

    You can control what applications start when your Mac boots. To see what programs launch when you start your Mac and to stop unwanted applications from starting:

    • Open System Preferences, and then Accounts.
    • Select your account in the left pane, and select Login Items on the right.
    • Notice what items are in the list. These items will start automatically when your Mac boots.
    • To hide any application when you log in, remove the check mark beside the item. The program will still start though, and it will still use system resources.
    • To remove an item from the list completely, select it and choose the - sign to delete it. Removing the item will prevent it from starting when your Mac boots.

    When a program doesn’t have to start when your Mac does, the boot process will finish much faster than it does now. When unnecessary programs aren't running in the background your applications will run more efficiently too.