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How To Make Your Mac Happier

written by: •edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 5/3/2010

A Mac is a very stable machine but when you give it regular maintenance, it will become happier than before. You would be happy to if you had a longer lifespan, were safer, and could do things better.

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    Install Updates

    It is worth installing software updates as soon as they are available. Doing this can protect you from many potential security and other problems. Apple regularly creates updates for its products including Mac OS X, so keep your operating system updated at all times by downloading the new software. In Mac OS X, there is a feature called Software Updater under the Apple Menu, through which you can connect your Mac to the Apple website where it checks for available updates and bug fixes. It is wise to set Software Update to run automatically at regular intervals (idly once every week). You can do this by going to its pane in the System Preferences.

    No worries if you have a slow Internet connection to download updates, you can also use Software Update to download the updater files. This allows you to download the files from a computer with fast Internet connection and bring them to your Mac on a portable storage (A Flash drive, etc). Another good reason to use the Software Update is that it can also check and download updates for many Apple software including Keynote, iMovie and more.

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    Maintain The Files

    Corrupted files on a hard drive are often the cause for unexpected system freezes and other problems. One day, you might face a problem with your Mac and its cause could be a single file. There is no need to worry, use Mac’s Disk Utility (You will find it in the Utilities folder). For Mac operating systems older than 10.4.3, you will need to reboot from another volume like OS X installer disk and run Disk Utility from there. The newer version of Mac OS X integrates a feature called Live Verification that allows you to run the scan from the current volume. If Disk Utility discovers any problem that requires repair, you will then need to reboot using your Mac OS X Install disk and use Disk Utility to make repairs.

    Disk Utility can not only fix damaged files but also disk permissions. What happens is that disk permissions for a certain file becomes damaged and prevents a file or a program from opening. You might never see a disk permission problem on your Mac OS but Disk Utility is a good tool should such a problem occurs.

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    Give Your Mac Regular MaintenanceMac Maintenance Explained: How to Defrag your Mac computer hard drive so that scattered data is gathered together for faster access. You can use third-party defrag software for Mac to perform defragmentation on your Mac drive. We also explain using the "sudo sh /etc/daily" (Enter) command to manually execute the maintenance tasks of a Mac Computer.
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    Defragment The Hard Disk

    Disk defragmenting is a technique that gathers together scattered portions of a particular file to a single location. Those who don't know why it becomes necessary to defragment can imagine a Word document that is created and saved to the disk. Later a few more files are created and then saved next to that file. When the Word document is edited, there is no space beside to it to add the new data, so the computer saves the new data somewhere else. These different chunks of a file will take longer for a computer to read because these are scattered out at different locations. In reality, this does not matter much but when you work with very large files such as audio, video or images that take up a lot of disk space, you can get improved performance if the drive is not fragmented.

    To defragment your hard drive, use a disk utility that has a defragmentation feature. If you search for a disk defragmentation tool on Google, you will find many such tools for download, iDefrag and Auslogics Disk Defrag are very good. When you run the defragmentation, the other application may run slow because the files are in use by the defragmentation tool and in some cases, if it is interrupted, your files may be lost. So it is a good idea to back up important data before defragmenting.

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    Run The Maintenance Apps

    Mac OS X includes maintenance routines that run in the background. Their job is to delete the system files that are no longer needed. This process also includes removing older information from the log files or deleting certain temporary files. These tasks will run in the middle of the night but if you happen to switch your computer off at that time then these tasks will never run, so you should run them manually. To run them, go to the Terminal and type in the following command:

    sudo sh /etc/daily (Enter)

    As you hit the Enter key, the Terminal asks for your administrator password, enter it. This command will initiate the cleaning job for your system, which will include cleaning various databases and logs and temporary files and more. This cleaning job will help your OS X in keeping things better

    The three routines are run from Terminal using the commands below. Type in one command at a time, press Return, and when Terminal asks for your administrator password, enter it. As should be obvious, the first routine is meant to run every day, the second weekly, and the third monthly. In practice, no harm seems to be done running all three at the same time, once a month or so. This trio cleans up various logs and databases, helping OS X keep things in better order.