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Troubleshooting - OS X - Slow (work-in-progress)

AUTHOR'S NOTES

* This is a work in progress. Expect many and unannounced changes.
* Much of what I'm writing here can be applied to other operating systems. For now, I'm answering a question that was posted. I will, at a later date, revisit this topic for Windows. 
* I'm working under the assumption that you're backed up and have been backing up.
* Finally, you really ought to seek professional help. There are a number of steps included that can render your Mac unusable. Jump to [BEGINNING].

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TO BE ADDED

* html anchors
* console
* SSD DISKUTIL
* fsck
* boot from an external drive


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[BEGINNING] Try rebooting

Reboot and hold down COMMAND-OPTION-P-R. Continue to hold those keys down until you hear your computer chime twice. This resets your PRAM.

* Jump to [FAILEDHDD]


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[FAILEDHDD] Test your hard drive for physical problems.

Install and run SMART Utility http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php 

I recommend buying it and having it launch at login. That way, you get the earliest notice if your hard drive is having problems. I bought the family license and installed it on all my family's computers.

Does your HD pass SMART Utility?

* Yes? Jump to [IDTRIGGER].
* No. Jump to [REPLACEHD].

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[IDTRIGGER] Narrow down when the problem occurs.

When does your computer begin to show lag?

* When it starts? Jump to [SLOWBOOT].
* When you log in? Jump to [KGPROFILE].
* When you launch Microsoft Office? [MSOFFICE].
* When you launch any other app? [APPSPECIFIC].

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[REPLACEHD] Your hard drive needs to be replaced.

You've got a few options. 

If you are under warranty, make an appointment at your local Apple Store. Don't expect it to be done on the spot, but your chances of a same day repair *may* increase if you make 3 appointments at the very beginning of their day.

If you're not under warranty... 

...you can still go to an Apple Store, you're just going to end up paying more. It will come with a 3 month warranty.


...replace it yourself. There are probably YouTube videos documenting your model. Most new hard drives come with a warranty ranging from 1 - 5 years.

...you can hire an Apple Authorized Service Provider to replace it for you. You should verify how much it will cost and how long the warranty will be before you agree to the repair.

These days, I'd recommend getting either an SSD or a hybrid drive. 

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[SLOWBOOT] Safe Boot

Shut down completely. Then, boot holding down the SHIFT KEY.

Is your Mac still slow?

* Yes? Jump to [VERBOSEBOOT].
* No? Jump to [BADRAM].

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[VERBOSEBOOT]

Reboot your computer and hold down COMMAND-V. These actions will boot your computer in Verbose Mode. Verbose Mode shows all the code your computer is running instead of the grey screen and spinning gear. Watch it go by, if your computer hangs anywhere, write down that last line and search the internet for what it could mean. That could point to what is causing the problem.

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[BADRAM] Test your RAM for physical problems.
If you're a beginner, install and run Rember http://www.kelleycomputing.net/Rember/
If you're hardcore, install and run Memtest in single user mode http://www.memtestosx.org/

Does your RAM pass?

* Yes? Jump to [KGPROFILE].
* No? Replace your RAM. If you're under warranty, you should seek help from either Apple or from whoever your replacement RAM's manufacturer.

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[KGPROFILE] Determine if it is profile specific or system-wide.

In Apple Menu / System Preferences / Users & Groups, enable the Guest Login. Log in as Guest. Attempt to duplicate the lag.

Are you able to duplicate the lag?

* Yes? It's a system wide issue. Jump to [SPECS].
* No? It's a profile specific issue. Log back into your own profile and jump to [TEMP].

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[TEMP] Clear temporary items that may have become corrupt.

Using Go Menu / Go To Folder, go to ~/Library/. Empty the contents of Cache and Saved Application State. Log out, Log back in.

Do you still have lag?

* Yes? Jump to [LOGINITEMS].
* No? Awesome. Why are you still reading? Go enjoy your Mac.

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[LOGINITEMS] Make sure you don't have too many items beginning at login.

Go to Apple Menu / System Preferences / Users & Groups. Highlight your username. Document everything. Remove all login items. Log out and log back in.

Do you still have log?

* Yes? Jump to [OS].
* No? Awesome. Review the list of login items. You probably didn't need those login items anyway.

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[OS] Verify which OS you are running.

Go to Apple Menu / About this Mac. Below the Apple icon and (Mac) OSX you will see a grey line. Click on it until it tells you which version of OSX you are running.

Are you running...

* 10.9.x? Jump to [10.9.x].
* 10.8.x? Jump to [10.8.x].
* 10.7.x? Jump to [10.7.x].
* 10.6.x or less? Jump to [BUYANEWMAC].

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[10.9.x] Mavericks just came out...

Are you completely up-to-date? The first few months of any new OS can be bumpy. At this point, I'd recommend just riding it out and keeping up to date.

That said, you should check how much RAM you have. Go to Apple Menu / About this Mac. Apple says that the minimum system requirement is 2GB of RAM. I recommend running at least 4GB. 

Do you have 4 GB or RAM or more?

* Yes? Jump to [SOFTWARESPECS].
* No? Jump to [NOTENOUGHRAM].

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[10.8.x] For Mountain Lion, Apple posts that you need a minimum 2 GB of RAM. I don't recommend running with less than 4 GB.

Go to Apple Menu / About this Mac. Check how much RAM you have.

Do you have 4 GB or RAM or more?

* Yes? Jump to [SOFTWARESPECS].
* No? Jump to [NOTENOUGHRAM].

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[10.7.x] Lion never ran smoothly for me. I upgraded as soon as I could to Mountain Lion 10.8.x. If you have a copy of Mountain Lion 10.8.x, I'd upgrade. I'd hold off on upgrading to Mavericks 10.9 until Apple releases at least 10.9.1. For now, 

For Lion, at this writing, Apple posts that you need a minimum 2 GB of RAM. I don't recommend running with less than 4 GB.

Go to Apple Menu / About this Mac. Check how much RAM you have.

Do you have 4 GB or RAM or more?

* Yes? Jump to [SOFTWARESPECS].
* No? Jump to [NOTENOUGHRAM].

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[SYSTEMRAM] Verify that you have enough RAM.

Go to Apple Menu / About this Mac. Check how much RAM you have.

Do you have 4 GB or RAM or more?

* Yes? Jump to [SOFTWARESPECS].
* No? Jump to [NOTENOUGHRAM].

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[NOTENOUGHRAM] You don't have enough RAM. How do you upgrade?

Whenever I need to buy RAM for a Mac, I always begin at http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/apple/memory/ . They make it easy to figure out which RAM to buy. After you know, research. Go through reviews and see what is currently the best RAM for the best price.

Do you not believe me? Do you still have lag after an upgrade?

* Yes? Jump to [SOFTWARESPECS].
* No? Awesome. Why are you still reading? Go enjoy your Mac.

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[SOFTWARESPECS] Verify that you have the right hardware specs to run the software you want to run.

Go through your list of Apps. If you are savvy enough, you'll know which are the biggest resource hogs. If you aren't, do the following for all your apps. Go to the developer page of either the biggest resource hogs or all your apps. Find their system recommendations or system requirements if you have to. Note your Processor and Memory in Apple Menu / About This Mac. Click on More Info. From more info, you should be able to tell how much hard drive space you have. 

Does your hardware meet the system requirements? 

* Yes? Well, that's weird. So now, we need to start guessing. [SWAG]
* No? Jump to [LOWSPECS]

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[SWAG] Scientific Wild @ss Guess

So I need to expand this section, but one of the things you may want to examine is how you're using your apps. Try launching them one at a time and seeing if there's lag. Perhaps, you need to run fewer things at the same time.

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[LOWSPECS] Determine how you upgrade your specs.

Do you need to upgrade your--

* RAM? Jump to [NOTENOUGHRAM].
* PROCESSOR? Jump to [BUYANEWMAC].

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[BUYANEWMAC] It's probably time to buy a new Mac. Go to http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/ so you can budget and time your next Mac.

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[MSOFFICE] 

If you're POP or archiving your mail with Outlook or Entourage, run /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Database Utility.app and rebuild your database.

Microsoft Database Utility can't repair it, you'll need to restore an earlier database.

If you're not using archiving, please stop using Outlook or Entourage.

If you're having other lag issues, I'd recommend beginning again. Jump to [BEGINNING]

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[APPSPECIFIC] Ok

Using Go Menu / Go To Folder, go to ~/Library/. Empty the contents of Cache and Saved Application State. Log out, Log back in.

Do you still have lag?

* Yes? Jump to [APPRESINSTALL].
* No? Awesome. Why are you still reading? Go enjoy your Mac.

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[APPREINSTALL] Reinstall the app.

First you need to clear the temp folders again. Using Go Menu / Go To Folder, go to ~/Library/. Empty the contents of Cache and Saved Application State. 

Uninstall the app using AppCleaner, AppZapper, AppDelete, CleanApp, AppTrap, CCleaner or whichever app uninstaller you prefer. I use AppCleaner, but that's just me.

Restart.

Reinstall the app.

Do you still have lag?

* No? Awesome. Why are you still reading? Go enjoy your Mac.
* Yes? Jump to [APPFILES].

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[APPFILES] There might be files not being removed by the app uninstaller. You'll need to redo the app uninstall and the go further. I'm including the instructions here.

First you need to clear the temp folders again. Using Go Menu / Go To Folder, go to ~/Library/. Empty the contents of Cache and Saved Application State. 

Uninstall the app using AppCleaner, AppZapper, AppDelete, CleanApp, AppTrap, CCleaner or whichever app uninstaller you prefer. I use AppCleaner, but that's just me. Note which files are uninstalled and where they exist.

Now, you need to start manually go through your file system looking for files that weren't uninstalled. 

Go through /Library and ~/Library. Use search to look for files and folders based on the app's name and the app's developer. Rename the files by adding a .old to the end of them just in case you need to restore them.

Restart.

Reinstall the app.

Do you still have lag?

* No? Awesome. Why are you still reading? Go enjoy your Mac.
* Yes? Jump to [REFORMAT].

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[REFORMAT] Sometimes there's a problem so pervasive and difficult to triage that a reformat is in order.

I'd really recommend you bring your Mac to a professional for a second opinion. There's always a chance she or he will spot something that I am simply unable to anticipate in this document. Good luck.

AppList - OAuth

AppList - OAuth

Utilities - OS X - Triage Drive