Did you know the original Maverick was slow on the draw too?
December 9, 2014 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Ever since "upgrading" to Mavericks my iMac runs as slow as dirt. Preview especially seems to have a lot of difficulty but across the board the main theme song is Spinning Rainbow Wheel whenever I have more than one program running. What can I do to make this work better?

Some more data points:
- iMac (27" 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 8GB RAM 1TB HD)
- Yes, it is on
- Verified/repaired permissions and disk via Disk Utility
- Dylib cache has been updated
- Disabled Dropbox (memory hog!)
- Finder states 530GB available
posted by jammy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Mavericks routinely deals with many more small files than previous versions. Assuming your disk isn't going south, try enabling noatime. It made a difference on my 2009 Mac Mini. The instructions are written with solid-state disks in mind, but the concept applies to rotating disks as well.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:40 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

My MacBook Pro is older than that and has the same amount of RAM. It’s not sluggish in Mavericks with plenty of apps open and it doesn’t beach ball, although the responsiveness in the Finder is not quite what it was in Snow Leopard.

I currently have plenty of apps open (Safari with a dozen tabs, Firefox with a hundred tabs, NetNewsWire, iTunes, BBEdit, Preview, Numbers, a few menu bar utilities) and while I’m using almost all the RAM nothing is suffering. Dropbox uses 15-20mb of RAM and shouldn’t be a memory hog; are you sure you’re running a recent version?

One thing of note is that I did a clean install when upgrading since I had some crufty stuff that I wanted to be free of. I didn’t use Migration Assistant, either; I manually moved things back into place to get a fresh start. That could be your solution if you don’t mind making good backups (Time Machine AND something else like Carbon Copy Cloner) and spending a whole day setting stuff back up.
posted by bcwinters at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2014

I read somewhere (probably here) that if you don't want to do a clean install, at least create a new user account after installing a new version of OS X so that you're not trying to use legacy library and preference files.
posted by hwyengr at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2014

I've found that running OnyX once in a while helps straighten things out.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2014

It's probably not viable on your iMac, but when I upgraded my Macbook to an SSD it got rid of pretty much all delays. It feels like a new computer now.

FWIW, I didn't really notice any extra slowness on mine when I upgraded to Mavericks with the old spinny disk (and mine is 2011 model, probably slower and older than the OP's), but I spend most of my time in Terminal so YMMV.

Re: DropBox, it's only taking up 67MB on my system. It used to hog CPU at random for no reason (go to 100% CPU and stay there, while synced and idle!) but that seems mostly fixed by now.

I also like MenuMeters, it really helps me keep tabs on what the system's doing. If you notice something spiking your CPU you can pull up Activity Monitor and see what it is.
posted by neckro23 at 3:59 PM on December 9, 2014

Nuke and clean install. I have yet to see a slow Mac on Yosemite or mavericks that wasn't fixed by that.

I'm still procrastinating on doing it on my ornery old imac, but i know it'll haul ass the instant I do.

It won't even be that hard. Time machine backup, format, install from recovery, restore time machine backup. Time machine is so thorough that the same tabs will even still be open in your browser. Holy hell is it slow to backup/restore though. Set aside a good hour+ for the image creation, and another hour+ to restore. It took 3 one way and 2 the other transfering from one macbook pro to another... And the second one had an ssd.

It will work though. Seriously. My 09 macbook pro was like, 3x as fast after I wiped it. No exaggerating.
posted by emptythought at 5:59 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I upgraded my 2008 iMac to Yosemite everything slowed down dramatically and I was frustrated but "too busy" to do anything about it. I've been sitting on the advice in this thread for a month now and finally decided to act.

I have an external drive that lives at work. It comes home with me once a week to get backed up using SuperDuper! and then it returns to work. I made sure that drive was absolutely current before I started.

My backup drive that lives at home connected to the iMac was also being backed up by SuperDuper! - I've been using that since before Time Machine existed. I was reluctant to switch, but I wiped the drive and backed everything up using Time Machine, which was a painless process.

The next day, assured that I had a good Time Machine backup AND a spare + different backup just in case, I restarted my iMac and did CMD-R. From there it was basically:
- click 'yes I want to reinstall my OS'
- connected to my wireless network
- confirmed my Apple ID and password
- clicked 'yes c'mon let's go already DO IT'
and I walked away once I saw the progress bar for the huge amount of data that needed to be downloaded. I went to bed.

The next morning the computer was asleep so I woke it up and saw all my user accounts listed on the login screen. It had not only downloaded OS X Yosemite overnight but once installed it looked and said, "Well, there's a Time Machine backup attached so ... let's get that restored" and it was done. Surreal.

I have only noticed a slight increase in speed. To be more accurate, I have not noticed the random slowdowns that were plaguing me after installing Yosemite. At this point I can't absolutely swear it was worth it but it's only been a few days and I haven't spent that much time on the computer yet.

But was it hard to do? Absolutely not. It was ridiculously simple, once I got over my hesitations about using a backup program with which I was not familiar.
posted by komara at 6:53 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

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