Macbook Pro, upgrades and general housekeeping
My mid 2009 13 Inch macbook pro had started to show it's age. Rather than spend approximately 1k on a new laptop I spent a few hours over the holidays doing some maintenance work, it’s now running faster than the day I bought it.
Over the years I have carried out no maintenance whatsoever, I’m a bit of a lazy sod, so it's no real surprise it was running like a pig. I thought I'd share my experiences in case there are any other forum users who may benefit. I would also be interested in any other tips other forum users may have for keeping the macbook in optimum condition. I’m going right to the basics so this is understandable for anyone who isn’t that tech savvy.
Firstly, the laptop itself:
13 inch Mid 2009 macbook pro
2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM
If you are unsure of what hardware your mac has click the apple icon and go to about this mac. That will tell you the processor speed and memory. If you then click more info and copy the serial number into the link below it will tell you what model the macbook is, mid 2009 in my case.
Photo storage and basic editing
As you can see I don’t use my mac in anger very much but I had noticed several annoying issues.
Boot up time went from around 40 seconds from “bong” to home screen when new to well over a minute.
Website loading and page refreshes were often resulting in the spinning beachball of death.
When opening iTunes the thumbnail album art was taking an age to load and when scrolling it was very jittery. Around 700 albums.
Same as above for iPhoto, but even slower. Approximately 2500 photos or around 7Gig. Mixture of iPhone and proper camera snaps.
When watching BBC iplayer it was stopping to buffer quite a lot, ditto for Lovefilm instant.
I admit all of these are pretty much first word problems but I found them irritating nonetheless.
Steps I carried out to solve these problems.
First and foremost I decided to upgrade the memory from 2Gb to 8GB. This cost less than £30 and was very easy to do. If you go to the crucial memory website it can scan your machine and provide the upgrade options. This has made a world of difference to iTunes and iPhoto. The programs now open instantly and all of the art and pictures are available straight away.
Boot up time was back to 42 seconds, roughly around the same as when I bought it back in 2009.
Webpage load times and page refresh times are now back to near instant.
Next, after a bit of googling I decided to repair the disk permissions
Finder – Applications – Utilities – Disk Utility
First click verify permissions then click repair permissions
This took approximately 15 mins to verify then around the same to repair.
Now it was time to Verify the disk itself. Unfortunately this picked up a disk volume error so was unable to complete the operation. The OS cannot repair a disk error if the OS itself is running on the same disk.
To resolve this fault I had to insert the OS install disk I got with the macbook and reboot. As the machine loads you need to hold down the “c” key to boot from the DVD drive as opposed to the hard drive.
When the home page opens do NOT follow the on screen prompts to install the OS . Click on the disk utility menu option on the top bar then repeat the verify disk and repair disk procedures detailed above. Once this has been completed remove the disk and reboot the machine as normal.
Another tip is too remove any unnecessary login items (These are programs that start automatically when the machine boots up). I found I was starting an old HP printer application even though I no longer use the printer.
System preferences, accounts, “relevant account” login items.
After completing the above steps my bootup time is now down to 31 seconds and all applications are fast and smooth. For £30 and a few hours work my laptop feels like a brand new machine.. My next upgrade will be to SSD which will hopefully make everything run even more smoothly.
I would be interested in any tips other forum users have to keep the mac in tiptop shape or any experiences of upgrading to SSD. I’m also pondering whether to upgrade to Mountain Lion. At the moment I run Snow Leopard and have heard a lot of bad stories about Mountain Lion. The general consensus seems to be tick with Snow Leopard as it’s the last half decent OS Apple have released. I would be interested in any opinions to the contrary.
p.s Hopefulyl the formatting on this is ok, I typed up on word first.