View Full Version : what's the proper way to maintain an OSX partition for speed?

02-11-2002, 01:18 PM
I have a QS 733 with 1.5GB, dual monitor, etc...60GB drive internal (7200RPM IBM 60GXP).
The machine is currently setup as two partitions on the drive, one with just OS9, and the other with OS 10.1.2 and 9, used just for classic (which normally isn't running).

I did a full wipe and reinstall after purchasing the machine a few months ago, and it's been running great - but it feels quite a bit slower than when I first purchased it. I actually have less programs running at once than I did when I originally started using the machine, and currently I usually have entourage X, IE 5.1, Fire, CPU monitor, and clock running 24/7. iTunes gets shut down randomly in an attempt to speed things up slightly (?).

I have booted into OS 9 and loaded up Norton Util 6, and run disk doctor and speed disk pretty regularly on the OS X partition (since the disk must be unmounted to be worked on) - but even after 3 months (the time I waited inbetween running Norton) - speed disk said I was less than 1% fragmented. When running disk doctor, I always get lots of minor errors (that I can't remember the names of off the top of my head - sorry) but they are pretty generic, like creator codes, something about a bit code being on when it should be off, and vice versa. (sorry I can't remember exactly, I'm away from the machine right now) Norton recommends fixing all these problems - so I do...should I?

When I originally installed X.1, I thought it was quite speedy and was very impressed - now I can't even have 5 or 6 IE 5 windows open without major delays in switching back and forth between them - closing a single browser window takes almost 3-5 seconds.

Please oh please - tell me what is the proper way to maintain a OS X partition to retain maximum speed! (and why doesn't apple include all the utilities you need WITH the OS! i never have understood that)

I apologize in advance for the bloat, but I don't know how to better explain. Thanks for any replies, help, etc! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif


02-11-2002, 02:49 PM
We are all learning on this one. Why I ordered the "Mac OS X Unleased" as it gets down and dirty in 1500 pages and is NOT just a what's new and how to update using software update.

Don't set programs to launch on login. Scripts that are essential are okay. A mix of Classic/Carbon/Cocoa = mush and is warned against.

Does your system freeze at all? force quits? do you run fsck -y on startup in Single user mode (command + S will get you there)?

Do you have OS X on another drive or volume so you can repair from w/in OS X?

CarbonCopyCloner will allow you to backup and keep current and boot on another drive. It works great.

I start clean with each minor OS update. Whether 9.2.1 -> 9.2.2 or 10.1 to 10.1.2.

I don't use Classic.
Have learned it is okay to have aliases all over the place.
Keep all my OS X apps now in the system /Applications directory
Stopped using IE 5.1.3 in favor of OmniWeb 4.1sp40, Mozilla, iCab

And I will not install Office or Microsoft - I wanted to get EntourageX but I don't want the baggage it comes with - M$ + Passport + PID and problems. You could put OS X on another volume and try it there, keep it clean.

I keep all my user folders on another drive or volume which works and is easy. Or on same drive w/o any partitions. Those Cheetahs today don't degrade.

Unix can be slower due to trying to "optimize" and backup/initialize/restore is fast, efficient. In OS X copying between two Cheetahs at 1GB/5 minutes at the worst.

Maybe you've gotten use to it and its only a perceptual illusion - joking.

Have you added a lot? are you running a server or loading a lot of daemons at startup? Do you see anyting in Terminal 'top' that shows unusual behavior? Process Viewer? cpu usage?

Is there a a bug affecting 1.5GB RAM affecting some programs? You should never ever see any pageouts or more than one swap0 file.

I think a book or three makes a good investment if they do more than cursury presentation. Dev Notes, O'Reiley and others plus online chapters, unix commands, etc

... and we all hope that 10.1.3 and later 10.2 will fix some existing bugs and problems...

02-11-2002, 07:14 PM

Wow! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif

I am unfortunately a novice at unix, and just learned the "top" command in terminal about 5 minutes ago http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Let me see if I can answer your questions as well as possible, and then I'll ask a few more of my own.

The only program set to launch on login is suitcase 10, for font management. I can stop it - but I'm curious as to why it matters if it launches on start, or if I launch it after I'm in - something about the order of launching?

M$ (big surprise here) makes the only programs that crash my machine. I wouldn't use Office v.X, except I get it for $5 from school, and since word is the "standard" - I realize there are other programs that can fully handle word files...Entourage X crashes rarely - maybe once a month. It's usually running 24/7, checking 7 accounts, including hotmail, with newsgroups setup in full, so I'm okay with an occasional crash. No harm to the system ever, just program crash. IE crashes, but only when I really tax it, like 10-15 windows on two screens, etc, or if it hits a website that it doesn't like (which isn't often).

I don't know how to not mix Carbon and Cocoa - not enough programs out there to choose. I'm just waiting for OmniWeb to go full, then I'll consider it.

System has only frozen once (as in kernel panic, strange unix-esque writing on screen). Force quits are only for those programs. I have no idea what fsck -y is http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif you'll have to explain that one to me...

I don't have OSX on another drive, but I'm considering another drive for the purpose. I have the demo of drive 10, but am lost on it's usefulness unless I make another OSX partition.

I apologize, but I don't really understand what you mean when you are talking about CarbonCopyCloner - backup my full OSX partition? to where? boot off what?

I was clean at 10.1, but just updated to 10.1.2. 1.2 seems (in my head) to be when it started slowing down - did anybody else notice this?

All of my apps are in the "Applications" directory - which I'm assuming is the same thing you are talking about. I'm being extremely careful to put things where the OS wants them, and not where I do.

I'm not running a server. All it runs regularly (24/7 usually) is IE, Entourage, Fire, Suitcase, CPU Monitor, & Clock. Other programs launch and die all the time, ranging from FCP3 to AE, VPC, Netscape, etc.

In "top" (which I just found out about), I see nothing unusual. A quick rundown:
42 processes, 2 running, 40 sleeping, 135 threads.
Load avg hovers between .30 and goes up to .70 for the first number, the second stays in the .30-.40, and the third is always around .30-.33. CPU usage 12%-25% user, 15% sys, 67% idle.
PhysMem 109M wired, 83.4M active, 285M inactive, 477 used, 1.03G free.
VM: 3.80G + 47.0M (eh?? http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif
0 pageouts.
No process takes over 15% of the CPU at this configuration (progs listed above). 90% are at 1% or lower. top, IE, and Fire flucuate the most.

does iTuneshelper do anything negative? it's in the login startup - should I take it out?

I've got quite a bit on the machine, and am doing a bit - but I'm expecting to be able to, with my hardware. I hardly think I'm pushing the envelope.

Thanks for drudging through the muck above - I sincerely appreciate the help. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/cool.gif


[This message has been edited by chromatica (edited 11 February 2002).]

02-12-2002, 10:37 AM

1. 10.1.2 is much better but maybe there is something that needs an update if you think that was when you had trouble begin. I would suspect OfficeX first. And don't install NortonX or other betas.

2. 10.1.3 is due and I?d take that as a good time to do a clean install on a 2nd disk drive.

3. Drive10 so far is not worth it. Disk Warrior is what I run before anything else - definitely before running Norton 6. Drive10 has to be launched from CD (but there is none that works with 10.1+) or from another volume with OS X on it.

4. iTunes - probably good to disable.

5. Stop by MacInTouch, OSXFAQ, and MacFixit every AM for latest news, updates, tips.

6. On login - starting Classic environment is discouraged by Apple. Or any non-Cocoa items.

Starting anything that was written in Cocoa (Quickeys X) and non-Cocoa (Carbon or Classic) causes trouble. CE Software and Apple agree on this one. Login is not efficient at launching items. They can even lock up and stop or prevent others from launching or not correctly. Cocoa items should launch last, so best is to not launch any if possible. Until you know, until Apple fixes it, and never launch Classic on startup.

7. ...waiting for OmniWeb to go full.
Something things are a work in progress but still ready for prime time.
OmniWeb - it is very polished and worth being default browser at this point. Take a look - and 4.06 is broken, crippled, due to Apple pulling code.

Latest beta (sneakypeek) http://www.omnigroup.com/ftp/pub/software/MacOSX/.sneakypeek/releases

8. ?fsck -y? can be run multiple times to repair the OS X volume. Sort of like Disk First Aid. You have to hold down ?Command S? and you?ll see a unix screen of stuff loading. After running until there are no problems, type ?reboot? to be safe.

I use Mozilla rather than Netscape.

You?ll want to look into VPC 5.0+ along with the others like FCP3.

With that setup, a second drive makes a lot of sense. Partitions are useful, but for any heavy disk I/O it can make matters worse. A 2nd drive for OS X for bacup and emergency repair, or if you want each configured differently.

I?d run 10.1.2 on one and test anything new on another, like 10.1.3. It just doesn?t make sense to take a stable system and throw beta software at it. I even have a 2nd computer for testing or when my main machine is down - still need to get online, get help, download files.

IE Crashes?
I don?t think there is yet such a think as ?no harm to the system - just a program crash? - when IE has beachball, click on Finder desktop and come back. I have NEVER had IE crash. And I have taxed it heavily. Even with 50-60 windows open and using 95% of available memory. Corrupt cache.waf file or internet preferences are often damaged or something in the past.

See this article on OSXFAQ today about corrupt preferences in X: http://www.osxfaq.com/dailytips/02-2002/02-12.ws

System has only frozen once (as in kernel panic, strange unix-esque writing on screen). Force quits are only for those programs. I have no idea what fsck -y is you'll have to explain that one to me...

?fsck -y? is like running Disk First Aid. If it finds an error, run it again.

NO utility is perfect. OR boot from the OS X CD and run Disk First Aid from there; then boot into OS 9 and run Disk Warrior followed by Norton. But you need a backup - of everything.

...CarbonCopyCloner - backup my full OSX partition? to where? boot off what?

Backup to another volume, to disk image, to CDRW. Full backup. You do know how important your files and system are and the work and time to get it installed. Plus keep all the updaters you?ve downloaded somewhere. FireWire drive is one option, a 2nd IDE drive is another. Or maybe go for SCSI for the fastest I/O. Or PCI IDE ATA/133... but those are another topic.

... I was clean at 10.1, but just updated to 10.1.2. 1.2 seems (in my head) to be when it started slowing down - did anybody else notice this?

That's when most people I think felt that things ran better. Curious.

...does iTuneshelper do anything negative? it's in the login startup - should I take it out?

Probably try w/o it - get down to a stable system first, then add back gradually.

OS X it?s a work in progress.
The envelope has tape holding it together. There isn?t even good reliable RAID support yet. A lot of code and programs depend on the Developer Tools which came out in DECEMBER! So any drivers etc began life afterwards. And OfficeX was out of beta so it never even saw a lot of testing etc. 10.1 was the end of beta but I think 10.2 which is due later this year (June?) will we have a complete environment.

I think a general manual/book and one more technical like ?Black Book? and ?Unleased? are great, and maybe the ?Missing Manual? though I don?t know if it gets into the troubleshooting area it will help understand setting it up.

I would be interested to see what OS X 10.1.2 but WITHOUT OfficeX runs like http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


02-13-2002, 11:19 AM
Just to add that anyone running IRC, ICQ, IM and the rest should be aware of the security issues and have their firewall and virus protection in place to avoid allowing your system to be used in any manner, even if it doesn't (seem) to affect your own. unix is not the old mac and their are new vulnerabilities that didn't exist before.

02-13-2002, 12:45 PM
I think your problem might lie in Entourage. I was using it but have switched to Apple's Mail and have been much happier. With Entourage running 24/7 (it took 2 minutes for it to quit so i never did) i recall that i had that same slow window switching problems.

I have done so much to my OS X setup, i'm not sure if that was the issue or if it was something else. Recently i complied XDawrin 1.1 (XFree86 4.2) with OroborOSX and have had a lot of fun playing with X86 unix binaries (via ssh forwarding of X11). I have also substituted Dock.app with DragThing and the Finder with SNAX. Lots o fun.

Aside: Has anyone been able to complie Cocoazilla (cocoa frontend to Mozilla)? I keep gettting errors when I build embed.jar

- Chris

02-13-2002, 10:11 PM
not to be a m$ supporter, because I hardly am, but i just don't think my problem lies with entourage...

entourage opens in under 5 seconds, quits just as quietly, and hardly ever crashes. i'm considering switching to mail.app also - just to see if i like it better, if things run smoother...

gregory - any particular bits of info on the security risks of messaging apps, etc? i'm behind a hardware firewall, but am not all that sure of how safe it really is http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

02-14-2002, 12:26 PM
I'd suggest looking at all the filters that Brickhouse offers to add. Some are specific IRC zombies. there is also a listing of what ports are used and you can duplicate what Brickhouse does in your the router's firewall.

ComputerWorld (http://www.computerworld.com/storyba/0,4125,NAV47_STO68311,00.html) has this little tidbit today:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>IE flaw exploited for MSN Messenger worm 02/14/02 05:05 PM ET
Clicking on the Web site address in an infected message opens a Web page with malicious JavaScript code that sends instant messages advertising the Web page to all the MSN Messenger users on the victim's contacts list.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

[This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 14 February 2002).]

02-14-2002, 05:56 PM
I agree that there is no logical reason for entourage to slow down a computer, but i think it really does. Just try running for a few hours with it off, see what happens.