Mavericks

a.k.a. MacOS X.9

I said in my article on upgrading MacOS that this was easy to do, it was, but the resultant performance rendered it unusable. This article discusses what I did to resolve this. Concluding that another 4Gb of RAM is all it needs.

Re-install in situ

As at the moment, the best writeup that I’ve found of how to resolve it is here, on Apple’s support forums, a correspondent called IOWA documents four steps on how to resolve it, although he doesn’t explain well why these steps help.

I have reset the NVRAM, reset the System Management Controller and then run a Safe Boot, it seems a bit better now but I need to check if an OS reinstall is required.

Yup, it needs the reinstall. Here’s IOWA’s reference at Apple’s Site “OS X Mavericks: Reinstall OS X” . I have BT Infinity so didn’t take as long as I expected, better but not brilliant. What causes this?

What’s next?

Activity Monitor points me at ‘kernel_tasks”, which points me at  etrecheck, which points me at the startup functions; I also find some MacKeeper detritus, which I delete, and Java which I update.

Dross & Dreck

Performance remains shite. I use Crucial and buy some memory, upgrade from 4Gb to 8Gb. So much better!

iMail

On the article My 1st Apple Mac, I identified a fault such that BT consumer customers could not use iMail s a mail composer. Since then I have changed my smtp server from BT to 1and1; I wanted a hosted single ‘sent’ folder and it is now immaterial who my connecting ISP is. I did not test if imail was working after this. I have upgraded from Leopard to Mavericks and tested imail as part of my performance remediation testing and it seems to be working as a reader, need to reconfigure the smtp server and retest.

Cleaning out the User Library

I have installed CCleaner, it’s a quick way of cleaning out various caches, but doesn’t solve the ~/Library problem. The first piece of advice is to get a visualiser, I have Disk Inventory X, but the Library folders are invisible in Finder, this needs to be changed. Most advice seems to be aimed at reducing what’s stored on the disk, perhaps the answer is to replace the disk with an SSD is this possible. It would benefit from more RAM.

Comment

One correspondent in the thread recommends a complete re-install using the instructions, here. Mactrast says,

Personally, I always make a habit of starting fresh whenever I install a major new version of OS X. It’s the best way to ensure you have the cleanest, smoothest experience on your Mac.

Great if the reason you have a laptop is to run the Operating Systems; oh wait, with Apple it is!

Filevault

The technology changed at Mountain Lion. I had forgotton my password on the one user that I had encrrypted and using the master to change it still wouldn’t permit the one user I had encrypted to login, so I blew it away. Filevault 2 works on the whole disk not just the home directory. I think I had better take some backups first, but again it shows the wisdom of the advice above in starting from scratch.

Here are three links,

Reading the Wikipedia page documents the improvement in the encryption technology but also suggest a significant performance cost for older CPUs. I think I may have a problem. I have an Intel Core Duo. This article at osxdaily also suggests that I should consider an SSD if going here. Perhaps I should consider Truecrypt instead?

Do I need to upgrade the RAM, get an SSD and buy another external drive? It all seems a bit expensive for web browsing?

User Account Avatars

Now if we want to use pictures other than those  distributed by Apple, we need to create .tif files, I used Image Magic, and used macports to install it; they need to be located in /Library/User\ Pictures. I created a ./Local to hold my pictures.

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5 thoughts on “Mavericks

  1. Hi David,

    First comment?

    1/ Performance is usually bad on systems with Anti-Virus or products like MacKeeper. Remove these.
    2/ Think about setting up a test user. Most performance related stuff can be traced to rubbish stored in a users ~/Library folder. Set up a new user, log in as that user and see if you still get bad performance. If performance is good, then it’s probably something in your ‘Library’ folder that causing problems.
    3/ Next, check what’s launching at startup at a system level. This is stored in /Library/LaunchDaemons and /Library/Launchagents. These are different to the ones in your personal library.

    What a lot of people do is reinstall Mac OS X, keeping the settings they had previously. As these were causing the problem, you still get the performance problems.

  2. @Andy – It seems the advice is to uninstall what you don’t need. I may need to look at this. A corollary may be to review what non-distro tools I am using, such as Thunderbird and see if I can use the Mac versions.

    How do you tell what is needed and not needed in ~/Library.

    I think I have reviewed the startup overhead. See the What’s next piece.

    Maybe I need to install some more memory; maybe I need to open less tabs in Firefox, I have 98 open and it’s using 1.37 GB of RAM

    Maybe I need to dig up Alec Muffet’s notes on rebuilding the filesystem, it reoptimises the disk.

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