When your computer first turns on it needs to load the system software (OS-X) and some settings from the hard drive. This is called ‘booting’. Boot time can slow down over time as you accumulate more software and hardware connected to your computer. Here are some tips to make your Mac boot faster.
1. Get an SSD Drive.
The latest generation of Hard Disks (appearing in Macbook airs) are called SSD drives. They use memory on a chip (like a thumb drive). They have no moving parts. They are much faster. An SSD drive doesn’t speed up everything that you do on your mac, but it certainly does speed up boot time. If you don’t have one it’s by far the best way to reduce your boot time and speed up the load time of applications. See this article for how to install one!
2. Quit apps when you Shut Down.
Lion and newer versions of OS-X automatically open all the applications and windows from when you last shut down your mac. If you had 10 applications open, this will make your boot time terribly slow as it will open all 10 applications again!
To improve this you can either (1) quit apps before you shut down, or (2) disable the automatic opening of apps by deselecting the ‘Reopen windows when logging back in‘ option in the shutdown menu:
Another way to achieve a similar result is to go to general preferences and select this option: ‘‘close windows when quitting application“.
OS-X will now launch the apps but it won’t open every window you had open.
Personally I like it to open all my apps and windows, so I keep both these features enabled but I make sure I close any unnecessary apps before I shut down.
3. Create some extra space on your Hard Drive.
Generally the more free space on your hard disk the faster your computer will run. This is because OS X is very clever and has all kinds of built in tricks to make your computer run faster. Some of these ‘tricks’ require a lot of free disk space. The more free space you have, the easier it is for OS X to tweak your disk performance.
I try as a general rule to have approx 25% of my disk free but it must be at least 10% or things will really slow down.
This article explains a bit more about disk usage and it explains how to free up some hard disk space if you are running low.
4. Clean up your Desktop.
I know they say a messy desktop is the sign of a creative mind, but your computer has to load the icon for every one of those files on your desktop as it boots up. Yes – it has to fetch all those icons, and if, like me, you tend to accumulate literally hundreds of icons on your desktop, this can slow down your boot time significantly. Get rid of them – move them somewhere else.
5. Get rid of any unnecessary startup items.
When your computer first turns on some applications are automatically loaded – drivers and little add-ons. Some of these may be unnecessary. Here’s how to get rid of them.
This is a list of all the applications that are set to open when you first boot OS-X. There may be some that you do not need anymore. Delete the ones you don’t need. (Don’t delete any if you are unsure of what they do. Do a google search to find out what they do first).
I had 12 and I paired it down to these 6 which I wanted to keep. Notice that these are all little e’helper’ apps that increase productivity or add features to OS X. But they actually slow things down as well, so it’s good to only have them enabled if you use them.
Launch Agents and Startup Items
These little helper apps and drivers can also be in another area…
Select the ‘Go to Folder…’ from the ‘Go’ dropdown menu and type in ‘/Library/LaunchAgents‘
Delete any from there that are obviously not needed.
But wait, there’s more… you can do the same for ‘/Macintosh HD/Library/StartupItems/
I was able to delete an old Driver from a wacom tablet I haven’t used for years, some google files I never authorised, some old Testra modem software and more!
6. Get more memory
If you don’t have enough memory in your computer it will certainly slow things down. This article will help you work out if you have enough memory.
7. Get rid of ‘Mac Keeper’ and Virus Checkers.
Any extra app will use system resources. I found that ‘Mac Keeper’ which claimed it would speed up my Mac was actually slowing things down at start-up so I removed it.
I don’t run any anti-virus software on my Mac at all.
Well that’s it for my list. There are some other tricks out there but these are the main ones. Doing some or all of these things should result in a noticeable speed up in boot time if things were running a bit slowly.