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The Secrets to Fix a Slow Macbook and How to Make it Go Faster

Updated on May 8, 2013

Here's the reason for this article: I used to manage the computer and technology section of a college bookstore and, like any good manager, worked the floor from time-to-time. Our primary product line was the Apple Mac and Macbook. In that short span of time, one of the most common questions I received from customers was something along the lines of:

"My Mac is so slow. How do I fix it?"

Amazingly, the answer to that problem was almost always the same thing. It was the simplest, easiest answer and it shocked me that more people did not know the solution. Basically, fixing a slow Apple Macbook is usually the same fix about 99% of the time. Most of the time, people are seeing their internet connection slowing down, websites not loading as fast; etc. The same thing happens to me all the time. I apply the same fix every time and it usually works.

  1. Run Disk Utility - This solution will probably solve the problem for 99% of everyone who reads this. Find "disk utility" on your Macbook (it comes standard) and run it. Click on "Repair Disk Permissions". You can click on "Verify Disk Permissions" if you want to see what's wrong before you fix it, but I find that step tedious and unnecessary. The permissions need to be repaired regardless. What are "disk permissions"? I have no idea and I'm not going to look them up because I'm too lazy. I think that they're the computer's way of verifying with the website that everything it's sending you is okay. When those permissions change or get corrupted or moved about on your hard drive, it slows your computer way down. Do you really want a technical explanation? Okay, I'll provide a link. Trust me though, this will probably work.
  2. Defragment your hard drive - There are various programs out there to do this. Norton Utilities is one such program. Basically, your hard drive is divided up into sectors and once your hard drive gets mostly filled up, you computer doesn't necessarily store the information you save on it in the same place. For example, a single large photograph might be saved in twenty different places in different small segments. The computer then records the locations of those segments and pieces them all together to show you a picture of your photograph. Computers are fast enough that they can gather all this data without you really noticing. However, if your hard drives gets really full or has just been used for a long time, you have files and pieces of files all over the place. Defragmenting your hard drive will put those pieces together so that it's easier and faster for your computer to gather the information.
  3. Increase your computer's RAM - Increasing the amount of RAM in your computer will usually make it run faster. If you have an older Macbook, newer programs could very well need more RAM and your current amount is slowing everything down. Most new Macbooks come with enough RAM to run just fine, but if you often have a lot of windows open at once and are running multiple programs at once, more RAM is a good idea. RAM is pretty cheap too.
  4. Replace your hard drive - Before you think about this, make sure you back it up first. In fact, before you do anything, you should back up your computer. Anyway, your hard drive may be old, slow, and have some bad sectors on it that are causing errors or just slowing it down. Might be time to get a newer, larger hard drive.
  5. Toss your computer out the window - Your computer will suddenly go from 0 to 9.8 meters per second. That's definitely an increase in speed. In addition to speeding up your computer, tossing it out the window might just make you feel better if the damn thing isn't working quite right and you're in the market for a new computer anyway.
  6. Buy a new computer - Every year the computer industry comes out with faster and better. If you're dissatisfied with the speed of your computer, odds are somebody has just made one that's faster than yours. If you can afford it, go buy that computer.


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    sarah362 3 years ago

    Nice article written. I agree with you adisonross as I uninstalled one of the stubborn application which is causing my iMac slow. Also, I could be able to remove 10 GB junk files in minutes which has solved all the performance issues. Thanks a lot.

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    adisonross 4 years ago

    Nice post! Like many Mac user, I had also suffered slow Mac, but regain its speed and proficiency with the help of Stellar speedup Mac. And I want you to know, that although Disk utility is great utility of Mac but some times it fails to mount your unmounted volume. I resolved this problem with Stellar volume repair utility, it brings out my unmounted volume and fix errors also.

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    whoisbid 6 years ago

    My Mac is real fast for some reason