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Author Topic: Strong site re. Mac maintenance  (Read 2703 times)
perkiset
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« on: March 10, 2011, 11:34:28 AM »

It's not supposed to happen, but of course over time Macs start to slow down. Apple will tell you all day long that defrag is unnecessary, permissions are fine etc ... this site does a *really good* job of outlining common problems, the myths associated, proggies to sort yourself out and reasons why/why not. I was most impressed and found the data to be strong and accurate.

http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

The single largest piece of data I got from it was to download the iDefrag demo and look at drive fragmentation as opposed to disk fragmentation. My machine has been steadily slowing down (gradually and not unworkable, but noticeable) over the last couple years. I have about 18% free on my hard primary system hard drive which should be enough. iDefrag told me something really interesting: my free space was 99.8% fragmented. In other words, the machine was working it's ass off to swap my big 'ol memory pool into little chunks of hard drive. This is different than file defrag or optimization, which focuses on the load and seek time intra-file. iDefrag LOOKS LIKE it will do a nice job of adhering to the notion of the Hot Zone when optimizing and will move Metadata into the right spot on the drive, evicting stuff that doesn't belong there as well. I have no idea how long it's going to take to DF my 2T drive, so I won't be doing it till tonight.

Interestingly, it looks as though Mac's version of the HFS+ does a damn fine job of keeping files defragged. I'm only at about 1.03% total fragmented which, given the age of this system since reinstall is damn good.

Anyhoo, it's a rather long read but is well worth it. Particularly if you ever need to triage OSX behavior.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 11:37:48 AM by perkiset » Logged

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Kovacs
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 02:06:38 AM »

Any update on iDefrag?  Did it work as advertised?

Most of the other stuff he talks about can be done automagically using Onyx.
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 10:57:25 AM »

Worked really late last night and got started early, just was about to start it when it told me that my disk is too fragmented to defrag ( Shocked ) it without booting from another volume, unless I can free up some space. Gonna move some VMs off that drive and see if that'll do it. Reading some more places I've seen that this level of disk fragmentation can cause other weirdness - I seem to have a lot with Photoshop which, upon a few seconds of reflection, would normally want a lot of swap space. So I'm hoping this will help out.

In the mean time I've just finished a backup and am going to give it another try. More as I know it.
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 04:34:57 PM »

Update: it's been running about 5 hours now, the progress bar says I'm about 50% done but the volume map is only at about 33%... I attribute this to the profound amount of fragmentation on the rest of the volume. My volume was so bad that it reported I was 100% fragmentation, which would explain a lot of funky behavior and general slowdown. talk about bitrot.

At this point it is now chugging along nicely, much like the Windows defragger. I look forward to seeing if my performance really does increase, or if it's just that my processor has become tired Wink
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 12:54:55 PM »

Update:

Computer finished defragging in the middle of the night. First reboot took a little extra time, as it warned me it would because boot caches needed to be rebuilt. Subsequent came up much more quickly. The big dog, Photoshop was the real test - it did great. It is very snappy now and runs much more stably. Everything seems to be faster as I had hoped. Not mind bendingly faster, just running the way that it should.

So: The Apple story about files not getting that fragmented: essentially true, just like Windows now claims to be essentially non-fragmenting. But the volume itself vis-a-vis free space for swap can be terribly fragmented which does cause a significant slowdown and decreased overall performance. I doubt though, that there are many regular users that push machines as hard as I do, so I am uncertain whether this would work for everyone. If users regularly have lots and lots of free space on the drive, then there'd most likely be a large contiguous area that swap can occur and this would provide little benefit. My thinking would be to download the free version of iDefrag and run the analysis tool before purchasing. It's only $29 and did exactly what it said it would, but you might as well save the flow until you need it.

Next step: Gonna check out PinkHat's rig and see if the same problems exist. I'll also probably recheck my machine in 3 months or so to see how far I've fallen in terms of contiguous free space. Again, I keep my drive pretty full, but I've got almost 20% free ATM, so it should be a reasonable test.
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 11:57:53 PM »

Thanks for the updates!
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perkiset
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 06:33:23 PM »

More update:

After a few times of rebooting, restarting various apps, clearing the Safari cache etc my machine is behaving really well. Photoshop, unlike how it was a while ago (probably 8 bounces in the dock, then just sat there for a while as it started up) now starts in under one bounce and is instantly alive. It is REALLY clear that the lack of one big blob of free space affects it horribly. The entire system just seems snappier and I am most pleased.

Ja recommend.
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