How to Speed Up and Increase the Stability of Your Mac

This in depth guide will walk you through all the steps of using OnyX, a free multifunction App for OS X that allows you to troubleshoot common problems and speed up your Mac.

  1. First things first, lets install OnyX. Head over to the OnyX download page and download the version for your OS. For example, if you’re using OS X 10.7, make sure to download the version for 10.7 (Lion). If you’re using OS X 10.8, make sure to download the version for 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Once the file has successfully downloaded, open it. Drag to your Applications folder to install it.
  2. Close every possible open App on your Mac. In fact, it would be a good idea to reboot your Mac now, so that OnyX is working with as few “running in the background” processes as possible.
  3. Launch OnyX from your Applications folder.
  4. Right away, OnyX will want to run a check on the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive. Click Continue to let it.

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  6. The process doesn’t take very long.

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  8. Next, OnyX will want to verify your Startup disk. Again, click Continue.

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  10. This process can take a bit longer, though no longer than a couple of minutes.

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  12. Click OK when it’s done.
  13. Now, enter your password in the spaces provided and click OK.
  14. The main OnyX interface will appear. Select the Automation tab.

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  16. If/when the Help file opens on its own, click the red button to close it.
  17. The Automation section is kind of the ‘one stop shop’ for a lot of the features that OnyX brings to the table. Generally, leaving the defaults selected and clicking the Execute button will be enough to not only speed up your Mac, but improve its stability (fewer crashes). This tutorial will go into more depth and cover each section of OnyX, but for now, click the Execute button.

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  19. Click the Continue button to close any open Applications.
  20. Now OnyX will run a series of scripts and programs. This can take a while. Don’t be surprised if your Mac seems to ‘stall’ at times – this is completely normal.

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  22. Once OnyX has completed its tasks, click the OK button.
  23. It’s very important that you restart your Mac now. Click the Restart button.
  24. Try using your Mac for a while and see if you can notice a speed improvement. If you were suffering from strange ‘crashes’ – see if they still happen. Note: some programs will take longer to open the first time after you’ve run OnyX. This is due to OnyX cleaning the Font Cache. Each subsequent time you open the program, it will open at its ‘normal’ speed (much more quickly).
  25. If that didn’t seem to do the trick, or you just want to see all of the features that OnyX offers, launch OnyX again from your Applications folder. It will want to run a S.M.A.R.T. status check again – this time you can click Cancel.
  26. However, you will want to run the Startup Volume verification test again, so click Continue.

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  28. Again, give it a minute or two to run.

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  30. Click OK
  31. Enter your password when prompted.
  32. This time we’ll start from the beginning. Select the Verify tab. Select the S.M.A.R.T. Status sub-menu, and make sure the Last check: is a relatively recent date. If you’ve followed the steps in this tutorial so far, it will be.

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  34. Now select the Maintenance tab from the top. Select the Permissions sub-menu. If you’re still experiencing problems with your Mac, place a check in the box labeled Reset home directory permissions and ACLs, then click the Execute button.

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  36. Repairing permissions can take a while, so give it some time.

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  38. Once the permissions have been checked and repaired, a log file of the changes made will appear in the main window.

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  40. If you’re prompted to restart your Mac, do so. Relaunch OnyX and repeat the “cancel S.M.A.R.T. verification but run the startup volume verification process” procedure, again. Return to the Maintenance tab.
  41. Select the Scripts sub-menu. Make sure that the scripts listed have all been run relatively recently. They should have been. If not, click the Execute button. Again, you might have to restart your Mac once the process has completed.

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  43. Select the Rebuild sub-menu from the Maintenance section. If you’ve been having trouble with Spotlight, place a check in the box next to Spotlight index and click the Execute button. This will rebuild your Spotlight index – and can take quite some time. If the contents of your folders hasn’t been displaying properly, place a check in the box next to Display of folders’ contents and click the Execute button. Both/either of these processes will take quite some time to complete, so be prepared to wait a while. Once they’ve completed, you will need to restart your Mac (and will be prompted to do so).

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  45. Now select the Cleaning tab. From the System sub-menu, you can clean a number of the System Caches. Clearing these can help troubleshoot a system prone to crashes – click the Execute button to start the process. As usual, you’ll have to reboot once it’s done.

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  47. Select the Cleaning tab again, and this time the User sub-menu. From here you can delete a number of the user caches. Yes, you’ll need to reboot once it’s done.

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  49. One of the more common reasons for system slow-downs is that the Font caches need to be cleared. Select the Fonts sub-menu and place a check next to each of the listed items. It’s important to mention again – many Applications will take longer than usual to open up again the first time after you’ve cleared Font caches. Each subsequent time you open that program, it will open at it’s normal speed. Click the Execute button.

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  51. OnyX will close any open programs.
  52. Then it will clean your user caches. Click OK once the process has completed.
  53. Reboot.
  54. Select the Logs sub-menu from the Cleaning section. From here you can clear your System Log files. Generally, this won’t help much with stability issues or speeding up your Mac – but it can recover some disk space (not much). If you want to delete them anyway, click the Execute button.

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  56. Select the Misc. tab. To understand exactly what you can delete from this section, click the Help button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

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  58. Review each item before you decide if you want to delete it.

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  60. Select the Trash tab. As expected, from here you can empty your Trash. Moving on.

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  62. Select the Parameters tab. From here you can change various features of OS X that aren’t usually readily accessible, but by and large not many of these changes will speed up your Mac or help resolve any troubleshooting related issues. Review each feature just in case there’s something you would like to change about OS X. Use the Help menu (click the Help button in the lower left corner of the screen) for a detailed explanation of what each feature does.

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  64. That’s it! OnyX isn’t a tool you’ll need to use every day, or even every week. If you notice your Mac is starting to slow down, or you’re experiencing more errors/crashes than usual – that’s when to run through it again.

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