Permissions Repair Frees Up Memory Like "purge" Terminal Command?!

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
Activity Monitor stats:

19 MB free memory (only a sliver of green)

page ins: 68 GB

page outs: 15 GB

swap used: 2 GB

So because of those atrocious numbers on my old Macbook Air (OS 10.6), I've been reading all these articles about how to free up memory using the Terminal "purge" command...but I also read that it's absolutely NOT a good idea to do this...so I've been experimenting and did a permissions repair via Disk Utility and the free memory went from 19 MB to 369 MB, so it looks like they both do the same thing (free up memory). Also a reboot works too.

However, as I write this post I notice the free memory (green pie chart) is slowly dwindling again (327 MB). *sigh* I don't know what else to do or what the problem is.......

Any ideas?
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Why do you think that YOU have to free up memory? Let the system do that. OS X is much better at that than anything you can do manually.
Do you actually have a problem? Such as your system dramatically slowing down during use?
The various methods to clean or purge the memory really don't do much more than give you better numbers to look at, then the numbers slowly return as you use your Mac.
As many folks here say "free memory is wasted memory" :D

"Repair Permissions" may have an indirect affect on memory in use, but that would just be coincidental, I think.
Repair Permissions seldom actually fixes anything useful. That's part of the reason that Apple no longer provides that function in Disk Utility in El Capitan.
Don't get me wrong, I do run Repair permissions occasionally, but I ALWAYS reboot after running Repair Permissions.
A restart will have far more affect than running one of the utilities, particularly if you don't reboot after running that kind of task.

I like the idea of occasionally (a couple of times a year, not more often than that) booting to your OS X installer, then reinstalling OS X. That can do a "tuneup" of your system, by deleting caches, and making sure that all your system files are installed properly.
And, then just rely on your system taking care of the memory that the system uses. It's really pretty good at that. If you run into high swap use (such as your 2GB), then take that moment to stop where you are, and restart your Mac. That will have, by far, your best result. I also like to clear user caches once a month or so. That is simply trashing your user Caches folder, then restarting. The Caches folder will be re-created when your system needs it. Oh, you can empty the trash after you restart. You can't empty it completely until you do restart.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
Hi again, Delta! As always, I love your replies - very helpful and enjoyable to read. Yes, it is MY responsibility to free up that memory! lol Just kidding. Seriously ok, here is my reply…

Do I have a problem such as my system slowing down during use?

When I was running Chrome and Firefox…YES. I have since switched to Opera and it's much MUCH faster and smoother and I get NO lags or beach balls at all anymore.

However, when I'm running large programs such as Second Life, it's a nightmare…the graphics take forever to load and usually they never completely load so I can't even use it properly and end up just quitting the program. But I guess that's to be expected considering how old my computer is (2011 model) and the Activity Monitor stats that I posted…is it not? I thought I would be able to run Second Life on my machine, but it's proving otherwise. According to the Activity Monitor stats, I need more RAM but that's not possible since it's a SSD with only 2 RAM slots and both are already taken. Hence, my desperate desire to find a solution to free up memory.

EDIT: Ok now I'm getting worried...IS there something majorly wrong with my computer or is it just old and wearing down? I just cleared caches and rebooted and that made a HUGE difference in free memory - had a giant piece of green showing in the pie in Activity Monitor. BUT...then I fired up my browser again - and granted, I do have about 30 tabs open - and now the free memory is only a mere sliver again and down to 7 MB. Should I be worried or is this normal for an old Mac? I am NOT experiencing any beach balls or freezes and computer seems to be running smooth and fast (except for the above mentioned large graphic program) but the Activity Monitor stats and free memory, page outs and swaps are REALLY bothering me.:(
 
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DeltaMac

Tech
Yes,
You don't have any memory slots at all in a MacBook Air. The RAM is soldered in permanently, and not possible to upgrade. That is the same on any MacBook Air. The only possibility that you might have with a 2011 MacBook Air, would be to upgrade to a newer, faster SSD. But, you would still have the limitation of (not a lot) of RAM.
But, updating to a higher performance SSD could help you out, too. Just something to think about.
You can check out some better/newer SSDs here, as an example.

Plus the graphics chip may not a good choice for a game like Second Life.
Consider moving on to hardware that better matches up with what you want to do.
I think you are getting to the point where you are just asking too much from a 5-year-old system, that would already be a border-line choice for medium-level gaming even when it was new (just my opinion...)
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
By "upgrading to a newer, faster SSD" you mean buy a new computer, correct? Unfortunately, that is out of the question for me right now but I hope to do that in the near future. That said, is the Activity Monitor and info I gave "normal" for an old computer such as mine?
 

SGilbert

Registered
SSD is a solid state drive. All new Macs come with them now. Smaller, lighter, and far FASTER. Prices are becoming quite reasonable.
DeltaMac gave you a link above--end of 1st paragraph.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
No, the SSD is inside your MBAir, and is certainly replaceable. That does not mean "buy a new computer"
Did you look at the link that I posted?
Here it is again - http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Air-Retina/Apple-MacBook-Air-2011-Drive-Internal-Flash
The replacement SSDs are still somewhat higher than other types of storage, but those prices have dropped significantly.

...is the Activity Monitor and info I gave "normal" for an old computer such as mine?
Yes, given that you have no chance to upgrade to more RAM in a MacBookAir.
More important is to work with your MBAir in a way to lessen those affects.
One, is to use "friendlier" software. You discovered a decent solution when you started using Opera, and stopped using some of the other memory hogs, such as Chrome.
Faster storage: Upgrading to a newer, potentially better performing SSD may help you as it performs well enough to make your memory limitations less noticeable. Keep in mind that you are ALREADY using an SSD, so the difference would not be as profound as some who upgrade from a spinning hard drive to an SSD. But, you should have SOME improvement if you decide to do replace your existing SSD.
 

Amie

Mac Convert for Life
Sorry! I didn't see the clickable link at first in the "here." Well, I guess that's out of the question too because I don't want to send my laptop out to have the SSD replaced, and I am certainly not about to attempt something like that on my own - that would be disastrous. lol Thank you both for the help. :)
 

DeltaMac

Tech
You sell yourself short! (Just thought I'd mention it!)
Easy steps here! https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Air+11-Inch+Mid+2011+Solid-State+Drive+Replacement/6317
10 screws to remove the bottom cover
Disconnect the battery.
Remove one screw that holds the SSD in place. Remove SSD from slot.
Insert new SSD, reattach screw.
Reconnect battery.
Reinstall 10 screws in bottom cover
2 minutes, and you're done.
(Well, then you have to install the system, and transfer all your files to the new SSD, but that is just software work) :D
Something to consider...
 
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