What is in your arsenal for doing a little spring cleaning/speeding up a mac?


So, besides repairing the disk permissions, what do you guys do/use to clean up a Mac that is in need of some Spring cleaning so that it can go faster and run better?

If you use software programs, free or not, please list them and their respective links along with what you use them for.


With respect to which version of OS X I am referring to, I am referring to all 4 of them.
I reboot every week or so. Yup. That's about it.

Actually, there is one thing. I try to defragment my two partitions now and then, by dumping their data onto my external FW drive, reinitializing them, and then dumping their data back (using either the Finder, or, for my boot partition, Carbon Copy Cloner). I actually don't do this on my boot partition very often (it's a bit of a pain, since it's larger than my FW drive, or at least was until I recently repartitioned it), but I do it every month or two on my other partition, which I use to store a lot of video files. The myth that fragmentation is not an issue on OS X is a MYTH. In fact, there's still some fragmentation immediately after completeing this backup-and-restore operation, most notably in my Spotlight databases. :eek: Tsk tsk tsk.
Cache out X and Yasu

are my favorites I tend to use cache out along with disk utility once a week and Yasu on a montly basis, both free and running fine with panther.
Cat said:
For "spring cleaning" I use OmniDiskSweeper.
While I'm usually a supporter of all things Omni in this case, well, I think there is an alternative.

OmniDiskSweeper is based on what used to be a free application that came with OPENSTEP called DarkForrest. As DarkForrest was free, it seems a little odd that the Omni Group version isn't.

So I use WhatSize as it seems to be along the same lines as both OmniDiskSweeper and DarkForrest... and it is free.
Perhaps I should ahve specified that I use the free version of DiskSweeper, which has the only drawback AFAIK that the big, red "delete" button does not work. I use it to identify the biggest files/folders and then take appropriate action, which is not necessarily always to delete the files. Of course, besides fancy GUI tools, there always is the trusty CLI. Most programs just replicate graphically what can be just as easily accomplished "by hand" as it were:

du | sort -nr | head

Moreover, there a re specialised tools to get rid of superfluous language files and input methods, like Monolingual and Delocalizer, which can safe quite a lot of space. Also, you could remove unnecessary printer drivers.
I find OmniDiskSweeper _that_ good that I've got a license. And besides what comes with OS X, I don't use any "spring cleaning" tools. I create backups and keep them up to date, and when something about my installation becomes bad (which can happen, of course), I simply boot from the Tiger DVD, erase my harddrive, clean install, update to the newest version of Tiger (I've got the latest combo updater and the security updates on a FW drive) and then copy all the needed stuff from the backups to their right places. Some apps might need to be reinstalled to work correctly, but most of the things "just work". This way, I'm back up running fine in far less time than when I'm trying to track down the actual problem. Oh, and yeah: I avoid everything "haxies"-like.
I really don't do much, proactively, to help my Mac along -- UNIX does it all for me. It'll clear the caches when it's good and ready, and it'll rotate the logs and rebuilt the locate database when it needs to. I don't see the point of doing these tasks sooner or more frequently by forcing the system to do them via some 3rd-party application, nor do I think it helps to "clean up" a system -- it didn't get "dirty" by itself, so it's time to look at the operator's computing habits.

I'll tell ya what I don't do to my system, which in turn makes it never bog down or crash:

1) Don't use haxies. Period. No appearance mods, label mods, window mods, Finder mods, or mods period.

2) Don't use Norton. Or Symantec. Ever again. Even if you install it and un-install it later, there are probably Norton/Symantec files, kernel extensions, demons, bad karma and general ill-will still associated with your system. Get rid of all of it.

3) Don't use anti-virus protection. None of them are good. They're all memory hogs and not one is good enough for daily use. If the Windows users are the ones spawning the viruses and trojans, then the responsibility to protect themselves lies with them -- not me. I don't feel the obligation or the need to protect my "PC buddies" anymore.

4) Don't over-do it. Don't defrag every damn week. Don't repair permissions four times a day. Don't repair your hard drive unless there's really something wrong with it. You're just moving bits around senselessly -- Mac OS X will repair itself most of the time, defrag files that really need defragging, and alert you to any permission errors.

5) Always fresh-install Mac OS X. Don't upgrade previous installations.

6) If you're updating through Software Update (or ANY update, for that matter -- system updates, application updates, etc.), then that better be the ONLY thing you're doing. Software Update makes it easy to update in the background, but will mindlessly proceed with a critical Safari update even while you're using Safari. Quit everything. Log out and back in with login items turned off (hold Shift at login). Update. Repair perms. Continue.

7) All Apple-branded applications go into the /Applications folder. All 3rd-party applications go into the /Applications folder. All utility apps go into the /Applications folder. Everything you install goes into the /Applications folder.

8) Don't organize your file system. There is approximately 1% of the file system that is "mine" -- it's called my home folder. Leave the rest alone. Organize aliases of the applications in the /Applications folder in another folder far, far away from the /Applications folder -- above all means, resist any temptation to organize/move/file/adjust/put-in-a-subfolder/move-to-a-different-partition anything in the /Applications folder.

8.5) Don't ever rename your home folder. Don't ever try and rename your user account. Pick a good one to start with and stick with it. I recommend using your first and last name as a username, and your first initial and last name as a shortname. You'll never get tired of it so you'll never feel the urge to change it.

9) Don't go poking around the system. Don't troubleshoot by doing -- troubleshoot by asking if you're not sure. One wrong deleted file can mean an entire system having to be reinstalled. Don't poke around in folders out of curiosity.

10) Back up. Back up your backup (who's sig is that in?). You WILL need a backup at some point in the future and you're going to kick yourself because you didn't do it. See also #3. I suppose this isn't exactly a "don't do," but oh well, it's number 10 so it doesn't count.

These and other rules make my system rock-solid. I installed Panther the day it came out, and kept my installation until my hard drive died. I installed again, and kept it until Tiger. I installed Tiger, and I'm betting I won't need a reinstall until Elephant or Rhinocerous comes out.

Sorry that got so long-winded -- there's more but it's turning into a lecture, not a thread post. I just believe that being too damn proactive is kind of "pampering" your system, and we all know that pampering babies turns them into sissies. You don't want your system to be a sissy, do ya? ;)
a very good post. it was mentioned earlier that even after disk cleanups and everything, macos was still fragmented. this isn't however, necessecarily a bad thing.

macOS knows about this, it also knows where everything is; the reason macOS doesn't have a defragger, is becuase they actually do a worse job than just leaving it.

it's like your dad cleaning up your office for you. yes, it is tidy, but you still can't bloody find anything. if it needs tidying, you will do it. this is macOS. you are your dad (now, there's a paradox), your hard disk is your office.