My Mac is running so slowly,
and I don’t know why.
Seeing beach balls? Don’t get your eyes checked. Activity
Monitor (Applications/Utilities) shows all the currently
running applications and processes, updating in real time.
Click the %CPU column to see how much of your Mac’s
processor capacity is being chomped up by each
process at any given moment.
The processes with app icons next to them should
be recognizable as applications. If your CPU hog turns
out to be iPhoto importing pics or i Tunes syncing your
iPhone, just wait until it’s done. But if it’s an app you’re
not even using, go ahead and quit it, either from the
Dock or by selecting it in Activity Monitor and clicking
Quit Process. A dialog will offer to Quit or Force Quit;
quitting is better unless the app is unresponsive.
Processes with no little icons and less-recognizable
names are background processes, and you shouldn’t
go quitting them willy-nilly—never quit anything until
you know what it is. Instead, Google its name to figure
out what it does. For example, if your external Time
Machine drive is being indexed by Spotlight with the
process mds, mds will use a ton of your CPU
while Time Machine is working. Don’t quit
the mds process; instead, exclude that drive
from Spotlight indexing (System Preferences >
Spotlight > Privacy).
If you notice that i Tunes is using the lion’s
share of your CPU because you’re rocking out
with the Visualizer on, turn off the Visualizer
(Command-T). If your browser has a million tabs open and
you’re playing Flash videos, either close most of the tabs or
cut way back on CPU-hogging Flash usage with a blocker like
Click ToFlash on Safari or FlashBlock for Firefox. If you’re a
You Tube junkie, visit youtube.com/html5 to join the HTML5
trial and view available videos that way.
Firefox hogs a lot of CPU power playing Flash videos, and that
Visualizer in i Tunes does too.
Activity Monitor shows that out of our Mac’s 4GB of RAM, a little over half is
active. So we’re okay.
I upgraded to Lion, and
my Finder sidebar lost
track of all its links.
Lions are prissy cats. Ever since we
upgraded to 10. 7, several strange
glitches have been haunting various
Mac|Life staffers. One of the most
problematic is a general funkiness
with the Finder, specifically when
trying to click on aliases in the
sidebar. If, when you click on the
sidebar, nothing is selected, go to
Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and
check and uncheck a box. For some
reason, this will restore sidebar
links. While you’re in there, don’t
forget to uncheck any boxes you
might not want littering up your
Clicking and unclicking any of the sidebar items will “reboot” your sidebar and fix the
weird unclickable-item problem.