Mac Tune-up: D.I.Y.
A little more than a year ago I typed up a DIY for PC Users on how to tune-up your PC. It still applies today, even on Windows Vista and Windows 7! But what about the Mac.
I was recently contacted about a Mac running slow. Made me think that maybe I should do a quick DIY Tune-up guide for the Mac. If you have an hour, this is all super easy stuff that will make your Mac run better. Ready? Let’s do this!
- Empty the trash
- Go into your Applications Folder and remove any apps that you are no longer using by dragging it into the trash. If you aren’t sure about an app, leave it alone! If you want to make sure the app is completely uninstalled check this out.
- Empty the trash again
- Open System Preferences –> Accounts. Click on Login Items button and remove everything there except the iTunes helper service. No, you don’t need any of that.
- If you are using Safari, start it up, click Safari in the menu bar and choose Empty Cache and click Empty
- Quit Safari and start it again
That should have you running pretty good. Finally, one more bit of maintenance that you should do.
- Go to Applications –> Utilities –>Disk Utility
- Select your main hard drive. At the bottom click the Verify button. This will take a few minutes
- If you get errors, click the Repair button
- Restart one more time
Now would also be a great time to check the status of your backup to make sure everything is running as it should. You are backing up, right? With Time Machine or Super Duper to an external drive or Carbonite to the internet? Say both and you get a gold star for the day!
Questions? You know what to do!
Windows Backup Tips
I recently became a fan of Carbonite for backing things up. Sure, I have an external hard drive attached to my mac, but I wanted more. And since I’m a believer in the 3-2-1 backup system, Carbonite was a perfect fit. But, it is not without it’s faults.
First, the 3-2-1 backup, explained.
- 3 copies of any and all important files (a primary plus 2 backups)
- Stored on 2 different types of media (hard drive/dvd/internet)
- 1 copy kept off-site
That means that with an external hard drive and a Carbonite account, you can fullfil all of those requirements easily and, more importantly, automatically. Win win. Bonus is the Carbonite restore process works as you would expect. Perfectly.
When I say perfectly, I mean it. It backs up everything, including any files that you might have on your machine that are infected with a virus or malware! As an added bonus, if you restore those files, you will also restore any virus that you had on your machine previously. Neat!
Here is a neat trick for your Windows users that will help almost elimate this problem. When you are setting up your backups, whether you are using an app, Windows backup or any online service, don’t use the default settings. When you do, many times you will be backing up application data and internet temporary files. In the case of a complete system restore, these are files that you don’t want anyway, since your applications won’t be the same and there is no reason at all to save temporary files of any kind. That’s why they are called temporary!
So, when setting up your backup, take a few minutes to actually specify the files you want. Don’t accept the default. For most users, all you need are the following folders.
- My Documents
Windows Vista/Windows 7
- Your User folder
Selecting just the important documents and files to backup will make your backup more efficient and faster. If you use programs like Quickbooks or any other proprietary software, it’s a good idea to also save the folder for that app located in c:\program files, just in case. And don’t forget those company files either!
Relocation is almost complete. While I won’t be doing any more onsite computer repair, I will still be taking your questions and answering them the best I can. You can do that at any time on my Facebook page or by using the contact form.
The Sunday Post #94
Recently I’m reminded that many of you have digital cameras. I also know from previous experience that, once you have taken the photos, you have no idea what to do with them.
Handle Your Photos
Just like our good friend John says above, your camera is not the best place to store your photos. I mean, why look at those old pictures on that tiny screen of your camera when you can upload them to your computer and view them on the screen or easily get them printed? Let’s jump right in!
This is going to be geared toward you Windows users among us. But many of things we are going to discuss, like getting prints made, will work for anyone.
The first thing you need to do is find a way to suck your photos off of your camera to your computer, keep them organized and be able to do some light processing on them (cropping, red eye removal, color adjustments). If you have anything installed on your PC now that contains the words Sony, Adobe, Kodak or Roxio along with the word(s) photo, picture or image, go into the control panel and uninstall them. While some people may like them, I find they are too complicated, move your photos to odd places on your hard drive and usually not terribly stable.
Done? Good! Now, go over to google.com/picasa and click the download button. Once downloaded, click run and let it install. VERY IMPORTANT. You will see 2 screens once Picasa is installed. One of them is to let it handle all of your images. Leave that one alone. The other will be asking you where you want Picasa to look for images. Unless you want to see every image on your computer (including those from your internet cache), I highly recommend selecting the Desktop and Documents option. Once that is done, Picasa will start building a database that contains all of the photos on your desktop and in your photo folder.
As soon as the database build is complete, plug your camera into your computer either by the supplied USB cable or by inserting the memory card into a slot on the front/side. Picasa should open automatically and ask to import those photos to your computer. Go ahead. Heck, you can even let it delete the photos when you are done. No, really, it’s ok.
Now that your photos are organized and easily accessible in Picasa, spend more than a few minutes poking around to see what it can do. Don’t worry about making changes to anything because Picasa, much like iPhoto on the Mac, does non-destructive edits. That means no matter what you do to a photo, you can always revert back to the original.
How about some prints to show those photos off to friends and family? This one is equally easy and there are more than a few ways to do it.
You can burn the photos you want prints of to a CD and take them to your local CostCo and they will happily print them for you. Good quality, fast turn around and not too expensive. You can also go to Walgreens.com, upload the photos you want printed and pick them up at your local Walgreens Drug Store. Again, good quality, fast turn around and not to expensive. Not to mention super duper easy!
The only thing left is backing those photos up! I’m gonna hammer on you about this until the end of time, you know that, right? I don’t care if you email yourself the most important documents and photos, get an external drive or sign-up for an account at Carbonite, just make it happen, ok?
Comments are open if you have any questions! Myself and the rest of the donburnside.com readers would love to help!
Happy 4th of July! Be safe and sane out there. If you can’t manage that, at least blow something up with enough explosives to leave a good sized divot in the backyard.
w(t)f video hour #40
The job interview, DMV, backing up and a few other things.
Be sure to check this out at it’s new (old) home, www.windthefrog.net. Yes, it lives!
The Sunday Post #67
Some random thoughts we like to call…
w(t)f video hour #33
Star wars, backing up, that cool thing from Starbucks and whether or not I should go into business for myself, all while wearing the funny hat.