I get asked all the time what are the best thing to do to keep your Apple Mac Computer happy on OSX 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion or another way to say it is what sort of Essential Mac Maintenance should I be doing to keep my Mac running smoothly. Rather than answering this question again and again I thought I would write a post on it and include the link on every new Mac Setup that I do in the future.
Doing regular updates on the core operating system is my number 1 Essential Mac Maintenance tip. As of Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, the software update system is now built into the Apple App Store, you can update your Mac anytime by just selecting “Software Update” from the apple menu, top left of your screen. if updates are available they will show up in a list and allow you to download them all or individually. i always backup my computer before doing a system update, just in case. The OS X system always runs best if its up to date and is important for optimal performance, stability, and security.
Number 2 Essential Mac Maintenance tips would be to make sure you are running the most current versions of your apps, most app updates include new features and bug fixes, and keeping your apps up to date is just as important as your OS X system software. If most of your apps come from the App Store, this is so easy to do there’s virtually no reason not to do it. Just open up the Mac App Store, visit the Updates tab, and install them all.
This is not just for ascetic purposes as I say to just about every new mac user, Number 3 Essential Mac Maintenance tips is cleaning up your desktop and organising your files. A computers file system is very similar to an old school filling cabinet, so rather than piling all the files on top of the filing cabinet you need to actually file them so you can find them. So make some folders and file away your work, photos, documents and anything else you have created. This will make finding your items later allot easier and also make backing up your data a more streamlined process.
my other tips would be to spend some time freeing up disk space by deleting stuff you no longer need. Look at your Downloads folder and delete anything that isn’t necessary, delete large files and archives that are no longer needed.
If you have apps installed that you don’t use, all they’re doing is taking up space. Number 4 Essential Mac Maintenance tips is take a few moments to check out your Launchpad and Applications folder, and uninstall what you don’t use anymore. Apps from the Mac App Store can be uninstalled simply by deleting them from Launchpad, and most other apps can be uninstalled just by dragging them into the trash from the Applications folder, make sure you empty the trash folder also once you are done.
Number 5 Essential Mac Maintenance tips is Backup your data, I cannot say this enough, if you dont backup your data and your computer gets stolen, burns in a house fire, falls of the bed while watching a movie, is treated to a full glass of beer or wine or just stops working due to a hard drive failure or a power surge, you work is gone, I repeat gone. If the worst case scenario has happened and your computer is dead, there is one last option which might work, there are several recovery service that help the police recover data off hard drives that might be able to help, expect to be charged at least 1000-2000 dollars for the service if they can access your drive.
With first hand experience of loosing everything, my hard drive failed in a work computer and it contained several client websites, I had to pay $1500 to have the data recovered by a company in Melbourne that specialises in data recovery. Now I am Mr careful and do regular backups once a week. You dont have to be as regular as this but if you have allot of irreplaceable data on you computer it makes sense to back it up regularly.
So with that in mind I suggest having 2 backups at least, for the regular backup I suggest an external hard drive or large thumb drive or both and also an external backup system like a cloud or online storage system. There are so many free online storage networks available now, like Apple iCloud, Amazons Cloud Drive or Dropbox there is no excuse and you will only have yourself to blame if thing go sideways and you lose everything. There is also a full write up on ZDNet about cloud storage for anyone with little or no experience with cloud systems. I personally use Dropbox and iCloud as they are both free and work very easily. Dropbox is my favorite for sharing files with clients, friends and colleagues.
One of the first places to go if you are experiencing “weird behavior” is to Disk Utility. So Number 6 Essential Mac Maintenance tips is actually what to do if things stop working. Many of the issues that fall under this category are solved by repairing the disk permissions. To do this, open Disk Utility and select your hard drive. On the first-aid tab click “Repair Disk Permissions.” When you repair the permissions, Disk Utility has a look at all of your applications and system files and compares what permissions they have with what they should be and fixes them accordingly. To find Disk Utility open your applications folder and find the folder called “Utilities” open that folder and inside you will find Disk Utility, you can drag this icon to the dock so its easy to find next time.
Or you could try OnyX an alternative to Disk Utility, OnyX is a multifunction utility for Mac OS X which allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its Mac OSX operating system, to run misc. tasks of system maintenance, OnyX also allows you to configure some hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, Mail, iTunes, login window, Spotlight, and many of Apple’s applications, OnyX can also delete caches and remove a certain number of files and folders that may become a problem. Titanium Software the maker of OnyX also make a few other apps that are useful for Essential Mac Maintenance.
If you have any suggestions or recommendations for Essential Mac Maintenance please leave a comment below and let us know your tips. If you like this post please comment, like, tweet, Facebook it and spread the word.