Outstanding reasons are in bold
Technichal Reasons to Hate Macs
One mouse button, less functions
Some Macs have monitors built in to the machine, bad if you need to replace or upgrade
Hardly any software available for Macs compared to software available to PCs
Hardly any hardware available for Macs compared to hardware available to PCs
Existing hardware/software for Mac is usually very costly
Macs themselves are very overpriced
Macs are at a huge disadvantage for business uses
Only one choice of operating system
Almost all drive additions are external
No such thing as an "internal modem" with a Mac
Most software you will probably buy for a Mac is from a mail order catalog(pay shipping,
The subject of games on a Mac is a frontier larger than America in 1492
Market share of Macs is extremely low, and declining (That means Mac users are an
Fewer ports behind a Mac, can't add most ports via expansion cards
Far less Mac developers compared to the amount of PC developers(Probably more Java
developers than Mac)
Few ISPs provide access for Macs
The "IBM-Compatible" Macs were the most sorry excuse for a clone
No such thing as a visible file extension for a Mac
Automatic eject floppy drive works very illogically, manual button much simpler
Many public schools are shifting from Macs to PCs, less market share, but smarter kids
Macs take forever to boot up
PowerBooks catching fire
Can't have wallpaper backgrounds
Macs have slower CD-ROM drives(Even high end Macs come with 4x, and PC users
can enjoy 12x and soon DVD)
Macs only use SCSI-2, no UltraSCSI, IDE, ect.
Macs lack preemptive multitasking (has cooperative multitasking like win) (OS X
– carbon applications are cooperative; cocoa apps are preemptive)
The Mac OS is 12 years old
Apple is in terrible financial condition
Apple related companies are also floundering
Philosophical Reasons to Hate Macs
Mac users are easily offended (No doubt about this one)
Little babies like Macs (corny kid software abundant)
Most rich snobs use Macs
Any computer that smiles at you can't be good
If you make a computer that morons can use, only morons will want to use it
The Apple Macintosh logo is a rainbow-striped fruit, suggesting....
Squishy Bearz hate Macs
Macs have a reputation as the "Family Computer" (Blegh)
Dave Thomas (Satan) uses a Mac to record all of his junior bacon cheeseburgers sold (15
Your friends (if any) will mock you for owning a Mac
(OS 10.2 = jaguar)
Pros OS X
SMB file sharing
Cons OS X
Java script problem
G5 software control of fans
128 MB RAM not enough to run OS X and several apps simultaneously
G4 lack of DDR
Bad customer support
NO_VALUE on 25-Oct-2002 09:22:00 PM
I have been through two of these machines in a time span of about three weeks. The first
was the dual 1ghz. Approximately 5 minutes after the first boot up it expereinces a black
screen kernel panic of doom. Various kernel panics persist constantly for a week, during
which time I have to abandon all work and preform multiple re-installs, etc... as directed
by apple tech support. I return the machine to my retailer and pruchase the dual 867, all
of the previous issues repeated, machine returned. My old powerbook G3 runs 10.2 from
the dual G4 box without a single similliar fault.
email@example.com on 12-Aug-2002 06:02:00 AM
•Hot Issue: 88352 G4 QS (2002) - NVRAM must be reset to allow unit to boot. •Hot Issue:
Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver 2002) - The computer starts up to a flashing question mark
•Hot Issue: Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver 2002) - Microprocessor Issue Detected During
Startup •Hot Issue: Keyboard failures on G4 QuickSilver 733 and 867 units •Hot Issue:
Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver 2002): EFFA No Power
The Best Way To Optimize Mac OS X...
May 25th, 2001
Mac OS X is a wonderful operating system; it has a raft of innovative new features (like the
dock), easy access to the power of Unix and all its industrial-strength serving applications
(like Apache), the famous Mac ease of use, and some of the most delicious eye candy ever
seen outside of a science fiction movie (hmmm... Aqua). But all is not perfect just yet.
One of the biggest and most oft-voiced criticisms of the new OS is its lack of speed and
responsiveness. Despite all the good things about Mac OS X many users find themselves
switching back to Mac OS 9 because they are frustrated. "Things are simply faster in 9",
they say. "I spend half of my time watching the spinning rainbow (busy) cursor," they say.
In this edition of Hot Cocoa I will talk about some ways in which I personally have
overcome these frustrations. The tips I offer here won't work for everybody, although they
certainly will help some. I offer them to illustrate a larger point and hopefully to encourage
people to persist with Mac OS X even if they feel that it is a barrier to their productivity at
first. The point is this: often the best way to optimize a system is not to install the latest
software shortcut, or upgrade to the latest hardware; rather, it is the optimization of usage
habits that a user can make as he or she becomes more familiar with the operating
environment. This takes time. Use Mac OS X for a week and you might decide that you
hate it; use it for a month and you'll find dozens of ways to work around the things that
annoy you; use it for three months and you'll have forgotten what it was like to work under
9 -- you'll be working in ways that you never even thought of before, and perhaps you
won't even be seeing that dreaded spinning rainbow cursor at all.
So now, on with the show... I'll list the various things that I initially found frustrating about
Mac OS X and then provide explanations of how I addressed the issues.
Complaint: I thought this thing had preemptive multitasking!
One of Mac OS X's selling points is that it has fully preemptive multitasking. This means
that the machine will keep on chugging along even if one process wants to be greedy and
hog the CPU. Movies will keep playing smoothly while files are decompressing; progress
bars continue to update while menus are down; you can switch to other applications and
work with them while other applications are launching.
Why this rainbow busy cursor all the time? This is the cursor that Mac OS X displays while
the front most application is busy doing something and is not ready to receive user input.
Users get frustrated waiting for it to go away because it impedes their workflow. "So much
for preemptive multitasking; I seem to spend most of my time waiting!"
Solution: do some multitasking yourself!
Notice that even when the rainbow cursor appears that other apps continue to run
smoothly under Mac OS X. Even if the Finder locks up for minutes at a time, you can
mouse over the dock and note that the textual labels still pop up instantly and you can
switch to other apps. Unlike under OS 9, the machine as a whole rarely locks up; it's
mostly only individual apps that become unresponsive.
So the solution is to take care of the multitasking yourself. If one app is busy, switch to
another and do something else. Run a lot of apps at once. Keep multiple tasks in progress
at any one time. This might require a bit of adjustment to your usage habits, but it will be
worth it. When I was using Mac OS X a few months ago I think I spent about a quarter of
all my time waiting for the busy cursor to go away. Nowadays I spend only a few seconds
each day waiting for it.
Complaint: The Finder is slowwwww!
Many people complain about the Finder's speed: Window resizing is slow; there are a lot of
busy cursors; there are delays before new windows appear, and so forth. Given that the
Finder is one of the most heavily-used applications in any user's arsenal this presents a bit
of a problem. Many of the Finder's problems stem from the fact that it is written using
Carbon rather than Mac OS X's much more mature Cocoa API. Apple wanted to show that
it could "eat its own dog food" and code something major with Carbon; unfortunately for
us, they chose one of the apps that we rely on the most. So how do we tackle the
Solution: Reduce your dependency on the Finder
Painful but true: we have to reduce our reliance on the Finder. Learn to use all of Mac OS
X's shortcuts and tricks for opening and organizing files. Use the "Recent items" submenu
in the Apple menu as much as possible, or the recent items menus offered within individual
applications. Put shortcuts in the dock (you could put applications in the dock, or a folder
containing shortcuts to all of your favorite items). Learn to use the command line interface
(the Terminal) -- some operations are much faster in it.
Make the most of docklings -- these are little apps which run in the dock and handle simple
tasks like going to specific panes in the System Preferences application. Learn about third
party tools, like the excellent DragThing -- some of these can be real time savers.
Finally, and most obviously, take the time to set up the Finder exactly as you want it. The
first few weeks (and even months) you'll be rearranging icons, resizing columns and
windows, agonizingly copying files and folders, and customizing toolbars. But once this is
done, using the Finder should become more and more pleasant; especially seeing as you'll
have developed so many other strategies for performing tasks that you won't need the
Finder much anyway.
Complaint: Apps take ages to launch
Under Mac OS 9 the really big applications -- Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and the like --
took a long time to launch but pretty much everything else launched very snappily. Under
Mac OS X things are different. Apps like Photoshop are Classic apps and they can take
more than a minute to launch if the Classic environment is not already running. Other
(non-Classic) apps still entail seemingly interminable waits at times. People pass the time
counting the number of dock bounces an app takes to launch.
Solution: Think "Unix"
Mac OS X runs on a Unix core and this has several implications. One is that many apps are
slow to launch. I have used many Unix operating systems over the years, and although
they boast amazing stability and reliability, their launch times are often disappointing. But
what do they offer in return and how can we take advantage of it?
Obviously, if apps take ages to launch then we shouldn't launch them often. "Launch 'em
and leave 'em," I say. Unlike Mac OS 9, Mac OS X's modern virtual memory system should
enable you to leave as many apps running at once as you please. And because each app
operates in a protected memory environment there are no stability issues to be fearful
about with so many apps running at the same time.
If it takes a long time to launch an app, why not launch several at once? Under Mac OS 9
you could tell the Finder to open several apps and it would open then one at a time, in
sequence. Mac OS X actually launches all of them concurrently, with very little speed
penalty. Because Mac OS X offers a preemptively multitasked environment you can also
switch to another app while you are waiting for another to finish launching. Try doing that
with Adobe Illustrator under Mac OS 9...
The final aspect of Unix mentality that will be beneficial to adopt is "don't reboot." Once
your system is up and running it will happily continue on for a long, long time. There's no
need to worry about the system degrading and becoming unstable the longer it runs. Get
your system up and then keep it up, if you can. I have a laptop, so unfortunately I have to
shutdown whenever I am moving between locations -- but for other people, leave the
machine up as long as you can bear it and you'll find your productivity increases (and as
for electricity, er... what can I say?)
These are just some of the strategies that I have found myself using over the last few
months living with Mac OS X as my full-time OS. I don't think I would've discovered them
unless I had stuck with the OS despite all of its little annoyances. Persist. Be bold -- try
new things. Open your mind to new ways of working and don't cling to your old habits.
Learn keyboard shortcuts. Try new software. Share your knowledge with others (a great
way to start is by leaving a comment on this article).
One of the most exciting things about Mac OS X is that it is only a beginning and is still a
work in progress. I wrote this article because one of the shortcomings of the OS is that it is
less responsive and speedy than we all hoped it would be. But thankfully for us, the future
is bright: machines are getting faster, graphics cards are getting better, and Apple is
working long, long days for us optimizing and improving the code of Mac OS X. Other
developers too, are getting more familiar with the OS and are writing better and better
code for it. If you're even mildly happy with the way Mac OS X is right now, imagine what
you'll think of it this time next year...
You are encouraged to send Richard your comments, or to post them below.
Topic: "Spinning Beach Ball of Death" (SBBOD)
(Posted Oct 29, 02 1:17 pm)
The "please wait" progress indicator -- where your mouse pointer changes from an arrow
to a rotating color wheel or "spinning beach ball" while using an application -- generally
indicates that your system is engaged in a very processor-intensive activity. In such cases,
the "beach ball" will usually disappear within five to ten seconds, depending on your Mac's
processor speed and installed RAM. For example, applying a Gaussian blur to a very large
file in Photoshop can be a very processor-intensive activity.
However, there are cases when the "beach ball" spins for a much longer period of time, a
condition sometimes referred to as "The Spinning Beach Ball of Death" (SBBOD). This FAQ
discusses causes of the SBBOD and what you can do about them.
Problem: Frequent SBBODs due to processor-intensive activity:
Causes: Running too many applications concurrently and/or running processor-intensive
applications with limited RAM.
Solutions: If you experience frequent occurrences of the "beach ball" or the longer SBBOD
when using processor-intensive applications like Photoshop, consider running fewer other
applications concurrently and/or adding additional RAM to your system. With the low cost
of RAM today, bringing your total RAM up to 512Mb, 1Gb, or more -- depending on what
your system can support -- is more affordable than ever. Additional RAM is one of the best
ways to improve overall system performance.
Problem: SBBOD spins for 30-35 seconds. You may hear one or more of your hard drives
Cause: Hard Drive Sleep: Modern hard disk drives (HDDs) are designed to spin-down after
a certain period of inactivity. This is to conserve energy and is also considered by some to
increase the useful life of the drive by reducing wear. This is usually referred to as "hard
drive sleep" but the technical term is Standby mode. In Standby mode, the HDD is in a
state of low energy consumption and its platters have ceased to spin. It is awaiting a read
or write instruction, at which time the HDD will spin-up its platters to perform the
operation. It can generally take 30-35 seconds for a hard drive to spin up once in Standby
Solutions: In System Preferences > Energy Saver Preferences, de-select (uncheck) the Put
the hard drive to sleep when possible option. When this option is selected, the hard drive
will enter Standby mode after 10 minutes of inactivity. When this option is not selected,
the hard drive will not enter Standby mode until after 180 minutes (three hours) of
Apple has noted and been able to reproduce a problem where secondary internal HDDs,
i.e. those other than your OS X boot volume, may enter Standby mode sooner than the
three hours specified when the Put the hard drive to sleep when possible option is disabled.
This has also been reported by some users of external FireWire Hard Drives. When
applications read or write to these secondary drives, and those drives are in Standby
mode, the SBBOD will display for 30-35 seconds while the drive spins-up. There is
presently no interim solution for this issue, but Apple is working on finding a resolution.
If you are experiencing this problem with applications that are reading or writing "scratch"
or "temporary" files to secondary drives, configure the application's preferences to write
these files to the OS X boot volume. This, combined with de-selecting the Put the hard
drive to sleep when possible option should minimize the occurrence of SBBODs with these
Problem: The SBBOD appears when opening the Help Viewer
Cause: If you are connected to the Internet, the Help Viewer checks for the latest help
information on Apple's Web site when it is opened and when searching for help. If you
have used Help infrequently, or if you have a slow Internet connection, the SBBOD may
Solution: See AppleCare KB Article 107070.
Problem: The SBBOD appears when quitting certain Microsoft Applications
Cause: Certain Microsoft applications, such as those in Office, employ an anti-piracy
approach whereby, before quitting, the application uses the Internet to "phone home" and
validate your software registration. If you are connected to the Internet and have the OS X
Firewall enabled, the default firewall settings block this outbound transmission. In such
cases, the SBBOD will go on for up to two minutes before the application abandons its
attempt to "phone home."
Solution: Disable the OS X Firewall before quitting Microsoft Office applications, or wait for
the two minutes or so it will take before the application abandons its registration
Problem: An application displays the SBBOD for a reason other than those above.
Cause: The application has encountered a problem and may be frozen or hung.
Solution: Give the application a minute or so to see if it will either return to normal
functioning or will quit. Moving your mouse pointer off the potentially frozen application in
OS X 10.2.x will return it from the spinning beach ball to a mouse pointer, and you can
continue work in other applications.
Mac OS X speed FAQ
Last Update Jul 12, 2003
Note, this is a work in progress, and I will accept commentary on this if you find something
If unsure as to which of these causes is slowing down your machine, ask a technician to
help you isolate it before attempting to use any software to fix the issue. Many of the
softwares recommended below have multipurpose functions, which may do other things
you don't want to do to your system. Only use the software to solve the known issue you
FAQ, in case you didn't know, is the acronym for Frequently Answered Questions.
Note: This FAQ assumes you are using Mac OS X 10.2 or higher. If you are using an older
version of Mac OS X visit the old version of the FAQ. A couple instances the FAQ may still
make reference to Mac OS X 10.1.5.
Speed of Mac OS X is controlled by several factors:
3. Hard disk space
4. Installing with Archive and Install (includes section on 10.2 updates)
5. Local Area Networks (LANs)
6. Graphics Card
7. Optical mouse (no ball) tracking slowly
8. Backups and disk utilities to run after backup including repair permissions and File
System Check and Disk Warrior
10. Logfile cleanup
11. Web browsing
12. Hung applications
14. Classic, includes section on Mac OS 9 updates, how to install 9 from the Restore CDs,
Mac OS X native applications and hardware, more direct links to Digital Camara, Personal
Digital Assistants, iTunes CD-RW and other devices, Printers, Scanners, and Webcams.
Carbonlib 1.6 is available for running some Mac OS X native applications within Mac OS 9
15. Underpowered USB ports
16. Zapping the PRAM
17. Bad RAM
18. Login items
19. Remove shadow from window's edge
20. Hewlett packard All in One printer drivers and scanners
21. Hard drive spindown
22. Force emptying trash
23. Retrospect's Startup item
24. Startup Items
25. Use second user to test problems are not systemwide
26. Removing the Kextcache to avoid some startup problems
27. iMovie slowing you down?
28. Computer tells you it must restart or text appears across screen with cryptic messages
cutting the graphics of the screen
29. Books recommended to learn how to work with Mac OS X
1. The wrong firmware may yield unpredictable results, check these updates to see if your
firmware needs updating.
2. RAM - if you are just running 128 MB of RAM, you should upgrade using Lifetimememory
, Memoryx.net, The Chip Merchant, Crucial, Macsolutions, Techworks, Kingston, Other
world computing, or TJS Electronics
Later in the FAQ bad ram is discussed and you should pay attention to the specs of the
RAM you install.
3. Hard disk space and backups - Mac OS X 10.2 installs in about 1.9 GB of space. For best
speed, it is recommended that after installation of X, you have at least 1 GB + your
physical RAM that is installed in free hard disk space. So if you have 640 MB of RAM, you
should have at least 3.5 GB of free hard disk space before installing Jaguar. It is also
recommended you use an external Oxford 911 firewire hard disk to backup your data prior
to installing any updates. This makes it difficult for those without Firewire. An upgrade is
available from Sonnet that offers Firewire to some iMacs that don't have Firewire. For those
Powerbooks and Powermacs with built-in SCSI, Mac OS X does recognize the built-in SCSI
port, but not necessarily all SCSI cards. Thus if you have SCSI on the motherboard you
may find it easier to backup to a SCSI hard disk before upgrading. If you need an internal
hard disk for Powerbooks that handle the space requirements, check out MCE Products.
While you can install Jaguar on an external hard disk, it is only recommended for recovery
purposes in case you find the Mac OS X version you just upgraded to is incompatible with
software you use frequently, or in case of hard disk directory damage you can't recover
from. If you have a 333 Mhz Mac or less, put it on the first 8 GB partition of drives larger
than 8 GB.
4. Installing with Archive and Install - Before you Archive and Install, be sure your file
system directory checks out to be OK as Apple has recently posted a knowledgebase
stating an archive and install over a bad directory is a bad idea. Jaguar has a new Archive
and Install feature which should be the way you upgrade from older versions of X if X was
already installed on your machine.
When doing an Archive and Install, preserve user and network settings to preserve your
ISP setup and any saved LAN settings.
Doing a simple upgrade install often results in a slower system. The upgrade CDs
purchased for $20, or gotten free with machines released between July 17th and August
24th 2002 do not include this Archive and Install option. Only the full retail, or full install
disks that were supposed to come with all Macs made after August 24th (call 1-800-
APLCARE if yours didn't come with those disks), have the Archive and Install option.
Archive and install when you save user and network preferences moves Apple's own
applications into the Previous System Folder's Applications folder, and moves the previous
Mac OS X operating system folders into the Previous System Folder, as well as the Shared
folder in the users folder (which is necessary for AOL to function, if you have AOL).
IMPORTANT If you are unable to preserve user and network preferences with the checkbox
in the Archive and Install, your personal folders in the Users -> your username folder will
also get moved to the Users folder stored in the Previous System Folder, and a new Users
folder of your username will be constructed with no contents except the default folders.
This means iPhoto, iMovie, and iTunes data which were stored in Users -> your username -
> Pictures, Movies, Music respectively will not be able to load your saved data in those
folders until you move their content back to the newly constructed Users folder from the
Users folder in the Previous System Folder. After doing an Archive and Install, should all
other things below not work, attempt updating to the version of X that last worked using
one of these updates. Please note, some people have found updating using the combo
updater to the next version works better than the single version updater. Some have had
success getting 10.2.5 and 10.2.6 to work better by archive and installing, then running
the 10.2.3 combo updater, and then running either the 10.2.5 or 10.2.6 updater.
Available System updates to Mac OS X 10.2
10.2 update to
10.2.1 update to
10.2.2 or 10.2.2 combo
10.2.2 update to
10.2.3 (50 MB)* or 10.2.3 combo
10.2.3 update to
10.2.4 or 10.2.4 combo
10.2.4 update to
10.2.5 or 10.2.5 combo
10.2.5 update to
10.2.6 or 10.2.6 combo
* This download is only available directly from the storage space on Apple's server and is
not referenced by any knowledgebase anymore.
50 MB will download in about 300 minutes at 56k bps. The rest are referenced by
knowledgebase articles where you can download them from.
As some of these downloads will take a long time you want to locate your local Apple
retailer and have them burn you a copy of the update at the store.
If all you have is Mac OS X 10.1, it is recommended you upgrade to at least 10.1.5 so you
can repair permissions. Apple's knowledgebase 106713 explains what updates you need
depending on your installed version of Mac OS X 10.1.
5. Local area networking (LANs) - sometimes having another machine on a local area
network that isn't connected can slow things down. Turn off file sharing of all machines on
network that are not in use for file sharing.
6. Graphics Card - Jaguar fixes this issue for the most part.
7. Optical mice - if you have a mouse that has no rolling ball, but instead has a shining
light on its bottom, it needs a surface that is textured. Uniform color surfaces with no
patterns make it difficult for optical mice to track, thus making any dragging of the mouse
over the surface appear to have little or no action. Use a textured mousepad or smooth
surface that gives the mouse something visual to tell the difference of which surface it is
tracking over. If your doing this and your mouse tracking is still slow, go to Apple menu ->
System Preferences -> Mouse to change your mouse tracking speed.
There is a third party software called Mouse Zoom which lets you increase your tracking
8. Backup before running any utilities for Mac OS X. Backup your data religiously prior to
running any disk utility with Dantz Retrospect or Carbon Copy Cloner to an external
Firewire hard disk. These functions after a backup may help you recover a hard disk
without having to go through the recovery software of the backup, though in case it fails,
the backup recovery should always be an option. If you have one of these machines
backup becomes somewhat more problematic:
PCI PowerMac G4 - the graphics card used by these Macs use a PCI card and not an AGP
graphics card (link tells how to differentiate PCI and AGP). These Macs can't boot off
Firewire hard drives which means backups may require working with a machine that can.
The ease of recovering from a bootable backup is not there for these machines nor Blue
and White PowerMac G3s.
Both Beige PowerMac G3s, Powerbook G3s prior to 2000 can boot off SCSI hard drives, but
it is hard to find a SCSI hard drive these days that will work with these machines.
The Tray Loading CD iMacs under 333 Mhz can have a Firewire port added to them, but
that may not be bootable. Consult Sonnet as to whether that is possible.
The iMacs prior to the DV model that are not tray loading, and the iBooks prior to the DV
model have no Firewire upgrade path, and USB is generally too slow to work with backing
up Mac OS X entirely. For these Macs, a CD burner can be used for backup, but recognize
media can deteriorate quickly with age, and you should frequently make duplicate backups
to ensure you don't lose your data. A full recovery is slower when you don't have a
machine you can boot from a backup.
A word of warning, don't use Norton Utilities, as it is not 100% aware of the directory
issues with Mac OS X and may corrupt directories of Mac OS X more often than save them:
You can boot into single user mode by holding down the command-S key combination and
run /sbin/fsck -y several times to fix the directory using File System Check (the
abbreviation of which is fsck). File System Check can also be initiated by your Mac OS X
installer CD, from the Installer menu -> Disk Utility -> First Aid tab -> select hard disk ->
select Repair Disk button.
When you boot from Jaguar's Installer CD there is a Repair Permissions function found in
its Disk Utility. The Disk Utility is called by selecting it from the Installer menu, and repair
permissions or privledges is found in its First Aid tab. If you have upgraded Jaguar past the
version on your installer CD, you should use the Disk Utility program found in your
Applications -> Utilities folder to do this repair when all other applications are quit.
Another utility that repairs permissions is Cocktail. Note, since Cocktail is an all purpose
utility, only use it for the feature shown here, as using another part of it to solve your
problem may cause more problems in the long run.
Another utility which does directory fixes is Alsoft Disk Warrior 2.1.1 for machines bootable
in Mac OS 9, and version 3.0 for machines only Mac OS X bootable. Note some SCSI card
and built-in SCSI machines may not accept Disk Warrior 3.0, but will accept Disk Warrior
2.1.1 and this thread has been posted to discuss the issue. If you need to create a
bootable copy of Disk Warrior and add other system utilities, check this FAQ on how to
construct a bootable CD.
See Zap PRAM for one other possible solution should you not be able to boot the computer
after repairing the disk directory.
9. Prebinding - Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2) fixes this issue, though before that you can use
XOptimize, you may need to expand this program with Stuffit Expander 7.01. Another
utility that prebinds is Cocktail. Note, since Cocktail is an all purpose utility, only use it for
the feature shown here, as using another part of it to solve your problem may cause more
problems in the long run.
10. Logfile cleanup - happens in the middle of the night, though you can manually initiate
it with Macjanitor. Note if you use Energy Saver to go to sleep in the middle of the night, it
won't run and you should use Macjanitor instead periodically if you can't leave the machine
on overnight using the screen effects (Mac OS X 10.2's name for screen saver found in Mac
OS X 10.0 and 10.1) found in the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Screen Effects
Another utility that does logfile cleanup is Cocktail. Note, since Cocktail is an all purpose
utility, only use it for the feature shown here, as using another part of it to solve your
problem may cause more problems in the long run.
11. Web browsing - Despite the fact Apple includes Internet Explorer as their web browser
in X, it is not by any means the fastest browser for Mac OS X, Safari (be sure to get the
1-10-2003 update, if unsure which version you have, go to the Safari menu and check
About Safari. v51 is the 1-10-2003 update), Chimera and Mozilla are much faster, and can
stop popup advertisements from annoying you. Safari is Apple's new web browser released
at Macworld San Francisco in January 2003, and some find it faster, others find it slower
than the next two. Mozilla launchtime is slow, and that's a bug with Mozilla, but actual web
browsing is much faster than Explorer in many instances but not all. Mozilla 1.2.1 right
now is the latest release version of Mozilla, and newer versions are still in development
12. Hung applications and Finder (when the spinning colored cursor comes up) - get
When this doesn't work, read the Spinning Beachball of Death FAQ
13. Caches - Keep your caches clean with Jaguar Cache Cleaner, Cache Out or Cocktail.
Note, since these are all multipurpose utilities, only use it for the feature shown here, as
using another part of them to solve your problem may cause more problems in the long
run. With clearing caches, it is important to remember to restart your computer from the
Apple menu after finishing the task, otherwise you may not get the results you desire.
14. Classic - Classic's limitation on the amount of RAM it will allocate applications is set to
128MB. For those who need to update from 9.0 these are the updates:
Upgrade to 9.1 first,
Upgrade to 9.2.1 next,
Upgrade to 9.2.2 last.
If you got a new machine that has no OS 9 CD and for some reason Mac OS 9 is not
installed you can install it from the restore CDs using Apple's article for direction.
These machines will not boot into Mac OS 9, however also have Mac OS 9 for use in the
It is better though to get Mac OS X native hardware and software than to run items in Mac
OS X's Classic environment. Upgrade all your hardware and software first, then upgrade to
a new Mac that boots only into Mac OS X. .
As a temporary measure to be able to run Mac OS X native applications while you upgrade
your library, some Mac OS X native applications work best with CarbonLib 1.6 if booting
from Mac OS 9. Contact the developer to make sure that your application works in Mac OS
9 and Mac OS X natively first before attempting to use this temporary measure.
15. Underpowered USB port - Using unpowered USB devices in the USB port nearest the
modem on many machines will slow down the machine.
16. Zapping the PRAM - Sometimes the boot process will be slowed to a crawl because the
PRAM hasn't been zapped.
You might be left with a blue or gray screen and no more progress after that. If repairing
the disk shows no faults, and repairing
permissions doesn't seem to affect the boot process, there is the possibility the PRAM
needs to be zapped. Restart the machine holding
down all four keys command-option-p-r simultaneously (where command is the key that
has the cloverleaf and/or Apple logo on it) using the
Apple keyboard and wait for four chimes. If your speakers aren't working properly wait for
the screen to blink 4 times.
Once you start up, you'll need to restart from the Apple menu and fsck -y the disk since
you rebooted the machine improperly.
17.Bad RAM - The wrong RAM may yield unpredictable results. Check the specifications and
run the hardware test CD on your machine if it has one, or the Apple System Profiler in the
Applications/Utilities folder of Mac OS X or in the Apple menu of Mac OS 9. Note, the RAM
in the Flat Panel iMac is only accurately reported by the hardware test CD and not the
System Profiler. Even when RAM is to spec, sometimes it can be bad RAM for Mac OS X
and at least you should remove any additional RAM the machine had installed to see if you
have a bad RAM module. Check: http://www.macintouch.com/badram01.html for an
extensive report on solutions people found to solve bad RAM.
18. Login items - unless you are using a specific third party utility all the time, you can
remove it from the Apple menu's System Preferences, Login items. This will free up
memory and reduce the potential for conflicts.
19. Shadowkiller - You can download Shadowkiller free to remove window shadows and
improve window redrawing performance.
20. HP printer drivers - Trouble with HP All in One printer drivers slowing down your
machine under Mac OS X 10.2.2? Mac OS X 10.2.3 (available in updates of 10.2.0 or
10.2.1 to 10.2.3 and 10.2.2 to 10.2.3) is supposed to resolve some of the issues faced
with HP's communication software.
If for some reason you can't upgrade to 10.2.3 right away, Apple has made an upgrade to
a critical system extension ftp://ftp.apple.com/developer/Development_Kits/Mac_OS_USB/
One person found removing HP Communications out of /Library/Printers/hp worked very
well. HP has written an article addressing the issue:
reg=&cc=&prodId=hppsc750pr28086&lc=en&docName=bpm30189 and a workaround
HP 3500c scanner software until recently has also slowed down Mac OS X. The 171 MB
download of 4-23-2003 listed at HP's website fixed one person's slowdown from their
scanner. If you have an HP peripheral and it is causing you to slowdown, or any peripheral,
check the manufacturer's website for updates, and complain to the manufacturer if no
update has happened.
21. Hard drive spindown - External hard drive spinning down even when Energy Saver isn't
running? Spin down fix is designed to keep your hard drives spinning even when Energy
Saver is not on.
A utility which allows you to edit the spindown times is Cocktail. Note, since Cocktail is an
all purpose utility, only use it for the feature shown here, as using another part of it to
solve your problem may cause more problems in the long run.
22. Unable to empty trash and it is getting quite full? Force Empty Trash will do it.
Another utility that force empties trash is Cocktail. Note, since Cocktail is an all purpose
utility, only use it for the feature shown here, as using another part of it to solve your
problem may cause more problems in the long run. If the file still doesn't trash, try Force
23. Retrospect's Startup item running -Dantz Retrospect Express's boot at startup Retrorun
process (used for unattended backups). By default, the preferences of Retrospect are set
to establish a root process that could potentially slow the system down if not being used.
To disable it "To disable retrorun under Mac OS X so it does not load at system startup you
can do the following:
Go to Retrospect Express menu ->Preferences in Retrospect 5.x for Macintosh Select
Notification and uncheck all available options (you can leave "Animate Dock Icon" turned
on) Next go to Unattended and set the option to "Stay in Retrospect". Restart the
computer and retrorun will no longer load at system startup
from article 27286 in Dantz's knowledgebase.
24. Startup items - Related to the Dantz Retrospect item above, check your Library folder's
Startup Items folder. If you find stuff in there you don't use, you should throw it out.
25. Use second user to isolate problem to system or user settings - Sometimes creating a
new user can isolate third party software installations if they were made by your user.
Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Accounts -> New User, will create a new user you
can log into in order to isolate problems. Be sure to give them administrative privledges,
and no you don't have to lose auto login. You can always Logout from the Apple menu and
log in as the test user to try things out.
26. Kextcache - Remove the /System/Library/Extensions.kextcache, and
Extensions.mcache file after holding down the shift key sometimes fixes boot issues.
27. iMovie 3 has caused some consternation, and as a result tips were published on the
Unofficial iMovie FAQ page.
The iMovie 3.0.3 update is now available and may solve some of the most common issues.
28. The subject of item 28 in the FAQ is covered by the page that discusses Kernel Panics.
29. Not exactly related to speed, but if you better understand how X operates, you can
make more efficient use of it. These two books are excellent guides:
The Robin Williams Mac OS X Book by Robin Williams and
Mac OS X the Missing Manual by David Pogue.
A similar hint page developed separately is here:
Additional information about Mac OS X native software and hardware may be found on this
sites directory of Mac OS X related sites.
The old version of this FAQ is available as well if you are running an older version of Mac
OS X, though it is highly recommended you upgrade to Jaguar.
Most of this old version of the FAQ is outdated now that Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2) has been
Mac OS X Kernel Panic FAQ
Sometimes Mac OS X may tell you it needs to restart the computer with one of these two
kinds of screens:
Mac OS X 10.0 to 10.1.5 will show the above type of response on your display
Mac OS X 10.2 will show the above image transparently over your display
Above images obtained from Apple's description of a kernel panic
Some have mentioned these images may be hard to read on a laptop screen.
In addition, some kernel panics are less obvious, but are still kernel panics:
If "Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE (0x0002) at 0x00000048" (or similar error occurs)
Appears in the logfile that shows up in console.log, crashreporter.log, or any other Log in
Applications -> Utilities -> Apple System Profiler -> Logs tab, or a log in Applications ->
Utilities -> Console suspect a kernel panic when the kernel protection failure occurs.
The most common causes of kernel panics are in this particular order:
1. A directory failure or user accidently moving .kext files that should be left alone. The
directory may fail, due to an accident caused by Norton Utilities or Systemworks, which
may at random corrupt a directory even when trying to repair it. Norton Anti-Virus will not
do this, but Disk Doctor and Speed Disk have a history of doing this. An uninstaller has
been made available here with a link to an Apple Discussion Board thread where the
problems with Norton have been discussed. A directory may also fail because the system is
improperly shut down (which naturally happens when you restart the computer due to a
kernel panic). The system has to be shut down from the blue Apple menu in the upper left
corner of the screen in Mac OS X, or the Special menu in Mac OS 9's Finder. Running Mac
OS X it is possible to force quit programs that misbehave without having to shut down the
system by command-option-escape key sequence, and you can even force quit the Finder.
Naturally if you force quit an application, it won't save the last edited file that is currently
open, but at least you won't be corrupting the hard disk directory by doing it. To fix a
directory that is corrupted, you should first backup your data to an external Firewire or
SCSI hard disk, and make sure it is bootable using Carbon Copy Cloner or Retrospect
Express. Once backed up you can use the Mac OS X Installer CD or DVD to boot from, and
use the Installer menu's Disk Utility to repair the hard disk from its First Aid tab. Be sure to
select the hard disk before hitting Repair Disk in the First Aid tab. If after four attempts to
repair the disk, it does not say the disk appears to be OK, you should attempt to repair it
with Disk Warrior or erase the internal hard disk, and recover from your bootable backup.
If you think you may have inadvertantly affected the .kext files in the System or Library
folders from Mac OS 9, you can attempt to repair permissions with the Disk Utility found in
the Applications -> Utilities folder of Mac OS X 10.2.x, or if you have Mac OS X 10.1.5, use
the Repair Priviledges utility. If you have moved the .kext files, it will be necessary to
Archive and Install the operating system to get it to run properly again and apply the Mac
OS X combo update to get back up to the last known working version of the operating
2. Peripherals that aren't Mac OS X native may cause a kernel panic, and you should check
the Mac OS X native software directories and search engines, and any hardware
manufacturer's website for more recent drivers that are known to be compatible with your
version of Mac OS X. Three special cases are Apple hardware related that may give some
peripherals difficulty, namely Mac OS X 10.2.5 has been known to kernel panic at certain
USB hubs, and it is recommended you upgrade to 10.2.6 to avoid this issue. The other is
on the Flat Panel iMacs that are 700 Mhz and 800 Mhz. These iMacs have a USB port right
next to the modem port that is unable to work properly with USB devices that require
power from the computer. And in some cases it also means the mouse has to be plugged
in the USB port on the right side of the keyboard and not the left side of the keyboard
One commenter mentioned that they had a Zio! Compact Flash Reader that would only
kernel panic if the Compact Flash Card was already inserted when the computer was
woken from sleep. Many third party devices are not Energy Saver aware, and this could
cause a kernel panic because of that issue.
3. RAM and motherboards are the least likely suspect in kernel panics, but if you just have
a new system, and or just installed new memory and you get a kernel panic, that's the
most likely place to start looking. If your RAM is not to specifications you may get a kernel
panic. To make sure it is to specifications on the Flat Panel iMac, you need to use the
Hardware Test CD that came with your Flat Panel iMac, as the Apple System Profiler
doesn't accurately report the kind of RAM that is installed. Otherwise use the Apple System
Profiler to check the kind of RAM that is installed, especially if your computer is not one
that normally came with a Hardware test CD. When installing or removing RAM, be sure
you know how to install it without breaking the clips, as Apple may not cover the break of
the clips under warranty, and only install RAM that is listed as customer installable for your
model Mac, otherwise take it to an authorized service technician to install. Make sure
before going to purchase new RAM that it is properly seated in its slot. Some RAM that isn't
seated properly may register, yet cause a kernel panic. Third party RAM can only be
installed by third party authorized service technicians that are Apple authorized as the
official Apple Stores don't install third party RAM. If replacing the RAM with lifetime
warranty memory from a good RAM dealer does not fix the kernel panic problem, then I
would take it in to Apple repair to have the motherboard looked at. Motherboards can be
more expensive than buying AppleCare, thus it is recommended you buy AppleCare within
the first year of your computer's ownership in case you have to replace the motherboard.
A similar FAQ developed independently from this one offers many of the same suggestions
on: Apple's Discussion Boards
Thus concludes the Kernel Panic FAQ. Feel free to post feedback or return to the Mac OS
related links page of Macmaps.com