Mac Maintenance Checklist
Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Mac in Top Form
1. Keep Things up to Date
Make it a point to check for Apple software updates once a
month to keep your system running optimally. From the Apple menu,
choose Software Update (make sure that your computer is connected
to the Internet). Software Update will assess the Apple software
on your computer and check our servers for new versions. If it
finds any, the updates will appear in the Software Update window.
Select the checkbox for the software you want and then click
the Install button to download and install the software.
2. Put Your Toys Away
You're not 5 years old anymore - make it a point to clear
off the mess strewn about across your desktop and put your files
away where you can easily find them. This can help prevent accidental
file deletion (you may inadvertently select and trash a wanted
file with your undesirables) and help you find things much more
efficiently. You can get organized by creating new folders (in
the Finder, press Shift-Command-N) and arranging them into a
workable hierarchy for your files at hand, or you can move your
files into existing folders.
3. Name Your Children
Untitled folder 8, Word027.doc, DSC_1366.jpg, you've probably
got a few (or way more than a few) files and folders that you've
felt less than inspired to properly name. Then suddenly you need
to pluck that prized picture from your ginormous collection of
DSC_0001.jpg to DSC_1400.jpg named files, if you only knew which
number it was. Go through your generically-named files and folders
and give them more descriptive names so you can find what you
4. Prune Through Your File Forest
To reduce the amount of clutter on your hard drive, free up
some disk space by archiving large, seldom used files, and be
sure to name the resulting archive file appropriately too, so
you know what's in it. Delete any unnecessary or outdated personal
files whenever possible and anything that you no longer want
or need - just drag them all into the Trash and don't forget
to empty it. Be brave. Your computer will reward you with improved
5. Repair Disk Permissions
It's a good idea to make sure that your disk permissions are
in good working order on a regular basisespecially after upgrading
or installing new software. Open Disk Utility (find it in /Applications/Utilities)
and select your hard disk icon in the left pane. Click the First
Aid tab, then click Repair Disk Permissions to start the process,
which can take a few minutes to complete. If Disk Utility finds
any issues, it'll fix them along the way.
6) Back up Your Files
To prevent losing your prized or important files, make it
a point to back up your keepsakes on a regular basis. You can
back up files onto a CD, DVD, external hard drive, iPod, iDisk,
or other storage medium and then delete the copies on your hard
drive to free up some space. To learn how to back up files, choose
Mac Help from the Help menu in the Finder and do a search for
back up files.
Buy .Mac and use Apple's excellent Backup software that comes
free with your .Mac subscription!
7) Restart Your Computer Every Once in a While
While your Mac can happily hum along 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week you should restart it every once in a while to refresh
the system if you're in the habit of keeping your computer running
all day and night. This can help clear issues before they arise.
8) Check for Viruses
Macs don't get anywhere near the amount of viruses that Windows
PCs are prone to, but that doesn't mean that they can't get infected.
If you don't already have antivirus software you may want to
consider making a purchase. If you have the software installed
be sure to keep your virus definitions up to date. You can find
the latest updates on your software manufacturer's website.
9) Optimize Your Hard Drive
To ensure the best system performance and keep file damage
to an all-time low, optimize your hard drive once a year. Third-party
utilities such as Alsoft Disk Warrior Optimizer and Micromat
Tech Tool Pro will defragment and optimize your drive.
10) Clean the Outside Too
Dust and other debris can harm your computer's innards if
you allow the stuff to build up around your workspace. Use a
soft, dry, lint-free cloth, feather duster, or canned air to
clean your Mac's outside as well as the surface areas around
it. You can use a slightly water-dampened cloth to clean the
screen. Do not use any type of liquid cleaner to clean your