When your computer first turns on it needs to load the system software (OS-X) and some settings from the hard drive. This is called ‘booting’. Boot time can slow down over time as you accumulate more software and hardware connected to your computer. Here are some tips to make your Mac boot faster.
1. Get an SSD Drive.
The latest generation of Hard Disks (appearing in Macbook Airs) are called SSD drives. They use memory on a chip (like a thumb drive). They have no moving parts. They are much faster. An SSD drive doesn’t speed up everything that you do on your mac, but it certainly does speed up boot time, opening Applications, and saving files. If you don’t have one it’s by far the best way to reduce your boot time and speed up the load time of applications. See this article for how to install one!
2. Quit apps when you Shut Down.
Lion and newer versions of OS-X automatically open all the applications and windows from when you last shut down your mac. If you had 10 applications open, this will make your boot time terribly slow as it will open all 10 applications again!
To improve this you can either (1) quit apps before you shut down, or (2) disable the automatic opening of apps by deselecting the ‘Reopen windows when logging back in‘ option in the shutdown menu:
Another way to achieve a similar result is to go to general preferences and select this option: ‘‘close windows when quitting application“.
OS-X will now launch the apps but it won’t open every window you had open.
Personally I like it to open all my apps and windows, so I keep both these features enabled but I make sure I close any unnecessary apps before I shut down.
3. Create some extra space on your Hard Drive.
Generally the more free space on your hard disk the faster your computer will run. This is because OS X is very clever and has all kinds of built in tricks to make your computer run faster. Some of these ‘tricks’ require a lot of free disk space. The more free space you have, the easier it is for OS X to tweak your disk performance.
I try as a general rule to have approx 25% of my disk free but it must be at least 10% or things will really slow down.
This article explains a bit more about disk usage and it explains how to free up some hard disk space if you are running low.
4. Clean up your Desktop.
I know they say a messy desktop is the sign of a creative mind, but your computer has to load the icon for every one of those files on your desktop as it boots up. Yes – it has to fetch all those icons, and if, like me, you tend to accumulate literally hundreds of icons on your desktop, this can slow down your boot time significantly. Get rid of them – move them somewhere else.