Mac running wicked slow--why and what to do?

iBook G4 bought middle of '04. Lately Safari seems slow and clunky. Sometimes when I’m typing in windows like this, the words. just. come. slowly.

Mail is often slow and a pain.

Lots of that spinny “wait!” thing in programs. Have had Safari crash on me several times.

Any idea why this change could come about? My hard drive space is still about 50% open.

Thanks for your insights.

Go to Applications–>Utilities and run “Activity Monitor”. On the CPU tab, you can click on the “% CPU” column to sort by CPU usage, and see what process is taking up all of your processor time.

You might also be short on memory. Click the “System Memory” tab to see how much you have, and how much is being used.

• Empty your trash.
• Defragment your hard disk. Use software like Symantec’s Norton Utilities, Alsoft’s DiskExpress Pro, or Micromat’s TechTool Pro.

On the CD that came with the machine should be a hardware diagnostic. You might try running it and see if anything is failing. Could be RAM going bad.

I am just curious but I can’t think of a failure mechanism of ram that would do this. I would imagine the computer acting flakey and crashing if the ram was bad. Did you have a failure mechanism that would do this?

Have you repaired permissions lately? Open up Disk Utility and select the hard drive, then under First Aid, tell it to repair the permissions. It might take 5-10 minutes, but if you haven’t done it since you bought the computer, that might do it.

Something called HP Communications is taking up about 80% of CPU power! Could that possibly be viral?! What to do if so?

Actually, I think that’s my HP printer software. So yeah, it is viral.:slight_smile: I’ll try some of your other ideas now…

Free system memory is 387 Mb. Big green slice of pie.

It appears that there is (or was) a known issue with some HP printer drivers. Here is one site that discusses it, but you can find several more by searching the internets.

The sites basically say that if you manually kill and restart the HP process, your CPU will be back to normal. They’ve written scripts to do this automatically…it’s a kludgy hack to get around what essentially is an HP driver issue.

You might try upgrading your HP driver to see if that fixes your problem. If not, you can always investigate some of the kill scripts presented in the link above.

Repairing permissions now. What are permissions, anyway? Does Windows have them too?

Things seems about ten times as fast now. TY!

btw, it was the “HP Communications” process I was referring to that you should kill. You can kill it by selecting it in the Activity Viewer (make sure you have the right one selected) and then click the “Quit Process” button on the top of the window.

Windows and Mac/Unix permissions are implemented differently, but they exist on both system types. Permissions essentially just describe which users are allowed to read / write / and execute each file on the system.

Simulpost! Glad to hear it’s working better for you.

You’ll probably experience problems printing the next time that you print, unless that process restarts on its own. It should definitely restart if you reboot.

Go to the Accounts pane of System Preferences, click on Login Items and if “HP Communications” is in the list, click on it to highlight it and then click on the minus sign below the list. That’ll keep it from loading at startup.
HP seems to be writing rather ineffecient software these days.

TY, all. Things seem great now!

For others with the same problem: I also had massive issues with Safari over the past year. I reinstalled it, I error checked, I manually killed its cache - so many things. I would get endless spinning rainbow wheels (this was OSX.2) and in the end I had to give up and use Firefox.

Now, having upgraded to OSX.4 (Tiger) I am back to using Safari with no problems. I didn’t know about that HP thing so I don’t know if I had it on Jaguar or not.

I do notice that Safari is using 133mb of Real Memory and 543mb of Virtual Memory (I have 512mb total real memory installed). Even TextEdit is using 111mb Virtual. That seems extraordinarily high!

Well, if you completely lost a bank of RAM, the computer would have to start using a boatload of virtual memory and would be swapping like crazy. And that would lead to a lot of “spinny wait” things. And, of course, bad RAM would also cause a lot of unpredicatable crashing behavior as well.