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my ibook is slowing down, need advice


i have a 800 MHz, 256 MB ibook G4 that i bought almost 2 years ago. i've noticed recently that it's been slowing down quite a bit, and i can barely have two applications running without the little rainbow wheel showing up. i often have to force applications to quit or the application quits on me. this seems to happen more frequently when i'm on the web, even though i have DSL and this never happened before.

one thing that has been different is that i have downloaded firefox and that's what i normally use. when i view the file info for my hard drive it says that i have 27.94 GB of capacity, 17 GB available and 11 GB used on disk.

any suggestions for how i can get my ibook running smooth again? thanks.

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Slow iBook

In reply to: my ibook is slowing down, need advice

A lot more information is required but we'll do the best with what we have.
What OS are you running? How much RAM do you have installed? How often do you restart the machine.
First thing to try is to go to the Disk Utilities and run the Disk First Aid and Repair Disk permissions. Next, in the same place, verify the disk. You will not be able to fix any problems found but it will be a starting point.
If it does find problems, you will have to start from the OS X CD and run Disk utility from there.
Download and install a free program called Yasu, Google for it, and run the utilities that it contains.
Note that Firefox has a memory leak problem and it will gradually use up ALL available memory in your machine. Lack of memory will cause the symptoms that you describe. To reclaim the memory, restart the machine.
What, if any, Disk Utilities do you own? I recommend Disk Warrior and TechTool Pro to begin with, in that order.

Hope this helps


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thank you. a couple more questions

In reply to: Slow iBook

I have OS 10.3 and i don't know how to find out how much RAM i have. is that memory? sorry, i don't know too much. does 128 MB sound right?

i usually just put my ibook to sleep rather than shutting it down and restarting it. should i stop doing that? also, should i stop using firefox altogether and put it in the trash?

i will try everything you said to start with. thanks again

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In reply to: thank you. a couple more questions

128MB sounds about right. Take a look under the Apple menu, about this Mac and, in the resulting window, choose More Info.
You will be surprised at what shows up.
Putting the machine to sleep is fine, just try a restart now and again when you have been using Firefox.
Safari is a reliable browser but also has the memory problem, I think.
Keep using Firefox if it is good for you


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Let me comment.

In reply to: my ibook is slowing down, need advice

Get the latest Firefox there is. With each version I see less and less issues. Also I ran into someone claiming that there was a leak but it was just Firefox caching (in RAM) web pages. There is a setting for this so you can cut that down for lower memory machines.

128M is slim today. I'd want 512M but if your machine can take a 128M stick it could be quite cheap to double that RAM and get big payback for the 20 or so buck investment.

I had this 11GB laptop drive that never did perform well. It got slower over time too. The fix was to replace it with the next RPM step faster (was 4200, now is 5400) and went from 11GB to 40GB. While it's not MacOSX, the boot time fell from over 4 minutes to under 2. I know I could not have optimized my way to such an improvement.



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