Mac OS forum

General discussion


by Fala_1 / November 23, 2010 6:34 AM PST

I use an IMac 10. 5. 8 Intel and I have been experiencing a slow system. Looking through the Activity Monitor I can see one of the active processes is something called 'distnoted by a user named 'daemon' also I see another _usbmuxd and yet another _windowserver. The first 2 seem to have significant amounts on memory listed and I'm wondering about the names since the only other names for the users are mine and something called 'root' . Please can anybody tell me if there is something wrong there and also what else could be the cause of the slowness of the system? I have done the usual repaired disk permissions etc and even archived and installed, hardware tests and all which showed nothing wrong. Please help!

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All those things you did showed nothing wrong because,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 23, 2010 8:47 AM PST

there is nothing wrong.
All those things that you see in the Activity monitor are normal and Daemon is not a person but a type of software application that normally runs in the background.
These types of programs do a lot of things, like handling logs, and are necessary for the correct functioning of the system.

Things controlled by a daemon normally have a "d" on the end of the name, like distnoted. Distributed Notification Daemon.
Leave them alone, things could get nasty if you start to delete them.

Causes of a slow system include, but are not limited to, faulty hard drive, lack of RAM, full hard drive.


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by Fala_1 / November 23, 2010 5:18 PM PST

Thanks for laying my mind at ease with that but I've loads of space on my hard drive and the hardware tests confirm there's nothing wrong with the hard drive so that leaves lack of RAM. Could you please explain what causes this lack and if i can scale back on some operations to gain some more RAM. I do not subscribe to just going out to buy more RAM when I may be able to save RAM on the system I'm using by cutting back. Thank you!

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You tell me how much RAM is installed in that iMac
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 23, 2010 8:57 PM PST
In reply to: RE:

What model of iMac it is and we can go from there.

Usual step is to purchase more RAM


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MAC OS X 10. 5. 8
by Fala_1 / November 23, 2010 10:38 PM PST

Mac OS X [Imac] Version: 10. 5. 8, Capacity 232.57, Available 150.85, Used 81.71, Memory size 1 G, Speed 667MHz. Hope I got it all in there.

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You didn't but
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 24, 2010 10:15 PM PST
In reply to: MAC OS X 10. 5. 8

it now seems like a moot point.

All you sent were some of the specs for the machine.

What processor does it have?

667Mhz is probably the bus speed and not the speed of the processor and only 1GB of memory would seem to indicate an older iMac.


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Why do you think
by Jimmy Greystone / November 23, 2010 9:56 PM PST
In reply to: RE:

Why do you think you have a lack of RAM?

Modern operating systems, which is to say pretty much everything after DOS, all work on the same fundamental principle: Free RAM is wasted RAM.

It's better to cache a bunch of data in RAM than have to read it off the HDD, because even the fastest HDD today is probably still a few hundred times slower than the first RAM ever used in computers. Move that up to today, and we're probably talking millions of times slower. The OS will automatically juggle these things. If no other app needs this memory, and Program X is requesting it, the OS will give it to Program X. If you then load Program Y, it will take some of the memory back from Program X when there is none left in the general pool. This is all done automatically, you don't need to do anything. We've come a long ways since the days of DOS where you had to keep a constant watch on the amount of RAM, and then the "System Memory" that plagued Windows95-Me. AFAIK, none of the Mac OS versions ever suffered from this particular problem. Certainly not Mac OS X, which has a Unix kernel at its core. Unix being an OS designed for 24/7/365 operations.

Anyway, just repeat after me: Free RAM is wasted RAM.

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by Fala_1 / November 23, 2010 11:05 PM PST
In reply to: Why do you think

I'm repeating right after you; Free RAM is wasted RAM. However I came up with it first. See I did not think I needed more RAM but Mrmacfixit thought otherwise. What I was thinking was that if I had any problems with the scale of my operations I'd simply scale down rather than having to go and get more RAM. The reason I have this opinion is that there's still a lot of space available in the hard drive and I do not really use applications that take up a lot of memory so whatever it is I think I can better manage my files. Its advice about this that I need if indeed it is just a problem with memory. Thank you for your comments and please help me to solve my problem by sharing the tips that help conserve memory or at least identify what could be slowing down the system. Cheers!

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In a system that old
by Jimmy Greystone / November 24, 2010 9:36 AM PST
In reply to: FREE RAM IS.

In a system that old, I wouldn't be surprised if the HDD is starting to give out. A bum HDD can have a pretty dramatic effect on overall system performance.

Apple Hardware Test isn't really the most rigorous of tests. It basically just checks the SMART status of the drive. I work as a repair tech on Apple systems, and out of the maybe 50-60 HDDs I've replaced, only 2 have been because the SMART status is shown as failing.

If you can manage it, take the thing into an Apple store, where they usually won't charge you for a simple diagnostic like that. They have some big boy tools that can do a far more thorough job of checking the drive. AHT just looks for obvious things. Just keep in mind that the really thorough test can take over 2 hours, so bring a book or plan to be otherwise occupied.

You should also try sorting processes in activity monitor by CPU use. You may have a race condition on some process. Just remember anything named "idle" or "system idle" or anything like that, is perfectly normal to have very high CPU use.

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