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Does Mac need a file cleaner? What do I have to do to keep my Mac running good?
Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:59 PM
I have been with PC's since they came out but now I have a new Mac and have no clue what to do about keeping my Mac in overall good health.....
The good news: you don't have to do very much.
I wrote the following a while back for another forum, but all of it applies to any new Mac user so if you don't mind I'll just cut-and-paste it here. Ignore any parts that don't apply to you, and the answer to your specific question is covered in Point 7:
My usual recommendations for new Mac users switching from Windows:
1. Follow Apple's intentions until you find a genuine good reason not to.
For example, when you get your Mac you'll notice some folders have already been set up, like Movies, Pictures, Documents etc. That's where those sorts of things should go (and the default programs will put them there automatically), and Apple has good reasons for this. Until you get into a situation where you *need* an alternative arrangement, just go with Apple's flow. Don't trash the "Music" folder just because you don't plan on loading any music on. Don't keep all your crap all over the desktop. Don't install an anti-virus, and DON'T tinker around in the System and Library folders. Which leads me to:
2. Use Apple's default programs until you find a genuine reason not to do so.
There are plenty of great alternatives to the programs that come bundled on your Mac, but unlike in the Windows world, the bundled programs on your Mac are **INCREDIBLE** in terms of quality and design. You will be blown away. I know some people prefer (for example) Firefox to Safari, or Entourage (soon to be Outlook) to Mail, but AT FIRST, while you're learning the Mac, use the programs Apple supplied. Especially iTunes, which will not only amaze you as you explore it, but will also subtly teach you how most other Apple programs work.
3. Don't pirate. Pay for what you use.
I'm not speaking to you directly on this, but in general Windows users pirate like crazy -- to the point that they are not even aware that they're doing it. Particularly when it comes to software, the Mac platform NEEDS to retain the best programmers, and that means those programmers should be paid for their work. Hunt for bargains, take advantage of sales, but I think you'll find that most Mac software is of WAY higher quality than most Windows software, and we really like it that way, so please pay for what you use.
As for entertainment, I think you'll find iTunes so much easier and more enjoyable (and for the most part reasonably priced) to use you'll appreciate the value. As my dad always said, "Nothing is ever really free. You always pay Peter when you rob Paul." This is why Mac users sometimes come off smug -- because we understand VALUE versus just PRICE.
4. I know it's hard to believe, but security is handled, and its a non-issue to you.
What (very) little "malware" (not to be confused with viruses) exists out there for the Mac is all non-critical "trickware" that relies on you being stupid (specifically by downloading "porn codecs" and pirated software). So don't do those things. Your machine ships with its ports closed, in stealth mode (right out of the box), no viruses no hackers. Your best "protection" against any future problems (not that I expect any) is to stay in touch with the Mac "community" via forums like these. Should a miracle occur and a virus for OS X develops, you'll hear all about it here MONTHS before it has a snowball's chance of actually reaching you. But again, there are very sound reasons why this will probably never happen.
5. Watching videos.
One of the very few areas where the Mac is lacking "out of the box" (apart from a complete lack of bundled Solitaire [!!!]) is in full support of the million-plus various Windows video codecs out there. So, after you get settled in and start running around on the web, download Flip4Mac WMV Player and Perian (both free) and install them. You should also keep VLC around as an alternate player. This will make video support a non-issue 98% of the time.
6. Switch 101. Visit.
7. Macs don't need much maintenance, but they do need a little.
The primary thing you should do is use Time Machine and/or a clone program (like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner) to back up your stuff to an external drive. They make it bone simple and automatic.
The occasional (repeat, OCCASIONAL) running of a maintenance program like the simply-named (and free) Maintenance should take care of everything else. The Mac is surprisingly self-maintaining but it still needs your occasional attention. Another important tip: keep a fair amount of HD space free at all times. This won't be a real issue at first, but over time you will start to fill up that hard drive. I always tell people to keep AT LEAST 12GB free at *all* times. Mac OS X needs a lot of "elbow room" for temp files, virtual RAM and other functions. Once you go much below that, you're asking for problems and may see the machine palpably slow down.
8. SERIOUSLY, keep liquids and foods away from your computer.
We all like to drink and eat at our desk. We're nerds, that's what we do. But you would NOT BELIEVE how many posts in any given Mac forum start off "so I had this beer (wine, soda, acid, grape juice, etc) ..."
Keep the liquids and food far enough away from the Mac that if you spill something you have time to clean it up before it reaches the machine. DO NOT drink over a laptop, DO NOT drop crumbs in your keyboard. It seems like a common sense thing but you'd be surprised. People rely on computers so much that they forget they cost $1,000-plus to fix when you do The Stupid Thing You Did. And no, stupidity is not covered under warranty.
9. Don't put Windows on right away. Learn the Mac first.
Too many switchers use the Mac's ability to run Windows as a "crutch" to allow them to continue the bad habits that made Windows such a hassle in the first place. It's important that you UNlearn a lot of what you learned about Windows in order to really go beyond the basics of the Mac and enjoy its full awesomeness. Certainly people have perfectly valid reasons for perhaps installing Windows on down the line, but I think it's really important to immerse yourself in the Mac "mindset" and really spend time getting the whole Mac experience down pat before going back to Windows.
10. Keep in touch.
There are tonnes of great resources for Mac users and enthusiasts. This is one of them. Ask your "dumb" questions. We'll answer them with a smile!
This post has been edited by chas_m: 17 May 2010 - 06:00 PM
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