Keep Your Mac Running Smoothly with Onyx
Yesterday I posted an article on how to maintenance your Windows computer with a piece of software called CCleaner. If you are interested in that article it can be found here
It came to my attention that there are more and more Mac users out there everyday (which makes me happy…I am a Mac user myself). So I thought it would be a good idea to write a similar article for the Mac. Generally, Macs do not require as much maintenance as Windows computers, but they do get junked up as well and need a good cleaning now and then 🙂
Fortunately there are several applications that are free to download that do an excellent job. My favorite and the one I’m going to introduce to you is called Onyx. It is very user friendly and simple to use. But, don’t let those attributes fool you, it is a very efficient and powerful tool.
To begin you will need to download the installer package. You can do a Google search for the words “onyx mac” and it should be the first entry or you can follow the link.
Once you arrive to the website you will notice that there are two download links at the top of the page. For this tutorial click the “Download Now” link to begin. The other link is to download a beta version, which in a nutshell is still in experimental stages, but will probably become the next version release. Don’t worry about downloading this one.
After you have downloaded the installer package. Double click on it to open it up. If you have just recently purchased a Mac and are not familiar with the file system, the installer package can most likely be found in the download folder which is located at:
Once you find this file go ahead and double click it. You should see this screen appear:
The main window should appear on your screen along with a prompt asking to check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive.
Once that check has completed successfully it will let you know if it found any errors. If it didn’t then it moves on to the next check and you should see this screen.
Now you should be at the following screen. It looks more or less like a toolbar in the middle of your screen. There are several options that you can use, but for the simplest use, click the Automation button.
You should see the following window appear on your screen.
After Onyx has finished running you will see the confirmation box
You will now see another dialog box with options to restart or shut down your computer. Either way your computer needs to be restarted in order for the changes to take effect.
To install the application drag the icon to your application folder. Once this process has completed go to your application folder and click on newly installed icon.[/dt_list_item]
While this feature can be disabled it is always best to run the check to ensure the integrity of your hard drive. S.M.A.R.T. stands for “Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology”. Basically this checks the reliability of the hard drive to anticipate errors. This is useful to you because if it reports errors, you know it’s time to go buy a new hard drive so that you won’t lose any of your important data. Click “Continue” to run the check.
This also verifies your hard drive but in a different manner. If you have two hard drives it only checks the one that your system boots from. Go ahead and click “Continue”. You should see a progress bar while the test is being run. When it is finished you will receive a confirmation that the test is complete. If there were errors you will also be notified and this usually means that the disk permissions need to be repaired. I will post a separate article on that subject immediately following this article. If all is well you will be prompted to enter you administrator password. The application needs to have admin access in order to be able to properly fix everything. Sometimes a default help screen will also appear. If you are interested feel free to read through it, if you are comfortable enough to continue you can close this window.
It is safe to leave all the default settings checked. You’ll notice that there three sections. Maintenance, rebuilding and cleaning. The maintenance runs pre-loaded scripts and repairs any disk permission errors. Disk permission errors occur when an application installer fails to reset the original permission. When applications install they need permission to change system files and sometimes they don’t get changed back. If you install an application by dragging it to the application folder like you did with Onyx you are generally okay, but when an application has its own installer, which is probably what most people are used to, then I would suggest running Onyx to check and fix any permissions that need repairing. It’s somewhat of a confusing subject I will dive into it in detail later on. The rebuilding section basically rebuilds certain caches and re-indexes the hard drive for the Spotlight search. The cleanup section gets rid of any junk files that have built up over time.
Go ahead and click the “Execute” button. The program will warn you that it is about to close any open programs, so make sure if you have anything open you need to save, now is the time to do it before you click “OK”. Once you click “OK” you will see the application start to run. Sometimes this can take a while so don’t worry if it does. It
Go ahead and click “OK”.
I would recommend selecting “Restart”. Once you have clicked the button your computer will restart and you should be good to go!!!
Depending on how much you use your computer really dictates how often you should run Onyx, but I would suggest getting in the habit of running it at least once a week. I personally follow this schedule and my Mac has never given me any problems and still remains just as fast and speedy as it was the day I bought it! I hope you have found this article useful. During Step #5 I brought up the subject of Disk Permissions and I plan to do a separate article explaining exactly what these are and how they affect your Mac computer. Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave comments if this article helped you or if you have any questions.
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