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Hard Drive Maintenance on a Mac

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#1 loftus


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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:26 AM

Ever since I've owned a Mac (25 years), I've simply turned them on, and used them indefinitely till I upgraded, occasionally a drive crashed etc.
I was looking at Drive Genius software in the Mac store today and started to think I should be doing more to optimize hard drive operation etc. I know nothing about partitioning, defragmenting etc. The most I've ever done is use Utilities to Repair Permissions.
I'd like to know what the Mac gurus do to optimize their machines; partition discs, defrag schedule etc, and anything else you do to keep your Mac running as fast and smooth as possible.
Also like to hear how you divide your drives ( particularly on a desktop) separating the Boot drive from the drive you use to store images, video etc.
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#2 echeng


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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:36 AM

Jeff - The Mac filesystem auto defrags, so you never need to defrag, and the OS automatically runs maintenance. If you want to kick off maintenance manually, you can use a program like Onyx.

If you want to know the details of how OS X takes measures to reduce fragmentation, you can read more about it here:

Don't really need to do anything, though.

As for partitions, I like to have OS and apps on one partition, and user folder on another. This isn't recommended, however, unless you really know what you're doing, because remapping the user folder to another volume is not straightforward. I think I do this because I used to be a Windows user and had to re-install everything every 6 months to keep my machine running well. Maybe I'll stop, now that I never re-install anymore...
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#3 TheRealDrew


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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:30 AM

I have a ton of things, such as Drive Genius, DiskWarrior and the rest. Basically never use them at all as Eric mentioned. Though Diskwarrior is a great tool to have the rare times I need it. Onyx is also a great utility, but be careful because it can break things. But once in awhile for locked files and the rest it is nice to have around. But these really troubleshooting the rare times it is needed.

On the towers I keep the OS and Apps on one drive and everything else on other drives (not partitions on the same drives) as much as possible. The less you have on the Boot Drive (more empty space), the better. The rule that was bandied about was at least 20% of the drives capacity should be empty, though the number varies depending on who you speak with. For things like music, iPhoto/Aperture libraries and other items it is real easy to do. You can point to the libraries quickly by holding option key down to let the apps know where the things are. I also move templates from Final Cut Studio, for instance, to the other drives. Keeping the desktop clean (and I am guilty of cluttered desktops) can help with performance.

#4 CompuDude


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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:31 PM

DiskWarrior is the only commercial tool you need. Add Onyx if you occasionally want some manual control, but there is little that's needed other than DW and the built-in system utilities to keep the hard drive happy on a Mac.