Is Your Mac Slow? - Old Programs?

While there are many things that can cause your Mac to run slowly, this blog entry is aimed at users who have migrated from earlier Macs.

At Bob LeVitus Consulting, we work with many customers. More than a few have been using Macintosh computers for many years. They may have owned four or even more earlier Macs. When they purchase a new computer, they use the Migration Assistant that appears as a part of the set-up process to move their older files and applications to their new computer.
While there are many things that can cause your Mac to run slowly, this blog entry is aimed at users who have migrated from earlier Macs.

At Bob LeVitus Consulting, we work with many customers. More than a few have been using Macintosh computers for many years. They may have owned four or even more earlier Macs. When they purchase a new computer, they use the Migration Assistant that appears as a part of the set-up process to move their older files and applications to their new computer.

There is NOTHING wrong with migrating files and programs from your older computer. In fact I often use it when I help clients set up new computers and I recommend it frequently.

However, it does bring older programs with it, and if you have one of the newer Intel Macintoshes, you may be running applications that cause your computer to use Rosetta.

Rosetta is a part of the Mac OS X for Intel operating system. It allows older applications that were written for PowerPC processors to run on Macs with Intel Processors.

When Apple introduced its computers with Intel processors, they encouraged developers to update their applications to run in Universal Binary. While many applications were upgraded, many were not. An example is AppleWorks. Apple chose not to upgrade it, but instead to write a totally new suite of programs to replace AppleWorks. It is called iWork.

If you have an Intel Macintosh, you can still use AppleWorks. It will not slow your computer down much because it does not rely heavily on graphics. However, other programs, particularly games and even old web browsers may slow your computer down.

Just storing older programs on your computer’s hard drive does not slow your computer down but when they are running, you may find that your computer is slower.

You can use Activity Monitor to see if you are running any PowerPC programs. To open it, open your Applications Folder. Then go to the Utilities folder and look for Activity Monitor.



When you open Activity Monitor, nothing will show. To see its window, click on its icon in your Dock .



You will need to see the column labeled “Kind.” If you cannot see it, drag the lower right corner of the window to enlarge it. Then click on the Kind label and scroll through the list. If you see PowerPC in the list, you are running an application that is using Rosetta so that it will work on your computer. If you have an Intel Mac, you may want to look for an update for the application.

If you would like to see all the applications that are on your computer and see whether they are Intel, Universal or PowerPC, you can use the System Profiler.

The easiest way to open it is to use the About this Mac command in the Apple Menu. Click on the More Info… button.



In the System Profiler window choose Software > Applications in the left column. Pull the tab in the lower right corner of the window to make it large enough to see the Kind column. Then click on the Kind column label to sort the applications by kind.



You will probably find that you have many PowerPC applications. You will probably find some that you do not recognize. There will be applications listed that are used by another application. For example, the application Archive Search is used by StuffIt. If you eliminate Archive Search, StuffIt will not work. This is not the place to begin housekeeping just because you do not recognize an application’s name!

Not all applications will be updated. Some developers will decide it is too much trouble. The will abandon the software. Others will make a new application based on the old one, but with so many new features that they will give it a new name. Other software will have become obsolete.

You can find applications that have not been modified in a long time by clicking the Last Modified column in System Profiler. If the date listed is several years old, look for a newer version. There are several web sites that make it easy to determine if applications have been updated. The ones I use the most are VersionTracker.com and MacUpdate.com. Download and the latest version of the application. You may need to delete the earlier version if it was not deleted when you installed the update.

Keeping your applications up-to-date may help your computer run faster when you are using them and it will make sure that bugs that have been discovered in applications are eliminated.

Some Macintosh users need a little help to keep their computer up-to-date. That is one of the services that we provide at Bob LeVitus Consulting. Give us a call at (408) 627-7577 and we can discuss the particulars.

Happy Computing!

--Pat

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