Speed Up Your Old Mac For Free!

Posted on July 17, 2010


 Do you have an old iMac G3 or a more recent G4 Mac? Do you actually still use it? Well if you do, you should take some steps to make them a little faster. The process isn’t too painful, depending on what you want to do.


            First off, if you’re using it as a main computer that has a lot of important stuff on it, a reinstall of the operating system is probably out of the question. In this case, you should take a look at things you don’t need anymore. Just how much junk do you need on your old Mac? One program that could help you is DaisyDisk. While DaisyDisk is Leopard and above only, it should help speed up your Leopard-based G4 Mac. You can scan your hard drive, see what is taking up the most space, and delete it. Wondering what apps are taking the most room? DaisyDisk. I use this app every month or so to make sure my Mac Mini is running as fast as it can.


            Some other things do to if you’re against reinstalling your OS are disabling unnecessary sharing options. Do you really need to share your DVD or CD drive? Remote Login? Web sharing? If you don’t need it, disable it. You can always enable it if you need it.


            Other than those two tips, the best thing to do is a fresh installation. Find the highest operating system your Mac will support and go down a notch. Trust me on this. If you have a G4 capable of running Leopard, go with Tiger. If you have a G3 or a G4 that can’t run Leopard, it’s all up to you on choosing between Panther and Tiger. You have to think about what features you still want to have. Personally, Tiger runs fine on my iMac G3, but that is because it is a pretty trippy iMac G3. 600 mHz G3 and 1GB of RAM is a decent system to run Tiger. It might be a bit slow, but it runs fine. I’d install Panther on it, but I really need Tiger’s functionality on it. If you can live without the functionality of Leopard on your G4 or Tiger on your G3, go with the next step down. You’ll thank me for all the speed you get now.


            Of course, these older operating systems no longer get security updates, so take that into consideration. You also have to think about the fact that less and less apps are being created to support Tiger, and even less are being created for Panther. If you don’t want to have to worry about this, go ahead and use the highest your system provides. It may run slowly, but you’ll have all the features and support of the newer operating system.


            So in the end, it’s all up to you. Do you want speed or features? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have both too, but you have to choose. And if you don’t like the lack of features in an older OS, you can always upgrade your installation to the next step up. I would advise against it, however, because a clean installation always performs better than an upgrade.


            Of course, you can always just opt to install a PowerPC-compatible version of your favorite Linux distribution. Be warned, though, that it isn’t always easy or practical. I’d recommend getting someone experienced in the world of Linux to help you out.


So that’s it. Uninstall unnecessary apps, clean up, and reinstall your operating system if you still aren’t satisfied. Let’s get these beautiful old machines back up and running! 🙂

Gavin Roskamp – GTT

You can see more of Gavin’s work at his site here.

Tagged: , , , ,
Posted in: Apple, How To, Tips