March 14

Accelerating Your Boot Speed
How to get up and running faster

By David Nagel
Senior producer

The first time you start up your new Mac, you're struck by the awesome, blazing speed at which your machine actually boots. Over the course of the following week, you add some new software; you put in more RAM; and you get yourself all connected up to the network. Old extensions overwrite your newer ones as software installers indiscriminately load their archaic drivers and libraries. Things get slower. After about a month, your new Mac is running like your old one, and there doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it. Well, stop your whining. Here are a couple of tips to get things rolling.

1. Hold down the Command and Option keys and open up your Memory Control Panel in the Apple menu. Holding down these two keys will enable an on and off switch for Startup Memory Tests. If you have installed a bunch of memory, these tests can slow down the start-up process. Turn them off. (If you're worried about knowing whether your memory works, turn on your computer. If it boots, your memory works. No need for tests to tell you that.)

2. To give credit where credit's due, this one belongs to the good folks at Mac Fix It, who solved this one on their own through good, old-fashioned trial and error. Open up your System Folder and look for a folder called Servers. Open it up. If there's something in there, trash it. (But don't trash it if it's a server you regularly use.) This folder contains information for any server you've ever logged into on a local area network (and checked to mount at startup) and scans the network for these servers. Eliminating the contents will boost the speed at which your system mounts local drives.

Bonus: This won't get your Mac starting up any faster, but it will improve your performance dramatically. Go to your Control Panels and open up General Controls. Turn off "menu blinking." You'll be amazed at how much faster this makes your Mac feel.

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