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Know your Mac processes / Slow i7 MBP - used to be fast


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I wanted to share a nice tool for checking up on Mac system processes.  Nice listing with user input.

 

http://triviaware.com/macprocess/all

 

Open activity monitor, run through and look for any suspicious processes.  Search that page and see if they're known and what they are.

 

This came up because I'm using someone's macbook right now and it's not running right for some reason.  I'm only getting ~6-15 Mbps on a network that I know is running at well over 25-50 Mbps.  

 

ODhANIy.png

 

immediately before I tested on my iPhone 5s and got 28 Mbps on the same 12MB test, same network.  

 

Multithread back on the laptop moments later

 

48UF09X.png

 

Back to single thread, this time to dc.testmy.net

 

gTobY02.png

 

Frustrating.  I know it should perform better.  My macbook is pulling the same tests just fine...

 

RYTzDpv.png

 

So then I make sure that there isn't a hard drive performance issue.  I'm looking at the protective case on this and the corners are all busted up so a drop may have degraded performance…  well worth testing, I've seen many times where slow hdd performance affects results here.

 

Open diskutil and create a test image on the desktop and monitor the speed with activity monitor.

 

post-2-0-82364300-1409848575.png

 

Doesn't seem too unreasonable for a mechanical hdd.

 

I'm going to keep investigating.  There is definitely something holding this back.  Things are noticeably laggy.  Even when I click links in the browser there is a slight delay.  Her browsers were set to some spammy yahoo landing page (looked like yahoo but was an affiliate thing) and there were toolbars and crap in the browsers.  But I looked through the processes and I didn't see anything that stood out.  Even after resetting the browser it still has the lag and low TMN results.  I really don't think I'm dealing with a software issue here.

 

I feel like it's a hardware issue and on re-testing the hard drive I got this...

 

post-2-0-03779900-1409850247.png

 

Duplicating the image from my first test the performance this time was up and down.  Taking much longer than my first test.  There should be a flat top on that graph if it was running right.  Seems that her dropping this a few times may have been the cause.  The evidence is on 3 of the 4 corners.  I'm going to recommend that she swaps to SSD, hopefully that will resolve the issue and get her back up to speed.  But some other internals may have been damaged and be affecting the southbridge performance overall… who knows. I think she has Apple care so maybe just have them look at it before jumping to conclusions.  All I know right now is that it's NOT right.

 

It's crazy how many things can affect results here, it's really more of a computer benchmark (at higher speeds) than just a simple Internet benchmark.  This laptop is running noticeably slower than the last time I used it… test it and sure enough the TMN results reflect what I feel.  I just wish it would tell me what's actually wrong in detail.   :-P

 

She doesn't even realize that there's an issue, I was just using her laptop and it felt wrong so I started testing and digging.  I haven't even told her yet.  It really doesn't run THAT bad.  She might not notice it but to me… … …  ...it's frustratingly slow and very obvious.  Clicking on things that are normally instantly interactive, "Hello, I clicked that 1.3 seconds ago!  WTF!"  --- it's an i7 MBP with 4GB of RAM… it shouldn't run like this.  Especially since I've seen this same laptop test over 110 Mbps at my house.

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Try shutting down, then restarting in safe mode. Hold shift key down when you hear the startup chime. This cleans out some stuff.

If you can, boot from another HDD with a clean install OS and see if that makes a difference.

You can look in the main root directory Library and see if there are any odd looking files in the LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folder. Not the Library in the System folder, but the Library folder at the top level of the int HDD.

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Try shutting down, then restarting in safe mode. Hold shift key down when you hear the startup chime. This cleans out some stuff.

If you can, boot from another HDD with a clean install OS and see if that makes a difference.

You can look in the main root directory Library and see if there are any odd looking files in the LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folder. Not the Library in the System folder, but the Library folder at the top level of the int HDD.

 

Thanks dude, that seems to have helped… at least for the Internet speed and the odd laggy behavior.  It feels much better...

 

69LapiP.png

 

I'm still seeing degraded HDD performance however, so there must have been more than one issue going on here.

 

post-2-0-60970400-1409951557.png

 

Big dip and still slower and took far longer than I would expect.  Not all seesaw like before.  It feels noticeably better but still not 100%.  

 

I talked to her about it and she said that right after she dropped it she could tell that it was immediately slower.  I'm telling her to make sure she has backups because who knows how much longer it will last.  Soon as she's comfortable she'll be upgrading it to SSD.  I think it will last till then with only degraded performance.

 

So does safe mode in OSX actually realign settings or something?  The only other thing I did while it was in safe mode was remove a couple .plist files from those folders.  For adobe crap and a couple of other well know programs… nothing fishy.  Besides that I just rebooted and seems to have helped quite a bit.

 

Thanks for the recommendations.  You rule!   :headbang:

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I'm not sure what exactly happens when you boot in safe mode, but I've seen comments on Apple's Discussion Forums where for some odd problems, they have recommended doing it. I'm guessing it clears out caches, zaps p-ram ? I don't know if it does anything outside of the System folder. I should probably read up on it. Every once in a while I do it "just because". Haha.

If you had a bootable OS on an external drive it would be interesting to compare the drive speeds. I don't think the HDDs they put in the laptops are particularly fast, their usually low power designs at 5400 rpm. Not sure about hers. I'm not sure it'll be very easy to replace that HDD. Check iFixit for that model.

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If you had a bootable OS on an external drive it would be interesting to compare the drive speeds. I don't think the HDDs they put in the laptops are particularly fast, their usually low power designs at 5400 rpm. 

 

I've seen it perform better on the same dmg creation, when she first got the laptop I did the same test.  

 

I'd like to test that too but I'm 1400 miles from all my stuff.  I'll see her again in about a month for a family wedding so I'll bring a spare SSD and external connections.  That will tell the tale.

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From Apple's support site:

What is "Safe Mode"?

Safe Mode is a way to start up your Mac that performs certain checks and prevents certain software from automatically loading or opening.

Starting up in Safe Mode does several things:

It forces a check of the startup volume, just like the First Aid feature of Disk Utility. You may see a progress bar on the screen during this check, and the computer takes longer than usual to complete its startup.

It loads only required kernel extensions.

It disables all fonts installed by the user.

It moves font caches to the Trash that are stored in /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/(uid)/ – where (uid) is a user ID number such as 501 (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).

It disables all startup items and login items in Mac OS X v10.4 or later.

In Mac OS X v10.3.9 or earlier, Safe Mode opens only Apple-installed startup items (such items may be installed either in /Library/StartupItems or in /System/Library/StartupItems). These items are different from user-selected account login items.

Taken together, these changes can help resolve or isolate certain issues that exist on the startup volume.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1564
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i don't do it very often either, maybe twice a year.  i don't buy any 3rd party clean-your-Mac or speed-up-your-Mac kind of software. i used to buy that stuff but the benefit per dollar spent per year on it never seemed to be worth it. the safe boot along with disk utility has served me well for a long time now just as periodic checker-tweakers. the only real issues i've had in years have been related to iCloud syncing across 3 devices (two iOS and one Mac) where one or more of them will not be the same-like Reminders or Calendars. iCloud is still pretty new.

 

and Apple's support forum has some pretty sharp people that provide answers pretty quickly. the level 8 thru 10 guys there usually have the right answer, and they are more familiar with where certain Apple support documentation is. 

 

one lesson i learned was - don't knock a Firewire cable out out of a peripheral drive during a Time Machine backup. the cable came out of one drive in the last drive in the chain (and it wasn't the Time machine backup drive). the result was pretty ugly. the backup volume got corrupted, and i had to format it. the last drive in the chain wouldn't even mount until i not only powered down the computer but had to de-power all the firewire drives. the lesson learned was when you have a house cleaning service person come, shut EVERYTHING down.

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