13" aluminum unibody, 2.0 or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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MacBook gets very slow

My MacBook (aluminuim, 2008) gets very slow few weeks ago. Startup and every other actions like opening safari and others takes significantly more time than earlier (startup about 5min, safari startup almost 1min), the colored spinning circle is appearing all the time. It happened to me already a year ago, but back there MacBook was still in warranty so I put him to repair and they replaced the hdd. It seems odd to me that I will get wrong piece for second time so do you think there is any other solution than replacing hdd?

Thanks a lot!

PS: I ran disk utility repairs several times and after each it gets little bit faster but on next startup it gets bad again.

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Bad HDD will cause behavior like this. So can some other things. like a recent OS update. Run your Apple Hardware Test and see what it says.

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A system that is getting slow often does so because of fragmentation of the data and not having enough free space to swap out (more so in limited memory based systems).

First do you have at least 10% free of disk space on your HD?

Have you ever defraged your HD?

If the answer to both of these questions is no you need to do some basic housecleaning. How you do this then becomes the question.

Do you have a spare (clean) external FireWire 800 drive that is the same size if not bigger than your internal HD which you can use to copy your files to? If you do this is the fastest way to clean things up. Just copy the entire Internal HD to the external (drag the HD icon over to the other HD). Once your files are copied over go into prefs and change out the boot drive to the external and restart making sure your external is the active boot HD. If you have problems at this point you will need to figure out why before proceeding. Once your sure delete all of your files on the internal HD and empty the trash (hold the Option key) so protected files are also trashed. Then copy back from the external HD your files. At this point in time think about what files you don't need to copy back to leave some space.

The other option is getting a defrag program I like 'Drive Genius' but others will also work. Before you use you will need to free up about a 1/4 of the HD to make room for it to work effectively. It also will take more time to run though. I would still backup all my files to an external HD (like above).

One thing I like to do is setup two (three on larger HD's) partitions on my systems HD's where the first holds my Apps and the second holds my data. That way once this is done I only need to have my OS backup HD hold my Apps and then I have a second backup HD which I use backup program to backup the data partition so only altered or new files are backed up (Apples Time Machine will also work here (newest version). The OS backup HD give me a way to switch out the bootable HD so I can defrag the HD twice a year.

In any case you may also want to increase the amount of memory and if you can't free up free space on your current HD (too small) think about using the first method to prep a new larger HD to swap out your current HD.

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Another helpful program to remove unused languages is monolingual. Link to program included. This frees up several GB of HD space if you don't need those languages. +

http://monolingual.sourceforge.net/

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I've thought that defragmentation is just NTFS problem? I also have very much free space (200GB of 320GB i think). And also i dont think it is memory's problem, according to activity monitor its not full. Apple Hardware Test din not show nothink just little bit speed up sytem, but on the next startup its again unusable slow...im affraid that i will have to gat it to service and pay for rapair :/

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File fragmentation is an issue with any OS, some more so than others. The file system in its' self is not the issue its how the OS works thats key here. Microsoft uses paging to write memory blocks to the HD it still needs. Once the given App is closed it will write out to the HD what it needs as a saved file and then free up the page space for the next app. As MS OS apps are moving from 16bit to 32bit and now to 64 bit the amount of paging has reduced. That is as long as you have enough RAM memory. In the case of Apple we made the leap with OS-X to 32bit apps and now many are 64bit so the memory usage is less so the swap file is much smaller than MS's page system. In any case a full HD makes things worse and over time things just get frag'ed. I clean my systems once a year of old junk and defrag them (all of my OS's).

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Helmut - Have you run 'Software Update' this last week? If not I would recommend doing so ASAP. We got hit with some Java malware which can also slow your system down. I would also disable Java within Safari as well (for now).

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Dan gives some good advice here but dragging the hard drive to an external is not a good one as you will lose settings and passwords. Cloning the drive obviates these issues. Use something like SuperDuper (free), to do this: http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/S...

Then use Time Machine to keep a backup of your possibly failing hard drive. If you hear the hard drive clicking, do this ASAP. Most hard drives have some bad blocks. Doing a reformat using the "write zeros" option will map these blocks out so that data isn't written to them. Then restore from your clone. As cheap as these external hard drives are now, there's really no excuse not to backup your drive. It can also be used for movie, picture and music storage. Just get one larger than your internal drive.

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Mayer this still works with OS-X as long as you have a clean HD (no system files on it). If you are trying to rebuild your system files onto a HD which has a fresh OS-X on it you are very correct you will loose your settings. You could also use Apples system migration services to obtain the same thing. I agree its foolish not having a backup on an external HD (especially with laptops).

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in fact i dont have any importat things on laptop (i also have desktop with win). Only thing is: are you realy sure that complete reinstall and reformating will help?

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Helmut - You don't need to reformat the HD or do a complete reinstall to clean things up. If you really think the HD has a format issue you can do that with the Apple Disk Util as Mayer recommended. You shouldn't need to install a fresh OS on it (if you have a full backup). But, before you go down this path did you run Software Update and make a full backup onto an external HD and see if booting up on the external HD made any difference?

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helmut bartl will be eternally grateful.
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