Running slow and quirky

I took my 2009 15" macbook in to make sure all was ok before the warranty ran out. Was running ok and then ever since then it has been running worse than before I took it in and it has been wiped clean. The only things I put back on were itunes and a few documents. It should be running like lightning but it is slower than it was. I have kept up on updates and used disk utilities to clean it up but not much change. I can't afford another mac right now and need some help. Would investing in replacing my hard drive help? I appreciate any help. Thanks.

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Many things can effect computer "speed". The best investment to increase computing speed is to Max out your RAM, the next would be to eliminate "startup" or Login programs: from System Preferences->Accounts:Log in Items.

Often programs install themselves here without the user knowing it. If one of these login programs is waiting for an internet connection, and there is none, it could slow your machine. If you have corrupt files or fonts, it could slow your machine. You've already remarked about free space on the HD. Lastly if your processor is starting to fail, it could slow your machine.

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Ok, I so appreciate everyones feed back but I am not very computer savvy, so I am not sure what you mean but Maxing out my RAM. I eliminated all start ups and got rid of everything from dashboard. But basically everything is gone that was on my mac after I took it in. (It's all my my ext. hard drive still) I have been scared to put anything back on because I am concerned it will slow it down even more and it's frustrating because files I need are all on the ext. hard drive and I have a very large one( not easy to carry around)

Is there anything I can add to my mac that might help? Do all macs start to decline over the years? Mine is only 3 yrs. old and know many people who have had theres longer and are still doing good. Like I said I am not comp. savvy but I have figured out many things from tutorials and such but i need step by step instructions so i know I'm doing them right. If you have any other thoughts on my situation I would greatly appreciate it.

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You keep saying "running slow" when? Doing what exactly? What's you comparison? Max RAM means to put the most amount of RAM (memory) possible in your machine... for your model that should be 8GB - on two 4GB chips. (You don't specify your exact model so that's guess.) Unless you have very large video (audio or graphics) files the number of files on a HD don't affect speed... having a full HD can.

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Your machine should not be having a noticeable slow down. I would reformat the drive using the "write zeros" option to map out any bad blocks that may have developed and then reinstall the system. Also follow macheads advice.

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I am interested in reformatting the mac again but what do u mean by using the "Write zeros" option and where do I find that? I am not very comp. savvy but can follow step by step directions easier. So I am going to give reformatting a try and see what happens. Thanks to all of you for your responses and help.

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When you format, there is an options box. By selecting the write zeros option, the computer will actually write to every block n the hard drive. The directory keeps a record of any bad blocks it finds and will not write to those sectors again. If that is all that's wrong with the drive and you don't have to many of these bad blocks, your drive can continue to operate just fine.

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Another issue could be that your heatsinks might have a bit of dust on them, causing the machine to run hotter, which would cause it to throttle itself so it doesn't have a meltdown. If you've never cleaned them out, that would also be a good place to start.

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When I took my mac to Apple they were have supposed to have cleaned everything (for Dust) inside and they cleaned the mac and reinstalled Leopard. They only files from my external hard drive i put back on were itunes and iphoto and have added very few documents since. Pretty much everything else is still on my extrn. hard drive. So, like I said I keep up with updates and use the disk util. to do what I can but I still keep getting the spin wheel and it is still running slow. I will try to do a re instal myself and see what happens. Sure does suck when your coverage is up and they won't let you purchase even another year. And I LOVE MY MAC! Don't think I'll ever go back to a PC. Thanks for the help. :)

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If it were running hot I would think you'd notice the fan noise and that they are always on, and running full tilt.

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Get an SSD. Computers without SSDs are unusably slow. When I sit in front of a machine with a hard drive, even a new hard drive, I cannot stand it. It is unusably slow and laggy to me. Mechanical parts belong in fans, not primary operating system storage mediums.

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Laura will be eternally grateful.
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