Chapter 14: Mac Maintenance and Administrative Actions

Chapter 14: Mac Maintenance and Administrative Actions


(Or: How to keep your Mac in tip-top shape.)

Thus far in the book I've showed you how to better use OS X and, I hope, how to better understand it. However, in this chapter I'm going to take a detour and spend some time showing you how to keep your Mac running smoothly, and how to perform some basic administrative tasks. I'll cover routine disk maintenance and repair; disk fragmentation and optimization; clearing cache files; and using Unix cleanup routines. I'll also talk about reading log files, adjusting application priorities, and automating and scheduling tasks. Finally—and possibly most importantly—I'll cover some basics about backups.

The contents of this chapter will help to ensure that you can actually use your Mac—in other words, you can spend your time enjoying OS X instead of worrying about disk problems, slowdowns, and lost files. In addition, you'll learn a few tricks that will let you run your Mac like a pro.


In the interest of readability, in this chapter I use the terms drive, disk, and volume interchangeably.