Mac Slow On Startup? Quick Fixes

Is your Mac slow to boot, taking forever to become ready and finally allow you to begin your work? If yes, you must know that this is a problem that can be fixed quite easily, especially if it only recently that you started to experience this Mac slow on startup problem.

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Too little RAM

In some Macs, especially the old ones, there just might not be enough RAM to allow for a speedy startup. OS X Mavericks and now OS X Yosemite (Beta) require at least 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM to work well. Though Apple in their official statement about the minimum requirements for OS X Mavericks have stated that 2 GB of RAM is enough to run Mavericks smoothly, many users in the Mac community have said that Macs are a bit sluggish with even 4 GB of RAM, if a lot of apps are being run on top of the OS X.

We would recommend that you upgrade to at least 8 GB of RAM. If you had just 2 GB of RAM and upgraded to 8 GB of RAM, your startup time will be cut by at least half, if not a lot more. Here’s our post on how you could possibly add more RAM to your Mac.

Low disk space

Low disk space is another major factor that will eventually lead to slow Mac startup problems. Actually, low disk space is a very similar problem to having too little RAM on your Mac.

When your Mac boots up, it is a very resource hungry process that will really test your Mac’s processor and RAM performance. When your Mac’s processor doesn’t find enough RAM to support it, to help quickly boot up your Mac, it will try to borrow your free hard disk space as virtual memory, to help itself with the additional memory that the RAM is not able to provide.

However, if your free hard disk space is also very low, it will eventually cause your processor to overload your RAM, submitting many looped queries that in turn translate as very slow booting times, with your Mac sometimes even crashing due to the memory overload.

To see if your Mac is starting up slowly because of really low disk space, run this free scan here.

Too many login items

You can set your Mac to automatically start a variety of applications upon startup. While this is a nice feature to help you passively start a few programs that you use very often, most Mac users go overboard when choosing the quantity and quality of items they assign to the login list.

We would highly recommend that you keep as few items as possible in the startup list, only assigning apps that you absolutely need to startup, right as your Mac starts up.

To view and edit your login list now, please go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups (Select the user profile that you use) -> Login Items and then make appropriate changes to that list.

SMC and PRAM Reset

Sometimes, even if you have enough RAM and plenty of free disk space, your Mac can crawl through the boot-up process. If you think your Mac is very slow to startup for no logical reason, you might want to carry out a SMC reset and also a PRAM reset, both resets that will not delete any user data.

You can find instructions on how to carry out these resets along with great tips that will help you clean up your Mac, here.

Clear out the cache

On some occasions, your slow mac bootup problems can be fixed by something as simple as a clearing of your Mac’s cache. To clear your Mac’s kernel cache, please follow the instructions given below.

  • Open Terminal
  • Copy paste the following line of code
    • sudo kextcache -system-prelinked-kernel
  • Enter
  • Enter your Mac’s OS X user password (if asked)
  • Copy paste the following line of code
    • sudo kextcache -system-caches
  • Enter
  • Exit Terminal
  • Reboot your Mac

This clearing of the cache can also potentially halve your Mac’s startup time, if your cache was overloaded and too burdensome before you ran the above mentioned comments. Don’t worry about deleting user files when deleting these cache files as cache files are nothing but logs and records about activity on your Mac.

Other remedies that we can suggest are repairing disk permissions and looking to use software to speed up your Mac, both upon startup as well as after startup. Use our search box to learn more about these methods. Also, if you have other methods that you have successfully used to speed up your Mac’s startup, please share them via the comment box below.

About the Author
Michelle, author at Mach Machines. A tech lover and an insatiable latte drinker. Michelle blogs about improving the personal computing experience.

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