The MacWhisperer’s tips to work like a pro: Tip #3 | IT With IQ

The MacWhisperer’s tips to work like a pro: Tip #3

. March 27, 2012 . 0 Comments

Tip #3 Don’t Just Close it, Quit It!!!

One of the most frequent question I get from new Mac Users, is “How do I keep my Mac running quickly?”

There are many reasons why your Mac might be slowing down, but today we’re going to talk about one of the most basic ones… forgetting to quit your applications.

The first part of this, is to know which applications you are running. Look at the dock at the bottom of your computer, and pat special attention to the small indicator symbol below many of your applications. The dock is a multi-purpose, multi-function tool, but one of it’s best features is the ability to tell you at a glance what programs are running.

You may notice several programs running that you thought you had quit. This is common, especially for PC to Mac switchers. This happens when you click the red button at the top of a window, and assume that will quit the program. All it does is close the window. The program continues to run on in the background, sucking up your valuable resources.

Why does this happen so often? As nearly as I can tell it brings up a major difference between mac and PC. On a PC, if you were to open multiple windows on Internet Explorer, each window would open a new copy of Explorer, so closing one window quits that copy of the program. On the other hand, you could open dozens of windows on Safari, while only running one copy of Safari. Therefore, closing a window won’t quit the application. The assumption on a Mac is that if you wanted to quit the application you would, and if you wanted to close the window (in order to open another window) you would do that. Some people say “But what if there’s only one window open, wouldn’t closing that one window quit the program?” But it doesn’t it. The Mac assumes you might be closing one window just to open a new window, and how annoying would it be if every time you closed a window you had to launch the program all over again?

So, once you recognize what is running, quit any programs you are not using to free up their resources, and speed up your mac.

You can quit a program either by hitting command+Q while the program is open, selecting quit from the Application menu at the top, or right clicking on the program on the dock and selecting quit from the pop up menu.

If you want to see the effect running too many programs has on your Mac, go into your Applications Folder, and from there go into the Utilities folder, and open your Activity Monitor. Click on the tab at the bottom that says “System Memory” and you will see a colorful pie chart. On this chart there are four colors:

Red is memory that is hardwired into your computer that it needs to run. Nothing you can do about that.
Yellow is memory the open applications are actively using
Blue is memory the active applications have reserved for future use
Green is free memory.

The less green, the slower your computer will go, and the more frequently you will see that amazingly aggravating spinning colored wheel.

There are two ways to increase your green slice of pie… First, Quit active programs you are not using. Second, add RAM to your computer. RAM is memory you add to your computer by purchasing small cards that are inserted into your machine. You can find out how much RAM you have by going to the Apple Menu and selecting “About this Mac”

You can find your computers Maximum Memory by going to any one of many websites… I prefer

We’ll dive deeper into RAM, and other tips to keep your Mac running at full speed in future posts.

Until then, happy computing…

MacWhisperer Out!

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