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How to Perform Routine Mac Maintenance

You can avoid many issues and problems by performing routine maintenance tasks on your Mac. Purging unnecessary files and programs, backing up your files, and updating software go a long way to keeping your Mac healthy, happy, and running smoothly.

Purging unnecessary files and programs from your Mac

If you’ve had your Mac for awhile, you’ve probably piled on programs and files that no longer serve a purpose. Even if these files aren’t slowing down the system, they’re hogging disk space. It’s time to delete these files and programs for good.

Of course, you may not know which files to dispose of, especially since some programs leave fragments all over your hard drive. Type the name of the application you’re getting rid of inside a Finder search box and try to determine whether files shown in the results are associated with the application you want to delete.

Don’t delete files that you know little or nothing about. The consequences aren’t pretty if you accidentally trash a crucial system file; you’ll need administrative access to rid some key files. If you do throw unfamiliar files in the trash, wait a day or so until you’re satisfied that you don’t need them.

Backing up your Mac's files

Back up. Back up. Back up. No matter how you back up, do it sooner rather than later — before you encounter problems.

Updating your Mac's software

You should regularly visit Software Update under System Preferences or in the Apple menu or arrange to have your Mac check regularly for updates. You can update weekly, daily, or as infrequently as monthly. If you’re in System Preferences for any other reason, you can always go to Software Update and click Check Now. You can also select a box to let your machine download important updates automatically.

Visit the support areas of the Web sites of the publishers of other software on your computer to see whether they’ve updated their programs. The download is typically free.

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