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Keeping Your Mac’s Software and Hardware Running Smoothly

Taking care of a Mac and keeping it running smoothly is mostly common sense. You just need to pay attention to the software, hardware, and your habits every so often to keep your Mac safe and running optimally.

To maintain the software, keep the following points in mind:

  • OS X checks Software Update once a week, unless you change its settings — don’t.

  • Dig out Disk Utility from the Utilities folder every few weeks and run Repair Permissions. If security is a concern, run Erase Free Space as well. Do this overnight because it can take a while.

  • Be judicious in the software that you download and install. While malware has not been a big problem on Macs to date, there’s always a first time.

    The biggest risk in installing every software gizmo that catches your eye is that some are poorly written and can make OS X less stable.

  • When your Internet connection is working properly, take a look at your router and modem. Note what the blinking lights look like when everything is okay so that you can recognize the difference when it isn’t.

Following these tips can help you keep the hardware in good working order:

  • The MagSafe connector is designed to keep an Apple laptop from falling if someone trips on its power cord. But avoid balancing yours precariously on top of books, papers, and other work-surface litter. And remember that MagSafe protects only the power cord. Someone tripping on an Ethernet, USB, FireWire, or audio cable can still send your laptop flying.

  • Don’t use cleaners that contain alcohol or ammonia or other strong solvents on your computer. And don’t spray any liquids directly on your computer. Apple suggests a soft cloth and plain water for cleaning display screens. If that’s not sufficient, a product called Klear Screen is recommended.

  • Your Mac is designed to run in an ordinary home or office environment. Avoid running it in excessively hot locales or exposed to direct sunlight. If you put your laptop on a soft or cluttered surface, make sure that the fan exhaust, which is at the hinge, isn’t blocked.

  • Keep an eye on your laptop in public places. Be especially vigilant going through airport security.

And last but not least, if you spend much time at your computer, take ergonomic precautions. Repetitive motion injuries are best avoided altogether. Comfortable seating that puts your keyboard and mouse or trackpad at a level where your forearms are at right angles to your body tops the list. Apple has extensive suggestions.

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