Don't wait for Snow Leopard: Slim down, speed up a Mac now

You can get lean and fast computing with your current version of Mac OS X. Here's how.

The International pane in System Preferences (left) lets you choose the preferred languages for applications to use. You can manually remove language files from applications via the Languages section of the Get Info window (right) for each application.

The International pane in System Preferences (left) lets you choose the preferred languages for applications to use. You can manually remove language files from applications via the Languages section of the Get Info window (right) for each application.

Apple hasn't done much talking about Snow Leopard, the next-generation update to Mac OS X that's due to be released in 2009 (possibly within the first quarter of the year ). But in what came as a surprise to many, the company has said that the new operating system will contain a limited number of new features.

Instead of going the route of Leopard, which added more than 300 new features, Snow Leopard is designed to focus on the underpinnings of the operating system. The result, according to Apple, will be an operating system that takes greater advantage of multicore processors, is able to leverage the often-untapped power of graphics processing hardware for general computing operations and extends 64-bit architecture compatibility -- all of which will deliver much higher performance over Leopard.

At the same time, reports indicate that Snow Leopard will actually slim down the code required by Mac OS X and its installed applications, not only improving performance, but also freeing up large amounts of hard drive space in the process.

It seems clear that Apple's biggest focus with Snow Leopard is slimming down and speeding up its flagship operating system -- both of which are attractive to any computer user. But why wait until Snow Leopard ships? There are a number of ways you can slim down and speed up your machine right now.

While the following tips probably won't deliver the dramatic improvements we expect to see in Snow Leopard, they can make a noticeable difference -- particularly on slightly older Macs or those where hard drive space is getting cramped.

Warning: A number of tips in this article require modifying system or application files. Be sure you have a solid backup of your system before trying them in case you experience any problems or need to restore specific features later on.

1. Get rid of the languages you don't speak

Mac OS X has always supported a wide range of world languages. The entire interface (menus, dialogs, help files, etc.) is localized for over a dozen languages and included in the Mac OS X system files automatically during installation (the exception being languages that require non-Roman alphabets, such as most Asian languages). This makes it easy to switch the language used on your Mac using the International pane in System Preferences.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags snow leopardMac OS X

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ryan Faas

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?