Why’s My Mac Slower & Running Its Fans After Updating iTunes? | iLounge Backstage

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Why’s My Mac Slower & Running Its Fans After Updating iTunes?

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Thursday, June 4, 2009
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Back when we were Windows PC users, there was a standard protocol to be followed after adding or updating software to the computer: run Norton Disk Doctor. Or SystemWorks. Or some other third-party program capable of fixing all the damage that was accidentally or thoughtlessly done to the computer’s registry by an installer when something new was added. It was a mess, a pain, and one of many things we were thrilled to be without when we switched to Macs. We were even more impressed when we saw our Macs taking an extra minute or so after certain installations to optimize the hard disk: that one minute delay reduced countless potential future slowdowns.

But in recent months, post-installation blues with Apple software have created problems for our Macs, too. We didn’t write about the last one, the screwy Mac OS 10.5.7 update, because we’re not a Mac OS-focused site. For that one, two iLounge editors saw their aluminum MacBooks stuck in blue screen loops after trying to upgrade from 10.5.6 using Software Update. Ugh—it was a throwback to the Microsoft days. But the latest one is iTunes 8.2, QuickTime, and Front Row-related: install them and you may notice that your Mac’s running slower, its fans are constantly spinning, and its battery is draining faster than it did before.

To be completely fair, this isn’t the first time that iTunes, QuickTime, or other Apple software has done this sort of thing, but the problem has become a fairly serious one: why should users have to suffer for days, weeks, or longer with lower battery life and hotter machines after installing all but mandatory updates to core applications? Thankfully, there’s a fix, a solution that is free, easy to use, and will almost certainly improve your Mac’s performance. It’s called Disk Utility, and it’s hidden in the Utilities folder on your Mac—a folder that’s tucked into your Applications folder.

You can find the program with Spotlight at the top right of your Mac’s screen, but we’d advise adding the Utilities folder to your list of Places (see screenshot) by going into your Applications folder, dragging the Utilities folder into the sidebar, and having it there for reference whenever you need it. [We also use the more powerful, free third-party application Onyx, which hasn’t been updated yet for 10.5.7.]

Disk Utility does a number of things, generally (but not always) quickly and well. Here, the only things you need to know are to select your hard drive from the list on the left of the window, and press the button called “Repair Disk Permissions.” This starts an invariably harmless process that goes through and fixes screwy file information on your Mac. After five minutes, it will most likely have found a bunch of Apple programs with messed up “permissions,” which it will fix instantly. Apple’s most recent iTunes and QuickTime updates led to over 60 permissions errors, all found and “repaired” by Disk Utility. Then you can restart your Mac, and you’ll most likely find that it’s running cooler, quieter, and faster.

But not always. When we ran Disk Utility a second time to take additional screenshots for this article, we were surprised to discover that some of the problems had persisted, and Disk Utility “repaired” them again. We’re not quite sure how or why that would be happening, but it did, and iTunes, QuickTime, and Front Row were all listed as being to blame. The same thing happened a third time, too. Amazingly, we’ve found ourselves back to where we were in the Windows and Norton days, running applications just to keep our Macs them running properly, and not always succeeding. Here’s hoping that Snow Leopard and the next iTunes release bring things back to the way they should be.

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Comments

1

I can’t really let you say that without reacting…

First, sorry if my English is not perfect, I’m french so I will try to be understandable but I’m not sure to could achieve it perfectly !

First, but, it’s just a detail, we were not all Windows PC users, I mean, since I use computers, I use Macs, and I’m not the only one like that…

But, my point is not this one. I mean, you write this article to tell us than Apple is going worse than before…

It’s not true, I mean, yes, maybe, a bunch of recent Mac users, could have some problems with recent updates, but, it’s not the majority !

You gave the solutions to do in the next of your article, if you think that your Mac is running slowy than before, run OnyX, but, contrary to your screenshot, don’t check the rebuilding buttons. You have to check these only if you actually need to rebuild these things.

Check only the Maintenance and Cleaning buttons, let OnyX do his job, restart and Boum, you’ll have a Mac as new as he was before.

And it’s not bad to do this before important update as Mac OS X 10.5.7 was.

No mistake about my comment, I love your website, I read it everyday, but, I can’t let you say that without reacting ! wink

Posted by Pierro on June 4, 2009 at 7:21 AM (PDT)

2

Thanks for the write-up, I’m running it right now.

Posted by Ryan on June 4, 2009 at 7:47 AM (PDT)

3

I’m from Mexico and these are my 2 cents:

AFTER running Onyx, run DiskWarrior, you’d be amazed how many problems a faulty directory can create! DW practically replaces Disk Utility at least in the repairing directory department. You can still repair permissions using Disk Utility.

In fact, run DW before AND after running Onyx. If you’ve already run Onyx then just run DW.

Running DW should also help from those problems appearing in the future.

Hope that helps!

Posted by Jorge on June 4, 2009 at 8:04 AM (PDT)

4

#1: The article was written to point out a problem that has recently been affecting iTunes and Mac users, not to “tell us Apple is going worse than before.” Also, neither we nor you really knows how many Mac users are experiencing problems of this sort. All we know is that we’re experiencing them, and trying to help people solve them.

Perhaps something got lost in the article’s translation to French, but the specific point—along with all of the screenshots—was that there are permissions-related problems on the Mac that relate to the latest iTunes, QuickTime, and Front Row updates, and that they can be fixed with a free program that’s buried a couple of folders deep on the Mac—one that the average Mac user has no idea is available. It’s great that you use Onyx, like we do, but there’s no guaranteed safe Onyx for 10.5.7 yet, and Disk Utility is one of Apple’s solutions to problems its own installer seems to be creating. It was posted to help Mac users with problems, explain their context, and that’s it.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 4, 2009 at 8:15 AM (PDT)

5

Jeremy do you know if this update will also affect Windows users in a similar manner?

Posted by Jim on June 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM (PDT)

6

Excellent article especially the last part where you ran Disk Utility a second time. Why is your article the only one I see on the web about this issue? I thought it was just me. I ran disk Utility once reboot and run it again and it still has the same problems with iTunes, QuickTime, and Front Row being the main culprits. Even the Raw Camera update is continually messed up. Needless to say, you could probably run Disk Utility a billion times and it would still show the same problem, heck it might not even be a problem, who knows? Maybe they just need to update their Disk Utility program.

Posted by Brian on June 4, 2009 at 7:29 PM (PDT)

7

Hi guys,
It may be that you already know this by now, but in case you don’t, Repairing Disk Permissions is something that may be helpful to do every now and then, but it is hardly something that’s needed on a regular basis. If you run it and there are some permissions that show up as being repaired, it does NOT mean that there is actually any real problem going on. In fact, once a permission shows up as “differing” and then “repaired,” it will always show up every time you run the Utility. It doesn’t mean that something is wrong, however. It is basically a diagnostic saying, “Oh, look, these permissions differ in this particular place.” There’s not actually a problem here. And it’ll probably always show up with those same results *every* time you run the utility. But again, it’s nothing you need to be concerned about.

If your fans are kicking in after the most recent updates, it’s most likely the updates themselves that caused it. 10.5.6 was a wonderful and solid update. So far, 10.5.7 seems to be causing a few problems for some people. I always recommend to my clients to WAIT on these types of updates. Wait and see if others are having issues. Wait for a like a month. And then go for it.

And ALWAYS backup your ENTIRE system before doing ANY updates.

Cheers!

Mark

Posted by Mark Williams on June 4, 2009 at 11:56 PM (PDT)

8

If you feel your permissions are screwed up and disk utility isn’t helping.  The best thing to do is to download and install the latest Combo update, in this case for 10.5.7

Worse case, do an Archive Install of Leopard and then a combo update.  Of course this may cause you to have to reinstall a minority of specialized apps, but most apps should stay intact pretty well. 

I used to use Disk Warrior a lot in the pre 10.3 days, but make sure you have the very latest update before using it.  A lot has changed in the file system.  Sometime even a 1 dot difference can cause catostrophic effect.  Make sure you have two good backups. 

I alternate between two Time Machine drives…

Posted by Jake on June 5, 2009 at 12:32 AM (PDT)

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