[This is a little off-topic for my blog, but it's maintenance every computer owner should follow.]
As yesterday was the self-proclaimed “back-up your hard drive day,” I went ahead and did some maintenance on my home computer, a MacBook Pro. I am not super techy, so I turned to what I consider reliable sources to guide me through the process.
1. Back-up: I always start here before cleaning files off of my computer just in case a file is erroneously deleted. An external hard drive keeps a back-up of my Mac and stores old files. I had been using Time Machine to perform regular back-ups, but as this article on GigaOm/The Apple Weblog explains, you should have a bootable back-up.
So I partitioned my external drive and used Carbon Copy Cloner [freeware] to create a bootable back-up on one of the partitions. Now Time Machine still performs back-ups, but I know I can boot from my external drive if the need ever arrises.
2. Clean-up: Macs are fairly good at keeping themselves running smoothly, but they do not catch everything. MacWorld posted this article on how to clean-up extraneous files that might be slowing you down. I especially liked using Onyx [freeware] to clear old log files. It is simple to use and includes a great deal of information on what each step does.
3. Back-up again: Now that my computer is running smoothly, I wanted to back-up the ‘clean version.’
These steps freed up a couple GB on my Mac’s hard drive, and while I may not notice any significant improvement in performance, I know that my laptop is running as smoothly and reliably as possible, and my data is protected.