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Mac OS 10.4 Questions

Answers: Have 4 answers
Hey guys,
I just got my iMac today and I'm very pleased with it. It seems to be working perfectly at the moment. I'm gonna leave it running for a few days to make sure no problems arise, hopefully they wont.
I have some questions which I hope you guys can help me out with.
1) I have 2 gig of memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM). I downloaded a widget from the Apple site that gives me various statistics about my computer and I was wondering what the following means -
Under memory it states -
WIRED: 126mb
ACTIVE: 134mb
FREE: 1.51 Gb.
I'm assuming that this is normal enough, right? I'm really just looking reassurance and an explanation of the terms wired, active and inactive. I'm guessing that 134mb means that I'm using 134mb of memory at the moment, but surely if I have 2gb how come I onlly have 241mb of memory inactive?
2) Could anyone recommend a good maintenance programme to use? For my iBook I used MainMenu to repair permissions, run maintenance scripts and to clean logs and stuff. Is there anything other than that I should be doing on 10.4.8? If so, could someone please give me some advice regarding what I need to do in order to keep my computer running in optimal condition and what programmes would be best to use? Freeware programmes would be preferred! Thanks!
3) I also want to make my computer as secure as possible. How do you guys configure the firewall built into OS 10.4? I have turned my firewall on but I see that the "Network Time" box is ticked. I have no idea what this Network Time is, should I keep this box ticked or does it not matter? Under the advanced firewall options should I have anything ticked there?
4) What about shutting down my computer? I read somewhere that turning your computer on and off every day isn't recommended and, in the manual, it suggests that if you're not going to be using your computer for a few days, that you turn it off. I use my computer everyday, so should I just sleep it until I'm not going to be using it? What do you guys on the forum recommend?
Thanks again guys!
The best answer: With respect to memory usage:
<font "size=+1">About OS X Memory Management and Usage
Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
Memory Management in Mac OS X
Performance Guidelines- Memory Management in Mac OS X
A detailed look at memory usage in OS X
Understanding top output in the Terminal
The amount of available RAM for applications is the sum of Free RAM and Inactive RAM. This will change as applications are opened and closed or change from active to inactive status. The Swap figure represents an estimate of the total amount of swap space required for VM if used, but does not necessarily indicate the actual size of the existing swap file. If you are really in need of more RAM that would be indicated by how frequently the system uses VM. If you open the Terminal and run the top command at the prompt you will find information reported on Pageins () and Pageouts (). Pageouts () is the important figure. If the value in the parentheses is 0 (zero) then OS X is not making instantaneous use of VM which means you have adequate physical RAM for the system with the applications you have loaded. If the figure in parentheses is running positive and your hard drive is constantly being used (thrashing) then you need more physical RAM.
Regarding maintenance, virus, and security:
Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance
For disk repairs use Disk Utility. For situations DU cannot handle the best third-party utilities are: Disk Warrior; DW only fixes problems with the disk directory, but most disk problems are caused by directory corruption; Disk Warrior 4.0 is now Intel Mac compatible. TechTool Pro provides additional repair options including file repair and recovery, system diagnostics, and disk defragmentation. TechTool Pro 4.5.2 is Intel Mac compatible; Drive Genius is similar to TechTool Pro in terms of the various repair services provided. The current version, 1.5.1, is Intel Mac compatible.
OS X performs certain maintenance functions that are scheduled to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly period. The maintenance scripts run in the early AM only if the computer is turned on 24/7 (no sleep.) If this isn't the case, then an excellent solution is to download and install a shareware utility such as Macaroni, JAW PseudoAnacron, or Anacron that will automate the maintenance activity regardless of whether the computer is turned off or asleep.
OS X automatically defrags files less than 20 MBs in size, so unless you have a disk full of very large files there's little need for defragmenting the hard drive. As for virus protection there are few if any such animals affecting OS X. You can protect the computer easily using the freeware Open Source virus protection software ClamXAV. Personally I would avoid most commercial anti-virus software because of their potential for causing problems.
I would also recommend downloading the shareware utility TinkerTool System that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old logfiles and archives, clearing caches, etc.
For emergency repairs install the freeware utility Applejack. If you cannot start up in OS X, you may be able to start in single-user mode from which you can run Applejack to do a whole set of repair and maintenance routines from the commandline.
When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand. I also recommend booting into safe mode before doing system software updates.
Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):
1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
5. PsynchX 2.1.1 and RsyncX 2.1 (Freeware)
6. Carbon Copy Cloner (Freeware - 3.0 is a Universal Binary)
7. SuperDuper! (Commercial)
The following utilities can also be used for backup, but cannot create bootable clones:
1. Backup (requires a .Mac account with Apple both to get the software and to use it.)
2. Toast
3. Impression
4. arRSync
Apple's Backup is a full backup tool capable of also backing up across multiple media such as CD/DVD. However, it cannot create bootable backups. It is primarily an "archiving" utility as are the other two.
Impression and Toast are disk image based backups, only. Particularly useful if you need to backup to CD/DVD across multiple media.
Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore.
Additional suggestions will be found in Mac Maintenance Quick Assist.
Referenced software can be found at www.versiontracker.com and www.macupdate.com.
You can leave Network Time turned on. This simply automatically synchronizes your computer's clock to a network time server. If you are connected to the internet behind a hardware router with a built-in firewall then you should turn off the OS X firewall. There's no need for both.
Your computer is Energy Star compliant so it uses little power during sleep, about 35 watts. However, if you wish to save more on energy then you should turn it off when it will not be in use for an extended period of time.