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When I first got my MacBook Pro, it took less than 30 seconds to start up. Now, after several months, it takes about two minutes to startup and I can tell that it is not as responsive when using some applications (it was fast before).

I am wondering if it is because I'm not shutting it down that causes the lag during startup.

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i have my macbook go without restarting/shutting down for over a month, it's fine –  XAleXOwnZX Feb 15 '12 at 2:33
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The lag could be the installation of software that calls daemons or other components during start up. The slowness could also be caused by this bloat. You may have a runaway process or a memory leak (which a reboot would fix). But it has nothing to do with whether you shutdown or sleep your machine. –  cksum Feb 15 '12 at 3:43
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I do this all the time. Put it to sleep, take it to work. Put it to sleep, take it home. It's always been fine. As others have said, the lag will be something else. –  binarybob Feb 15 '12 at 7:24
    
Similar on Super User: superuser.com/questions/327276/… –  daviesgeek Feb 16 '12 at 1:08
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

MacBooks are designed for close and go operation and you're not doing the system or hardware any harm by following the practice. That being said, there have been past issues with MacBooks not going to sleep properly when the lid is closed—the indicator being that the Mac is hot to the touch and the battery level is lower than you would expect when you remove it from your bag. There are some reports of wake from sleep issues, generally caused by a "stuck" process.

Assuming you have adequate RAM, the slowdown in your startup process is most likely caused by applications and processes being loaded at startup. The startup on my own MacBook Pro (Mid 2007 model) is measured in minutes as various mission critical utilities—QuickSilver, TextExpander, Growl, etc.—load and populate the menubar If you login to an alternate (preferably clean, stock) user account is the startup process faster?

To get a better idea about what you're loading at startup, navigate to System Preferences and open the Users and Groups pane. (Note: Users and Groups is titled Accounts on some systems.) Select your user account from the panel on the left, then open the Login Items tab.

image of Users & Groups Login Items tab This screen grab is from a MacBook Air that runs only a subset of the login items of my personal MacBook Pro.

If Applications that you don't need are running, you can remove them. Do this with caution, because sometimes there are login items necessary for other software to run as expected.

Beyond that, you might want use Activity Monitor to discover what's running on your Mac. Run it right after a system startup. If you amend your question to include a screenshot of your login items and/or the running processes, we may be able to help you further.

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There's only one login item for the current user, it is the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. Anyway my confusion was cleared. I will Put it to sleep, take it to work. Put it to sleep, take it home as @binarybob does. –  neevek Feb 16 '12 at 3:12
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Not shutting your MacBook Pro down won't affect performance that much. There could be other factors playing a role there.

To answer the questions in your title,

  1. By default, closing the lid on your MacBook Pro will put it to sleep. Here is some more information about sleep and other energy saving methods.

  2. As long as your hard drive has spun down, as it does when it goes to sleep, you should be fine to put your computer to sleep and carry it around. Just make sure the sleep light starts pulsing. Once this happens, your computer has cut power to most components and has spun down the hard drive platters and parked the heads.

Sorry about the previous answer, I had not done my research there and was going off of personal training from an individual with a strong background in Windows. Most Windows machines do not spin down the hard disks when closing the lid.

Hope this helps.

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I was told by the apple store it could damage the hard drive. Mine had to be replaced and and lost most everything on it.

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I think in the early 2000 there were machines where jolts of slamming the lid repeatedly while the drive was spinning down could have contributed to the high failure rate and eventual repair extension program on the original plastic MacBook Pro. I've not heard of any drive made after 2006 that any normal bump or even hard shutting of a lid could cause issues as the drives are built to operate under higher g forces without error these days. –  bmike May 16 at 15:20
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