My spring 2011 Macbook Pro with 5400 rpm drive takes 5 minutes from pressing the on button to boot. I have about 400 GB of RAW and NEF (Nikon camera) files and only Photoshop and Lightroom installed. It seems to constantly be writing to the HD, and there is a lag time when typing or using drop-down menus. Can anyone offer any suggestions on what might be causing this? I have verified the disk and it found no problems.

I upgraded from Mavericks. Machine originally had Snow Leopard. I have never done a clean install. Disk has been verified and found no problems. All peripherals have been disconnected.

I have not reset the printing system. WiFi is on. All login items have not been removed. FileVault is turned on.

What help steps are next to diagnose the slow performance of this Mac?

2 Answers 2


Boot in verbose mode to see what is so slow. Then check your backup, actually do a backup before anything else. Failing storage is a likely culprit and slowing io is the bellwether indicator if you get one at all.

Also, your isolation steps are superb. Remove all accessories, clean install, etc...

lastly, check for io errors in console.app. Verification can show no unrecoverable errors well past the point where rewrite and other mechanisms are compensating for failures in the storage.

If all that fails, start benchmarking RAM, network and CPU. Process List App

Also, check for swap: High memory usage, macbook pro retina feeling sluggish


Would just add, that I have often been called in to sort a slow Mac for a friend or colleague after a system 'upgrade'. Its is always better to clone off (backup) your data, wipe the drive and do a clean install of an OS / Applications rather than an upgrade which will 'merge' files and software from two operating systems. Whilst Apple Migration Assistant does a reasonably good job of this, it can bring over system issues, apps that wont launch (under the new OS), bloatware and corrupt preferences.

Also - check (first) that the OS you are moving two is fully compatible with your hardware. Even though your Mac can technically can run the OS, this does not mean its the best OS for your particular hardware setup. Newer OS / Software might need more ram for example, which would inevitably slow your Mac down.

  • Voted down for being helpful, interesting reaction. Whilst not directly relating to a '5 minute' slowdown, my input records a known cause of performance issue with OS X. The original poster has mentioned something which is a clear issue with their procedure "I have never done a clean install' - if not, the Mac will be slower to boot and run - Fact. A clean install will improve boot time. Fact. The issue may not be with the photos themselves, rather a Mac struggling to cope with a heavy load and a poor OS install / hardware setup. Sep 6, 2016 at 8:26

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