I have a Mac that is slow when using the internet, but other PCs on the same connection aren't as slow.

I suspect there are too many AV scanners running concurrently, or there is some process that isn't installed by default slowing the whole thing down.


Where can I find all possible applications that will be automatically started when the machine turns on? (and how do I shut them off)

This should include

  • Applications on the menu bar on the bottom
  • Services (like Antivirus)
  • Menu-bar applications
  • What do you mean by "too many AV scanners"? It's advised to only use one AV live scanner at a time. However, it's fine to have several on-demand AV scanners.
    – gentmatt
    Oct 6, 2012 at 13:22
  • I suspect that many AV scanners are working at the same time. I see Clam AV, and many others. @gentmatt What singluar scanner is best (paid or non paid) Oct 6, 2012 at 14:32
  • I can't say because I've not yet seen any thorough comparison of AV scanners in OSX. I myself use Sophos because it offers live scanning and scheduled scanning of certain parts of the drive - for free.
    – gentmatt
    Oct 6, 2012 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


Applications and Menu Bar items

Most of these can be easily configured in:
System Preferences → Users&Groups → Login Items

LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons

Some applications are cannot be configured in the System Preferences (e.g. Sophos AV Scanner, HandsOff Firewall,...) It's best to configure them in their own application to assure that everything runs as designed and intended.

You can look for related LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons in:

~/Library/LaunchAgents               ~/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/LaunchAgents                /Library/LaunchDaemons
/System/Library/LaunchAgents         /System/Library/LaunchDaemons

Startup Items

After I installed the multi-boot utility rEFIt, it copied a file rEFItBlesser which is run at startup. Items that run at startup can be found in the following locations:

~/Library/Startup Items
/Library/Startup Items
  • 1
    Basically, this is a great introduction, but the full answer is to learn all of launchd and make sure all the legacy launchers that launchd replaced but that software can bundle and activate like cron, rc.d and such...
    – bmike
    Oct 6, 2012 at 14:08
  • @bmike Yes, I still got a lot to learn :) This is just as much as I can help. If anybody wants to elaborate certain parts, we can make this answer a wiki post.
    – gentmatt
    Oct 6, 2012 at 14:14
  • I like it. The question is about where do things get started and to a first approximation, launchd and startup items preference pane is the answer. I wouldn't change anything here. I'll consider adding a contrasting answer later - how to test the idea that too much running is the cause of slowness by safe booting or running the OS installer to an external drive and A/B testing. For most, that is much more time-efficient than actually learning the guts of how launchd works. Having both will help more people that have similar issues.
    – bmike
    Oct 6, 2012 at 14:21
  • I found ClamAV in addition to Sophos in ~\Library\LaunchAgents I uninstalled ClamAV by dragging the application to the trash, but the .pslist file didn't get removed so I manually removed it. Was this a correct action to take? Oct 6, 2012 at 14:54
  • @makerofthings7 That's interesting because I don't have anything related to SophosAV in ~/Library/LaunchAgents. However I do have a file /Library/LaunchAgents/com.sophos.uiserver.plist. If you have uninstalled ClamAV there is no problem to remove the .plist as well.
    – gentmatt
    Oct 6, 2012 at 15:02

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