I upgraded from OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion 10.8, and then to 10.8.2 Mountain Lion.

I only have a few installed applications (Photoshop and Microsoft Office), VLC movie player and Firefox - the rest of the system is intact. All fonts required for Photoshop are installed within Library's Adobe/Fonts folder so all Adobe apps can use them.

However, I've had spinning beachballs on using apps, and choppy video playback when using VLC - it did not do that in 10.6.8 with any DVD or video played; and my previous movie player of choice (MPlayer OSX Extended, now uninstalled) was not compatible with Mountain Lion as far as I'm aware - it just crashed or I had to end it.

Adobe Flash Player does not work, well, except for some Flash-based sites and Google Maps etc - Streetview, and flash-based adverts on Firefox, but it's a bit on-and-off, working on some sites but not others like YouTube - where I get the sound, but not the video, only the spinning grey wheel, and then Firefox crashes.

Safari won't open multiple tabs either... one tab at a time, unless I open a new tab from within an existing site (tried it on bbc.co.uk today!)

Why are these 'beachballs' happening, as I don't have many files, the system Fonts folder is intact, the Adobe fonts folder only has a few fonts [Adobe ones and a few free ones I downloaded] and there aren't that many apps.

I ran Onyx, repaired disk permissions etc. but don't understand why this is happening - should I just go back to OS X 10.6.8 as my machine had 10.6 (it's a 2010 Mac Mini installed with 10.6).

The disk's got 500GB in total (can't remember how much is used, but the size of Photoshop CS5 alongside VLC and Firefox is... well, I'm not sure how much GB is used).

New to Mac and OS X in general, so would appreciate the help I can get.

  • 1
    have you tried a clean install with 10.8.2? Also, how much memory do you have? 10.8.2 should run fast in 2010 mac mini unless hardware failure.
    – neo
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 14:53
  • I've got the same problem too... except I have InDesign and have upgraded Flash to 11, with no video in YouTube.
    – avenas8808
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


In general, newer versions of operating systems (Mac OS, Windows, et al) tend to require more RAM than older versions. If you have less RAM than the OS needs, the computer will use virtual memory paging, which is very slow.

The 2010 Mac mini came with 2GB of RAM. OS 10.8 prefers 4GB or more. You should buy an 8GB RAM upgrade (2x 4GB).

  • I would say that OS X counters this theme. With the removal of rosetta and PPC support on 10.7 Lion and further fragmentation of the core system into lots of small daemons that run in the background. OS X is on a path where less memory is needed considering 10.6 to 10.7 to 10.8. I would assume much of this is due to the common code base between iOS and OS X and the experience Apple has at making iOS devices perform with 1 GB of RAM or less, but it could also just be good OS design and tuning.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 17:16
  • 1
    @bmike, Disagree. My 2GB 10.6 Mac shows kernel-task using 135MB active RAM, whereas my 8GB 10.8 Mac showed kernel-task over 700MB. Just to be sure, I rebooted, and immediately after boot it's at 650MB. Plus all the daemons you mention.
    – Foo Bar
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 19:28
  • OK - I certainly wouldn't say all machines behave this way. Looking over hundreds of Macs as well as historical data for them, wired and active memory is going down for the vast majority of the systems I've seen and use. Without more data, it's hard to tell if either of us are seeing a trend or just using computers differently. In my experience, so much depends on what you add to the OS - but the machines I see with the least configuration, Mountain Lion is the most RAM efficient OS.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 19:32

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