Computer Diagnostics for Your Mac

Diagnostics software can help you identify problems or potential problems with your Mac. Such packages allow you to test your system, memory, software and even the external hardware attached to your computer.

One of the most common problems occurs when your Mac is low on resources, whether it be RAM or disk space. These are common conditions that can result in your Mac running slowly.

The best way to resolve the former issue is to purchase more RAM, if possible, and for the latter issue you should clear up some space on your hard drive, if it is starting to get full. You may also wish to consider defragmenting the hard disk.

Different diagnostic software programs for the Mac will offer different features. Drive Genius 3 by Prosoft Engineering, Inc. focuses on maintenance of the hard drive, allowing you to reformat it, defragment it, repartition it, monitor it, clone it, repair it and obtain information on it.

TechTool Pro by Micromat, Inc. promises to run a complete diagnostics check of your Mac with what it calls a SMART test of your hard drive to detect impending drive failure, a RAM test, analysis of disk directories and more. These programs offer a wide range of tests providing full diagnostics and covering a wide range of software and hardware issues.

Some common tests that diagnostic software runs are tests of your Mac’s audio circuits, casche, clock, components, file structure, Internet, and checks of the correct operation of your Mac’s mathematical processing hardware and software routines. Other tests include tests of the PRAM, processor, RAM, ROM, hard drive surface integrity, VRAM and even tests of external components such as scanners.

The software will offer you the choice of diagnostic tests to run. The full system scan will run through your entire Mac hard drive and display any problems that it might find. If it can fix them, it will give you the option to do so.

There are some problems that diagnostic software will not be able to help you with, however. These include hardware failures such as hard drive crashes. Diagnostic software may be able to report such issues to you, but complete hard drive failures often occur suddenly and with very little, if any, warning.

This is why maintaining a good backup strategy is essential. In the case of serious hard drive issues, you will need to take your Mac into an Apple Store or other qualified service center.

Normally, your Mac will run fine, and if it fails to do so, your instincts will usually tell you whether the problem lies with hardware or with a particular software program you are using. In addition, diagnostic software cannot find certain problems, such as corrupted files or software conflicts, but it can sometimes narrow down the options and rule out certain possibilities.

However, for those times in which you are not quite sure where the problem may lie and you don’t even know where to begin with troubleshooting, running a diagnostic software package can be a good way to find and prevent problems with your Mac.

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By: Timothy Arends

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