OS X- desktop rebuild?

1 reply [Last post]
Joined: 01/12/2004

Apparently OSX does it's own defrag process automatically. Does it also do
it's own desktop rebuilding? I thought rebuilding the desktop might help fix slowdown issues. What will happen if you try to rebuild the desktop in OS 10.3.7?


Joined: 02/12/2009

Hey Trace,

Unlike Mac OS 9, there is no OS X desktop file to rebuild. In OS X, there are a few free things you can do to tune it up, and a few which cost $.

To begin, you can rest easy knowing that Disk First Aid runs automatically every time you boot.

Now, let's start the tuneup.

First, in OS X you must always keep at least 5-10% of your boot drive free, or things will slow down. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the #1 way to speed up your system is to buy more RAM- it's cheap. But buying bigger hard drives and RAM isn't as easy as using the following free utilities.

To "correct the permissions", run the Disk Utility app (in the Applications-->Utilities folder) and select the "repair permissions" function. You can do this without booting from the OS X CD.

If you are having trouble mounting your drive, boot from the OS X install CD by inserting it and holding down the letter "C" while starting up. You can run Disk Utility from this CD: instead of running the system installer, look in the menu at the top of the screen to run Disk Utility.

Another step you should do regularly is to run the periodic system maintenance tasks. They are set by default to run on a fixed schedule, but if your Mac isn't on at that hour, they might not run. I use the free MacJanitor app to run them on demand:

The commercial software I use as well is Disk Warrior, which repairs the disk directories (similar to the desktop from OS 9). It's inexpensive when I consider the number of times it has pulled my fat out of the fire:

I've found that DW fixes most issues I've encountered.

Here's a related article I wrote:

If it's a bigger. more serious disaster, read this article:


Share this