MacBook Air Very Slow


Exu

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I have two MacBook Airs. The older one running Mojave is not used much and runs comparatively fast. The newer one has much more memory and is running Catalina but is excruciatingly slow.

When I used Windows I could rebuild the system and clear out all the junk. I am very inexperienced with Mac OS so where do I start please?
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

The first things to look at are:
-How much free space is left?
-Do you have any third-party utilities like MacKeeper or an antivirus installed?
-Do you have any cloud-based backups running like Google Drive, Dropbox, Carbonite, etc.?

C
 

Exu

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Hi Cory,

At first I did not know how to answer your questions but then, trying to not be completely useless, in Applications ... Utilities I found a couple of things that might help.

Disk Utility shows that in my Macintosh HD, I am using 11.25GB for Macintosh HD, 363.35 GB for Macintosh HD Data and 16.32GB for Other Volumes - thus leaving 130.4GB free of my 500.07GB capacity. It also says that of the 138.4GB that is available, 8 GB is purgeable. (Not sure how to purge it!!)

Activity Monitor showed that Adobe Reader was taking up a lot memory so I forced it to quit. It also shows a process called RdrCEF taking around 98% of the CPU but it NOT RESPONDING. I have no idea what that process is for but I forced it to quit.

Although at one time I made the mistake of trying MacKeeper, I think I deleted it.

I do have iCloud and use it (I think) to keep my user files updated in my old (smaller) MacBook Air.

I have Malwarebytes. I also think I might have Bitdefender.

But it is still excruciatingly slow. For instance, I just started up Safari and I had a spinning colour (busy?) disk for maybe 30 seconds before Safari opened.

Does that help to answer your questions? What should I try next please?
 
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Exu

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Unfortunately it looks as if Cory might be away or busy so is there anyone else who can advise me what to do please?
 

Exu

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Thanks for that. Unfortunately although the machine is running a bit faster, it it still running very slow. Have you any ideas please what I could try next?
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello again,

Sorry...life overrules volunteer support time every now and then. ;)

Some thoughts:
-Use the Acrobat Reader uninstaller to remove it completely, as Preview has the majority of the same functionality.
-There may be parts of MacKeeper still installed.
-Bitdefender could definitely cause Safari to crawl, especially if you have and real-time or on-access scanning enabled. I would uninstall it for now to see if thing speed back up.
-Malwarebytes is fine...just make sure to run it manually, not with any real-time or on-access scanning enabled.

Hope that helps,

C
 

Exu

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Hi Cory, yes it is fully understood that you have other priorities in life. What I wrote was not meant to be a criticism, just a request if anyone else could help too. If you thought I was being critical in any way then I apologise for writing clumsily. I am very grateful for your help.

Things are very much improved now though I wish I could put my finger on exactly why. Activity Monitor on my Old MacBook Air showed idle time of typically 98% when I am doing nothing, whereas on the New MacBook Air it was well under 10%. Clearly something was churning.

I ran a full scan of the HDD with Bitdefender. It picked up one Trojan threat so was eliminated. But that did not reduce the churning. The biggest user of CPU time seemed to be RdrCEF - often over 90%. I could not find an uninstaller for Adobe Acrobat Reader so just binned it. App Cleaner then popped up to tell me it had found lot of leftover bits includingRdrCEF and got rid of them. I don't know how to find any left over bits from Mackeeper but App Cleaner didn't find any. (Any advice on this please?) I also uninstalled some other Apps that I did not need.

CPU Idle time now seems to be nearer to 70% so things are much improved. Although I suspect there is room for further improvement the machine does seem to be running much faster now though still not nearly as quick as the Old MacBook when opening new files for editing in LibreOffice. (Because there seemed to be a lot of problems with 32-bit Apps when I updated the New MacBook to Catalina, I still have my Old MacBook running Mojave. Could Catalina be the problem?)

The top left corner of the new MacBook (i.e. by the esc button) is hot, whereas on the old MacBook it is cold. Is this where the CPU is located?

In the hope it might help with suggestions as to what else I should do, I have attached a screenshot from Activity Monitor.

But at least the crisis is passed and the machine is now useable, thanks to your help. As I said before, I am very grateful to you.
 

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Cory Cooper

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Hello,

I didn't take it that way at all...it was a light-hearted apology for not getting back to you sooner. :) We here at Mac Help actively strive to maintain a friendly and helpful atmosphere, and go to great lengths to ensure that the member experience is the best around.

That said, I am glad to hear it is running better. Here are a few answers/other things to check:

Which exact models are the MacBook Airs?

MacKeeper
-Macworld - How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac
-Note the section called: How to remove the remaining MacKeeper bits - it explains where the remaining files may reside and how to remove them.

Bitdefender
-Have you tried disabling any real-time or on-access scanning, especially for web browsing?

VPN
-From your Activity Monitor screenshot, I see you actually have two VPN services running - PureVPN and Bitdefender VPN.
-Are you using a VPN?
-I would try to disable one or both and see if that helps.

LibreOffice
-Which version are you running - 6.4.4 or 6.3.6?
-I believe LibreOffice still requires Java, and I am not sure how compatible it is with Catalina.

Case Warmth
-The CPU is located towards the middle, near the 7/8 keys. The upper left near the Esc key is where the power controller chips are, so you may get some warmth there when you are charging the battery.

Activity Monitor
-Can you change the view to View > All processes and see if there is anything using a large % CPU?

Hope that helps a bit further.

C
 

Exu

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Hi Cory,

Old MacBook Air - 13 inch early 2014 - 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 with 4GB 1600MHz DDR3
and 121GB HD of which 22GB available. MacOS Mojave 10.14.6
New MacBook Air - 13 inch early 2015 - 2.2GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7 with 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
and 500GB HD of which 161GB available. MacOS Catalina 10.15.5

VPN - it was my intention to use only PureVPN on both machines. I only have BidDefender on the New MacBook though it was my intention to install it on the old MacBook too. But would that be a mistake? I am beginning to wonder if I should ditch it - but what should I use instead?

On the New MacBook, if BitDefender VPN is also running then that is unintentional. But I don't know what is the correct way to stop it! but when it popped up in the Activity Monitor Process Name list, I clicked on it and forced it to Quit. It seems now to have stopped popping up every few seconds but will it return?

MacKeeper leftover bits - I don't have a MacKeeper Backups folder in my Home area - so I think I might have already carried out those instructions when I ditched Mackeeper last year.

Libre Office - I was running version 5.2.0.4 on Old MacBook and version 5.3.6.1 on New MacBook. I have nw installed 6.4.4.2 on both.

Re: Activity Monitor you said
-Can you change the view to View > All processes and see if there is anything using a large % CPU?
Sorry for being so thick (or is it just old? I'm not nearly such a wiz now as when I started working with computers 58 years ago - I'm now 78 and definitely finding it harder to understand than I used to!)

I have attached a screenshot of the latest Activity Monitor screen.

Thanks ever so much for your help.
B
 

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Exu

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I wish I knew what has caused the breakthrough but now the idle time is typically near to 90% - see attached Activity Monitor screenshot.

Have you any suggestions so that if it happens again I might know what to look for?
 

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Cory Cooper

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No worries.

I would guess it was a combination of things.

Let us know if the issue returns.

Be well,

C
 

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