Mac System Maintenance Training

Mac OS X Snow Leopard is the most recent operating system from Apple. As with any operating system, it does need some occasional maintenance to run at its full speed. This 1-on-1 ITS training consists of a quick overview of how to maintain your Apple computer.

Update your Mac OS X Operating System Software

In order for your computer to remain healthy, updates need to be installed as soon as they are available. There are two ways to update your computer. You can have your computer install updates itself, and you can install the updates manually whenever you want.

  • Set your Mac to check for updates Automatically.

1. Click on the Apple icon located in the top left corner of the screen and go to System Preferences.

2. Under System click Software Update.

3. Make sure that your Check for updates: box is checked and is set to either Daily or Weekly. By default it is set to Weekly.

  • Manually update your Mac.

1. Click on the Apple icon located in the top left corner of the screen and go to Software Update…. The computer will scan for updates.

2. Review the items to install and click Install (number of items) Items.

3. Type in your password to install the new updates.

4. Restart if prompted.

Keep your Computer Virus-Free

Running your Anti-Virus software protects you from harmful viruses that may have found their way on to your computer. We recommend that you scan for viruses at least once a week.

Sophos Anti-Virus is installed by default on all Luther owned workstations. Faculty, staff, and students are required to acquire and install an anti-virus for their personally-owned computers. For your convenience, we have provided a list of anti-virus recommendations at

For removal of found viruses contact the Technology Help Desk.

Understand your Power Options

ITS has already configured your laptop or desktop to efficiently use battery life and conserve electricity for all systems upgraded or refreshed since January of 2008. It is possible to change these settings if you wish.

Note: If you do not use any special purpose software that requires an active network connection, you can set your computer to automatically go to sleep mode after 15-30 min of inactivity.

These are the defaults ITS has chosen:

Your Power Options allow you to change the efficiency at which your computer uses electricity and battery life. It allows the modification of responses to events such as shutting your laptop’s lid or leaving your computer on for extended periods of time. To modify Power Options:

1. Click the Apple Icon on the top left hand corner and click System Preferences.

2. Click Energy Saver.

3. Under Settings for: you can switch between your Power Adapter and Battery (if you are working on a MacBook).

Note: By default when you close your MacBook’s lid your MacBook will go to Sleep.

Understand your Firewall

Your Firewall is your main defense from random people accessing your computer without your permission. It monitors your programs trying to access the internet and internet programs trying to access your computer. Note when programs fail to connect to the server, it may be the case that your firewall is blocking it. Mac OS X comes with a pre-installed Firewall.

1. Click the Apple Icon on the top left hand corner and click System Preferences.

2. Click Security.

3. Click the Firewall tab.

4. By default your Mac is set to allow all incoming connections. To tighten security you can select either of the other two options. One of them runs only the essential programs and the other option lets you create a list of which services you want connecting to the internet.

Backup your Computer

Backing up data on a regular basis is the responsibility of every employee. With advances in technology and reduced cost in storage media, the process has become easier and faster than ever before. ITS recommends that you backup your computer at least once every month. For more information on this topic, see the article Mac Data Backups