It isn’t just a stereotype. MacBook users really do tend toward the overly enthusiastic – at the prices we pay for the things, we have to be. We tend to be reluctant to admit when our shiny companions start acting a bit funny, and the thought of purchasing a new one can prompt dangerous plans: is it worth going a few weeks without food or letting the heating bill slide? But if you aren’t stuck on the spinning-ball-of-death, you probably don’t need to resort to such desperate measures. From simple organisation to an easy laptop memory upgrade, most MacBooks can be given new life with a couple fixes that you can do at home.

  1. Tidy your desk! If you’ve found your Mac slow to start up or power down, the problem could simply be that you’ve allowed it to get messy. Having a lot of files and folders littering the screen makes extra work. And, no, it isn’t a myth. This is a known issue for OS X. So do the thing you know you should: Create a few folders that reside on the desktop and start filing things away. If you must, you could just create a single folder—you could even call it A Folder Full of Stuff—and pack it to the rafters with everything. You’ll feel better, and so will your MacBook.
  2. Reset the system management controller, or SMC. The SMC is responsible for a lot of seemingly small functions that can have a big and annoying impact on your Mac. Resetting it sounds like a big deal, but it isn’t really. If your laptop has a removable battery, you’ll do the following: shut down, remove the power adapter, remove the battery, hold the power button for five seconds and then release, reconnect the adapter, and power back up. If you have a fixed battery: shut down the computer, connect and plug in the power adapter, hold down Shift-Ctrl-Option and the power button at the same time, release them all simultaneously, and power back up.
  3. Upgrade your laptop memory. If you have a MacBook produced before mid-2012, you can still upgrade the RAM yourself, and additional RAM is often just the thing if your MacBook seems stuck in the mud. Support pages on Apple’s Web site directly address which models can be modified and walk you through the upgrade process.

One or more of these could have your machine back to its sleek old self in no time. Any excuse to stay away from the Genius Bar, right?