I’m planning to get a new computer, but I’d like to squeeze a little more life out of my Macbook. My main issue is trying to run more than one or two applications and it running really slowly or apps shutting down on me.
Upgrading your RAM is probably one of the cheapest and trusted solutions. You can easily get an 8 GB kit (some might even consider overkill) under $70. If you're planning to keep your computer around, I would suggest you consider a solid state drive (SSD). However, it is somewhat expensive and it probably won't be as large as your hard drive (unless you fork over some extra cash).
Swap the hardisk for an SSD - MASSIVE performance increase in boot times and loading applications: I described the process for a 2006 macbook pro here, but it should be similar.
you can go for hardware upgrades like adding more ram switching to HDD or just install a linux destro like ubuntu .. your mac will be as good as new if there is no hardware fault
Repair Permission via Disk Utility
* run it twice ~ remaining errors won't be repaired because of outdated receipts
Verify Disk via Disk Utility
* on error backup your data, boot from the 10.6 DVD and repair the disk
I second running Onyx (see cleaning and maintenance tab)
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also adding more RAM is a great tip
Installing RAM is quite easy for MacBooks but make sure that you buy the right RAM and not more than supported. Visit the following URL replacing "serialnumber" with the actual SN of your MacBook
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One last option that truly gives new life to a MacBook would be replacing a mechanical hard drive with a Solid State Drive. Usually
There are kits that come with an external case or cable to copy your data. Fortunately Mac OS X is one of the systems you can perfectly clone to a new drive e.g. using Carbon Copy Cloner
Both of those hardware changes are easy to perform ~ especially if you still have one of the white/black MacBook models. For the unibody MB the hard drive takes a little more time but is not really more difficult.
How old is the Macbook? It shouldn't be going too slow as long as it's an Intel.
In most cases, adding a stick of RAM can improve things greatly, and is not expensive if get the RAM from http://www.Newegg.com or http://www.Crucial.com .
Here are some free software fixes you can try:
I second the part about repairing privileges. If something is wrong with them they can cause some strange slowdowns/apps crashing or not launching.