Don't wait for Snow Leopard: Slim down, speed up a Mac now

You can get lean and fast computing with your current version of Mac OS X. Here's how.

The International pane in System Preferences (left) lets you choose the preferred languages for applications to use. You can manually remove language files from applications via the Languages section of the Get Info window (right) for each application.

The International pane in System Preferences (left) lets you choose the preferred languages for applications to use. You can manually remove language files from applications via the Languages section of the Get Info window (right) for each application.

Like Mac OS X, many applications are written to support more than one language, allowing all their user interfaces to display in the preferred language(s) along with Mac OS X. Since not all languages are supported by every application developer, the International pane in System Preferences lets you provide an order of preferred languages. Applications that don't support your first choice will display using the highest preferred language they do support.

While the diversity of language support is a must for Mac OS X and applications to be sold around the world, chances are that you speak only one or two languages. That means all those extra language files are taking up valuable space on your hard drive. You can trim down the footprint of Leopard and most individual applications (particularly apps with heavy language support like Microsoft Office or Apple's iLife, iWork and Pro apps) by removing unneeded localization files.

There are a couple of ways to go about this process. You can manually remove language files from applications by selecting an application in the Finder and using the Get Info command (from the File menu or the command-I keyboard shortcut). In the Get Info window, expanding the Language section will show you a list of language localization files bundled in the application. To remove any you won't need, select them and click the remove (minus sign) button beneath the list.

Note: The checkboxes in this list denote which languages you are choosing to enable; unchecking languages will prevent their use but not remove the localization files.

While manually removing localization files from individual applications is an option (and it's interesting to see which languages each application supports), it can be a time-consuming process. Another option is to use a tool such as Xslimmer (US$13; free trial), TinkerTool System (US$9.75; free trial) or Monolingual (free/donationware) to remove localization files from both Mac OS X and installed applications.

These tools make quick work of the process and also offer additional features that can be used with some of the other tips in this article. (Monolingual has not been updated to specifically support Leopard, though most users have not reported any problems using it with Leopard.)

2. Cut out the non-native code

When Apple made the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors in early 2006, it needed to provide solutions for two major problems. First, since Intel processors couldn't natively run code designed for PowerPC processors, Apple introduced Rosetta, a technology that allows an Intel Mac to emulate a PowerPC processor on the fly as needed to run PowerPC code. Rosetta makes all Intel Macs able to run software that has not been updated to run natively on an Intel processor.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags snow leopardMac OS X

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ryan Faas

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?