Your Mac’s pretty clever, really. In terms of maintenance, it quietly looks after itself. Your local drive is reoptimised after every software update and clean-up routines will automatically kick in when you leave your machine to its own devices. SEE ALSO: 17 ways to clean up any Mac.

But sometimes, a well-used Mac may need a little extra help. The tell-tale signs are system sluggishness, orphan shortcuts and common applications crashing. The best cure for an overloaded system is a fresh install, but there are some easier options that can give it a spring clean. 

We’ll show you some quick and simple solutions – maintenance that you should do regularly to keep your system humming along. Before you know it, your Mac will be tuned up and factory fresh.

1. Back up  Before you begin faffing with your Mac, make sure you have an up-to-date backup. You can use Time Machine to deal with apps and docs, though we’d recommended having a complete backup to hand. SuperDuper is just the tool, as it can create a bootable backup that is easy to restore if things go wrong.

2. Free software  Using SuperDuper is easy and the free version is fine for manual backups – you can download it from Once installed, open the program and select your local machine from the Copy box. Select your backup drive in the To box. Choose Backup – all files and click Copy Now.

3. Keep a bootable disk  Make sure your Mac Install DVD is stored safely. It can be used for many emergency maintenance jobs. For example, to restore a SuperDuper backup, boot from your Install DVD (insert it and hold down C at startup) then select Disk Utility. Choose Restore and navigate to the backup drive. 

4. Create a troubleshooting account  Some Mac problems aren’t caused by your machine, but by your user preferences. You can troubleshoot this – and fix issues – by adding a second user account with Admin rights. Go to the Accounts pane in System Preferences and click Unlock. Click the + icon to add a new account.