Dear BNI readers, my 6-year-old iMAC seems to be running out of RAM and it is not possible to upgrade it on the system I have. Ain’t planned obsolescence great?

Until I get a new one, or find a way to fix the problem (which looks doubtful), posting new stuff likely will be less than usual. If anyone has any suggestions (simple enough for a computer dummy like me to understand), this is the operating system I have:

iMAC 21.5  inch)

OS X El Capitan version 10.11.6

Processor: 2.7 Ghz Intel Core 15

Memory: 16GB  1600 Mhz DDR3

UPDATE! Seems to be working better now since I asked it to FreeUp space in the RAM section and also deleted some applications and plugins that I never use.

Thank you all for your kind suggestions. I think I will update to Sienna as many of you recommended.

Sorry, Grumpy, you don’t get to plant your butt on top of a new computer, at least not for awhile, I hope.

Leave a Reply but no more than ONE LINK per comment

  1. The Finder is all fucked up. The time: The Gay 1990s. The Place: the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco Chronicle tech section headlines read: ‘Apple Computer releases the insanely great Apple Macintosh Performa.’ Meanwhile, the health section reads: ‘Castro District hopeful that new Protease Inhibitors mean HIV is no longer a death sentence.’ They fagelas must have been over the moon because now they could ‘Performa’ on each other without worrying that getting HIV could be the end of the world.

  2. Are you relly that stupid..or r you playing the dumb game to get finance…buy a new laptop…you have the money…fools will help you..but not me me..dumbo…

  3. Always delete everything you dont need.And if you have windows look at which programms start auto. Go on start an then type msconfig.if you have more than 3 automa. starting programms look at some pc pages which you dont need at the start.

    Also at services.msc you can change a the net for it.

  4. Hey,

    Love your website, commentary is priceless….lol, exactly what I was thinking usually. This probably won’t be your style and possibly out of price range from what I read above. Regardless, it’s what I’ve had; and wouldn’t take it any other way.

    Personally I’ve stayed away from apple ever since my ex got the nano or whatever they called it, which was reallly just an mp3 player and apple wouldn’t let us use it without installing sofware on my pc, and giving all kinds of personal info….credit card ….etcetera, thought that was ridiculous just to listen to music.

    This is for if you want to turn your pc into an all in one entertainment solution.

    Now a days building a pc is as easy as lego blocks, everything just plugs together; and having built several I love it.

    This is what I went with nearly 4 years ago, I use a 56 inch tv as a monitor;…just get a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can do things from your couch. Ctrl + to make things larger on web pages for easy viewing.

    Pick a motherboard…..I got the P9X79 – which supports 64 gigs of ram, up to 128 since then.

    Get the Ram if you want (16 though should be suffficient for any average user). I run games, movies, even temporary internet files directly off my ram (creating a seperate Ram Disk for each) – for lighning speed. Software allows you to chooose if you want to save your ram at shutdown/restart. Save that on SSD for quicker startup.
    SoftPerfect RamDisk is free and works great.

    Then select a processor…..depending on if you went intel or AMD. I recommend intel.

    I eventually got a 4 terebyte hard drive for slow access storage.

    Importand to get an SSD for operating system, just 250 gig for me. Much faster.

    Pick a large cool looking case.

    That way anytime something fishy is going on with the operating system, it takes me a short time to wipe the disk and re-install windows (which is incredibly rare), and I have a brand new computer (clean slate). With all my stuff stored on the far slower hard drive. Then just a matter of getting the settings back the way I like….and linking folders from the hard Drive to SSD….such as my music….etcetera. Just right click on folder and go properties; all the options are there. Plus re-installing stuff.

    Did magority of this 4 years ago and cost about $1000 bux, ecxept my video card was pricey, added 4 hundred, first hard drive was smaller too.. Then later I got the 64 gigs of ram. That was pricey $850 or so, it’s dropped way down since the 16 gig ddr4 sticks came out.

    Now I want to upgrade processor and get the 128 gig ram….performance boost is legendary when running anything installed on RAM.

    However it’s been a great investment…..for my needs. Screw the cable companies, use internet for all entertainment. I’d wager my system could easily handle Ultra HD, just like it does 3d gaming.

    Runs like a dream to this day, plays state of the art games with graphics maxed out…..amazing the difference having software on your Ram makes.

    …..Anyhow if you decide to convert your PC into an all in one entertainment solution that will last. This is the most efficient way I have found.

    Don’t forget the tie wraps to make everything look neat inside….lol.

    • Andrew, surely, you’re not intending this message for moi? You probably missed the comment where I said I still use the mouse upside down because that’s how I found it when I used a computer for the first time.

      • …………….lol, actually I at first glanced over the comments and needed to throw in my 2 cents, cause I like this stuff; and it seemed like you were only getting the how to fix it perspective. When I would have thought you’d be a computer pro, running website and all; which I wouldn’t know where to start.

        I did afterwards see that….lmao, and I gotta wonder, you must have very agile palms; to be able to work the clickers and the wheel. What about side buttons? ——potential viral video????…lol

        Computers only have a few components that each have a job, and just plug together – perhaps easier for me as an electrician; but compared to studying theocracy it’s really childs play.

        Took me far longer to understand how 2 people can agree they want freedom (or whatever is on the table) but both be thinking two entirely different things. Blows me away how even when I think I’m an expert, freedom fighters lectures always teach me new things. Computers are similar in that way, once you reach a certain benchmark of knowledge, you don’t need to go further; but you can.

        first time I saw a black and white apple, with a mouse….I went back to my commodore 64…

          • For the model of mouse I own:

            When I place my right hand on the mouse, cord facing forward; my index finger sits on the left button and my middle finger sits on the right button; with a wheel in between them (which is also a button too).

            My thumb is on the left side of the mouse, which has two additional buttons. I use these to navigate the web.

            Those are the side buttons…lol

          • I have the old MAC mouse. No right and left click. No buttons. I ascribe to the KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) theory for all things tech. Even my microwave oven is limited to ON and OFF, HIGH, LOW, MEDIUM, DEFROST, and a TIMER.

      • For all your really using your mac for those specs should be fine…….But you leave out hard drive size, and how packed it is.

        In Windows land, I would just reformat. Meaning wipe the hard disk, re-install windows. Fixes all problems, but you gotta re-install stuff. Obviously back up anything you want to keep if Hard drive isn’t partitioned.

          • You have a One Terabyte hard drive, and are using a tiny amount. (it’ll never say the full 1000 GB, for some reason they are always just shy)

            I don’t know much about macs, but you probably have the operating system installed; and that’s it.

            Something strange is going on if your still having issues.

            When you restart your mac it should also clear your RAM so it’s completely empty…..then when it starts up you won’t have much running. 16 GB RAM is a lot, should never really need all that. Unless you have RAM Disks… Which you would have needed to set up yourself, so you’d know.

            It’s Odd. I can’t say much beyond that, don’t know Macs.

            Did it come with “restore disks”?

          • Andrew, I don’t know if it has restore disks. But Carbonite backs up everything on my Mac.

            The problem seems to be gone now. I think as someone suggested, a malware site was trying to get me to purchase something, because after I got the alert message about my running out of RAM, I do recall opening a link that asked me to buy a service. I didn’t, fortunately. And now I have a free MAC malware catcher that is supposed to prevent this.

          • Until last year, there was no significant threat to MAC. Now there is at least one ransomeware that targets them. This search will find MalwareBytes for MAC and MAC Support. malware removal for mac os

  5. Don’t feel bad, Bonni. I’m just as lost reading this stuff as you are. All I ever use is my iPhone.

  6. YouTube has good (and bad) tutorials for beginners.
    I don’t have the time to view them all but these seem to be good. If the presenter speaks well then the video has promise. Skip the bits that are boring… Replay the bits that deal with memory and storage.

    Basics (unfortunately these use Windows computers but Macs have much in common at beginner levels).
    Learn Computer Basics Parts 1, 2, 3.
    (a) watch?v=cXBVMyKQ3ZY
    (b) watch?v=dfr5DLFqrHA
    (c) watch?v=thMTC_bHqw0

    Essential Guide to a Mac
    Key UI Elements and System Preferences
    (d) watch?v=Lf1MuK1dZwI
    Finder and Launchpad
    (e) watch?v=TGtcegaI1Ho
    (Finder is the MOST important tool you have!)

    Key concepts for you are working memory (RAM) and storage memory (Hard Disk etc). Key tools are Finder – and Safari (if you are using “cloud” storage eg OneDrive).
    To comply with “ONE LINK per comment” you will need to put
    in front of each of (a) to (e) above.
    Good luck!

  7. Delete any app books or podcasts which are actually stored on your computer while wrapped in the app, as they use up a ton of space. The other thing you can do is buy external storage drives (Seagate has good ones) & put your archivable files there. I have also read Mac’s are intelligent enough to store frequently used files in more readily accessible sections of memory & non-used files in more remote sections.

    • RFF, I deleted those last night. Was surprised to see I had so many podcasts (of one radio show I listen to a few times a week) stored as I never save any of them. Finding out what the Extensions folder was from Clean My Mac allowed me to delete all of them.

  8. My 10 year old mac started having convulsions 6 months ago, it’s not dead, but it’s on life support. I bought a refurbished one, works like a charm, watch out for memory capacity, I lost half with this upgrade. Make sure your updates are up to date.

    • I have PC with 1 GB RaM and 80 GB Harddisk . If I need to store extra use pen pendrive to store old files to free up space.

      No functional issues at all.

      If RAM is not enough even after you have 16 GB then you need to get Rid of applications/software/plugins that you do not need/use on daily basis but that load up anyway when you start up your Mac.

      Also use defrag option to reduce loading time of applications.

  9. BNI I just sent your info to my grandson who has been earning his own way through computers since he was 16 years old. He is now 26 and good at what he does. He has helped a number of companies go lean and more efficient. He is one of my regular family members I send your stuff to. I hope he can help you he is a mac appreciator.

  10. Why would RAM, especially so much as 16Mb, be insufficient? You’re not doing heavy design work? If you’re just letting much of your storage capacity, on the other hand, get overloaded, then move the stuff out to a portable disk.

    • It is plenty of ram…i am running 3d design software on that . Too many useless apps are running to use 16gb of random access memory. 2011 imac also has min 500gb internal storage too. .
      I just Google and found that Apple has”activity monitor” located in /applications /utilities or type” activity monitor “in spotlight… It should show what is using all the ram. Then close apps or maybe close images or use smaller images in documents. Apple might deliberately make old stuff obsolete with updates too.

      • You complain of memory, but Probably you mean storage, and you’re short on storage. You have a killer machine with 16 Mb RAM, but RAM is not storage. Think of RAM as the brain, and storage as your pockets. What you need probably is more space to store your pictures and files. Buy a “USB Disk Drive”, plug it into you USB port, and transfer your files and pictures in an organized way onto that external medium. Once you’ve succeeded at that, you can trash the copies on your machine and thus retrieve much needed space.

        • I don’t store any photos on my computer. I use an outside photo storage site for all my albums. And I don’t have a lot of videos outside of on the blog, all of which pages are stored on two different outside sites, not to mention is backed up on Carbonite.

      • Processor capacity : the size of the registers, sets the upper limit of memory access. I have not heard of add on memory cards since the days of the XT.

        If the OS uses virtual meory and the HD is full, that could cause your problem.

          • Apples are for eating, I put one in my chili tonight and I will put some chunks on my pizza. I only know about Windows hardware and software and my knowledge ended with the XT and Win 95. 64 bit processors can address more RAM than 32 bit. this thing only has slots for 5MB, it is maxed out. I have not seen it run out of memory yet.

  11. Copy all your .jpg and other graphics files, and videos, onto an 8 Gigabyte USB Flashdrive. Maybe make two copies if you are nervous, so you have extra backup. This will give your RAM room to move. You can also use a completely blank Flash Drive in a USB port when operating your computer, and set the Flash Drive to serve as operating Flash Ram.

    Most computer users know how to do this because even I know how to do it, it is very simple but someone in your area can do this in an hour or so. Having the Flash RAM memory operating will make your system run very nicely indeed. Keeping more open memory in your system will speed it up also (by moving the stored files onto the Flash RAM for “deep storage”, that memory can be cleared for everyday RAM processing which speeds up the system and saves you from crashes and “hangs”).

    I’ve been using “PC Reviver” which seemed to help me quite a lot even though I have jammed a lot of my memory with files also. PC Reviver is available for free (as freeware) and I think they have a version for Apple operating systems). [I am also using Malwarebytes “Anti Ransomware” which may have saved me recently. It’s another freebie.] Look on which is a safe place to download freeware from, we hope, set the CNET download for “Apple” Operating System, and also set the CNET download for “freeware” to avoid the paid programs.

  12. What do you mean by running out of RAM? 16GB is still a healthy amount of RAM, even by today’s standard. Have you tried reinstalling the Operating System from scratch? You may have an application with a memory leak and reinstallation should fix that.

  13. If you single click on the icon of your hard drive then press the keys command and i at the same time it should bring up a window that gives you system information. In this case I think you want to look at your ‘capacity’ and right underneath that ‘available’, which will tell you how much space you have left on your hard drive.

  14. Are you running out of space on your hard drive, like you don’t have enough room to store files, or is your connection to wordpress/other on-line stuff slowing down? Don’t think you can run out of RAM.

  15. As I say, I don’t know what makes my car run, I just put the key in and drive. Kinda the same thing when it comes to computers. My next step I’m going to Geeks Squad for help.

  16. you have not stated how much RAM you have right now.

    Not sure why you cannot post new posts because your posts are on the website server not on your PC .

    If the Memory is harddisk of 16 GB and you are running out of storage space.

    you can delete old folders after transferring old/achieved data to external hardisk or pendrive (you can buy online and connect using USB port).

    Pendrive with 32 GB costs Less than $35 . Buy 2 or more and store it in safe place you’ll not forget !

    Or you can use free space option but with limits like 5GB space and 1 GB download/upload per day.

    From Box to DropBox, Google to Apple, there’s plenty of free storage to be had in the cloud. Many companies use free cloud storage as a way to entice users into their clouds in hopes that they will pay more for additional storage.

    • L, that is a very good message for all to read. The sheer ignorance of the Bollywood fools who think that they run America. I vote that every so called actor who signs on to boycott work in the movie industry be black listed and named so that we can boycott their B rate movies. I no long watch hypocrits like loony Clooney, streep and so on. I suggest that they can afford to stop working with their huge bank accounts. Perhaps the idiots like Clooney and streep, would put their millions into an account to subsidize the poor people who make props, do make up and so on. A strike will only hurt the ‘little guys’ and not hurt the filthy rich snow flake stars. America it is time to show these puffed up bolly wood types that we do not care what they think. Remember kapernick. the looser quarter back who would not stand for the American anthem. Pay back is a b—ch.

  17. Your computer RAM is your temporary storage where you do all your activities on your computer. It is like a scratch pad. It sounds to me like you are running out of space on your hard drive.

    If you are putting too much into RAM, you can get “Out of Memory” errors, or sometimes blue screens indicating that there is a problem, but you can fix that problem by just simply limiting the number of applications you have running on your computer and keep your computer running lean and mean, using only what you have to.

    Hard drive space is another matter. That is where your data, programs, and files are stored permanently, or at least, until you remove them. If you are running out of hard drive space, you should be able to upgrade to a larger hard drive.

    Problem is however, if you have a notebook or laptop computer, hard drive replacements can be a pain in the butt, because often notebooks and laptops may have a unique design for their drive or drive interface, you may be screwed in being able to find larger hard drives compatible with your computer. If I understand you correctly, this seems to be your problem, is finding a compatible and larger hard drive for your system.

    One thing you can do is if there are files you are no longer using, but still want to save, you can offload them onto CDs, DVDs, Flash drives, or even an external hard drive that can be connected to your iMAC via USB port or some other interface. Since MACs often have ports and interfaces that are compatible to PC interfaces, that should not be a problem. And I think virtually all computers nowadays have standard USB ports. Then whatever you don’t need on your working hard drive, you can just delete from your hard drive to free up space on your hard drive.

    In the meantime, tell me what size your hard drive is for your iMAC and I will try to find out whether there is a larger hard drive compatible for your system.

  18. with 16GB of RAM you can even video encoding, so it is not a problem with your computer specs.

    Maybe some fishy app that draw the resources.

    What exactly are you doing on that computer?

    • RUM, I do nothing but this blog for the most part, and a little banking, bill paying, and shopping. I don’t create videos or graphics but copy and paste them onto my blog along with text. My blog is totally backed up by my webhost as well as by WordPress offsite.

      • Bonni: You can upgrade your iMAC’s software to MacOS Sierra 10.12 from update section, save your important files to an external hardrive or USB flashdrive and try to update your machine. Most of the time the upgrade to a newer version of software do a clean install look a like and your iMac should run as NEW.

        Hope it will help to you.

  19. Dear Bonni: I have an eight year old iMac myself and can only offer the following: do you have a thumb drive or another type of portable hard drive you can use to place all the current contents of your computer on? I’m surprised you don’t by the way. Then after copying and transferring it there, you can wipe your iMac with no fear of losing any past information you’ve placed on it. After that reset your iMac to its original factory settings and there you have it: a clean slate so to speak..Simple …I’ve done it on a number of occasions myself…I of course, don’t have the extensive library you do but that seems to be an answer to your immediate problem until you can purchase a new iMac.

  20. Hi boni are you saying that all the RAM slots are full? Ie computers usually come with an extra slot or two so you can buy and add another one or two RAM sticks

  21. You should buy a pc. When a mac crashes, Apple wants you to buy another one….. it is not meant to be be repaired. Welcome to the apple world…. hihihi

    • Rubbish! Apple support Mac-& where is support from Bill Gates? Anwser- NONE! You have to go it alone & find a PC repairer.

      • Apple service is outstanding. I’ve had PC’s, and when they act up, you’re on your own. I’ve paid for so many repairs and the PC still failed. Macs can live for 10 or more years, with very little intervention from Apple. I’ve never had an issue that Apple couldn’t help me with. When my old PC died (a life span of a couple years), all the data died with it, with Mac, the transfer of data to a new Mac can be quite seamless.

  22. Bonni, you don’t just “run out” of RAM unless you did or changed something. My guess is most likely one of three things happened:

    1. You recently added new software that demands more RAM? Solution: uninstall to remove it and revert to using your older software, which uses less RAM. (Also, close programs when you’re not using them.)
    2. You never reboot your computer? Solution: save everything and then reboot. This will automatically clear up a bunch of RAM. (Reboot regularly!!!)
    3. You have a problem such as spyware, malware, or similar? Solution: Run your antivirus if it has a diagnostic function, otherwise do some research and choose from among the many free programs to remove malware and spyware. (These are space hogs, they can run invisibly in the background and use up all your RAM.)

    If you do these three things, you should have plenty of RAM to continue doing whatever you were doing with it six years ago, until you upgrade or the machine dies. Your limitation is not being able to upgrade the OS or run newer software. (Newer software generally demands more RAM.)

    That’s about the best I can do without actually sitting down with you. But one more thing — before you do ANYTHING, first back-up anything important in case you run into problems. (Always back up multiple copies of anything important on a regular basis.)

  23. Im also no tech genius but perhaps an extermal hard drive might help. You could download whats on your pc to that hard drive. That would give you more ram available on the PC. My other suggestion would be to check at your local tech store and ask them for suggestions.

  24. Apple’s own RAM checks

    You can easily check the RAM using your Mac’s built-in tests. Restart or boot up your Mac and hold D while it boots; this will take you to the diagnostics screen. The Diagnostics section varies depending on the age of your Mac and OS: on older systems (where the diagnostics page has a blue background) you’ll need to select the middle tab, Hardware Tests, then put a tick next to ‘Perform extended testing (takes considerably more time)’ and hit the big blue Test button.

  25. I feel your pain. Same thing happened to the Mac I bought in 2011. I finally broke down and bought a new one. I just can’t go back to a PC after having a Mac.

    • Jade, When I was working at an advertising agency in the ’90’s, they came in one day and dropped the new little Apple computer on my desk with no instructions. It sat there for a month until one day I had nothing to do and decided to turn it on. The mouse was laying on my desk backwards with the apple logo at the top. So I taught myself to use it that way and have never been able to use it in the correct position since. When I want to scroll left, I move the mouse right, to go up, I pull the mouse down. Works for me! LOL

  26. I’m IT hopeless, but my son suggests that you may have a virus or several eating up your Memory. He says 16GB for RAM (which is the “computing fuel”) is more than enough, and you should be perfectly able to add heaps more ROM (which is the storage capacity). Both get called “Memory”, which is mega-confusing. My iMac is over 10 years old and runs well on only 4GB RAM, and my hard drive is an SSD which gives me 250GB ROM.

    The main problem for me is that they keep updating systems, and my iMac can’t update anymore. So I have to buy a new computer to use browsers, most antivirus software and some websites. That’s planned obsolescence too, and I hate it.

    Surf persistently to find out how to fix the problem: you are not alone. And a local IT fix-it guy or gal is more likely to save your computer at a reasonable fee than a shop who wants to sell you a new one.

    • Careful, don’t want to confuse everyone.

      RAM = random access memory, computer stores things here temporarily when it knows it willl need to access it fast, ram is the fastest way to do anything; However every time you turn off your computer it is cleared. Unless you use a software like RamDisk which saves whats on your ram before shutdown, and then re-loads it when your pc starts up; which your computer will just seee it as a super fast hard drive. Hense the use of a computer actually utilizing 128 gigs of ram. My 64 Gigs isn’t big enough for some of the newer games.

      ROM = read only memory. Meaning it is never cleared, Hense a CD-ROM. Or a computer game chip…..there is no changing whats on there.

      The reason you think of your SSD as a ROM is probably because the older ones had a limited ability to change data. Too much re-writing would de-grade it, so it was recommended to be used more as storage; however with quick acccess.

  27. Theres a program called “Clean my Mac ” which creates more space and tidies up
    Also you could move and store old stuff on an external hard drive to free up space on your Mac

  28. You have plenty of RAM(16Gb’s). Sounds like your hard drive is full, replace it with a large solid state drive 2TB(terabyte). Solid state drives add great performance to a computer, as much as 20 times better performance. Also, this machines will run the new OS Apple announced on June 5th called High Sierra 10.13.

  29. Gday Bonni tell the government you are a muslim that should work if not contact Julie Bishop at the Australian Department of Foreign affairs the ATM works well for any Islamic organisation a few more million wont be missed its only taxpayer money..Sorry Bonni just went through the sane exercise 600 later and that was one of the cheapest/.

  30. Also do NOT let them do a data transfer for you if you buy a new computer, again they will be able to see everything. Not worth the risk. Do it yourself.

    I imagine you just need an external hard drive to offload some unused stuff.

      • One of the great things about modern computers (or a curse, depending on your perspective), is that while setting up a new computer, you can connect to your old computer and transfer your files, applications, and settings over, so you pretty much pick up where you left off, only on a newer computer.

        Of course, one problem with this is digital hoarding, where you just keep accumulating new files and applications. But even as an IT Pro, I like the simplicity. I can get up and running easier. It used to take me days in the past to back up my old system and install and register all the applications I use. Not, it happens within hours.

        I think what “Awakened” meant is don’t let Apple do this for you. Bring the new computer home and do it yourself (if you go that route).

  31. Surely you must mean you are running out of storage space on the hard drive and not RAM? 16GB is a LOT.

    Bonni(e?), do not give your serial number to anyone, Apple is OVERRUN with Leftists that will spill all of your information to AntiFa to dox you with.

    • AC, I would never give the serial number. I got a message from my CLEAN MY MAC plugin that said I was running out of RAM. So I went to the section where you can ask it to free up RAM space. It’s working better than it was early yesterday, but some functions seem very slow.

  32. Have you tried to update to Sierra (MacOS 10.12)? Your iMac’s specs are similar to my MacBook Pro, so it should run Sierra, unless it’s an older model that Apple specifically blocked from getting the updated OS.

    I use an app called Dr. Cleaner that monitors my RAM and gives me the ability to clean it up when needed. You should be able to get at least another year out of that iMacl

  33. Not knowing where your live, I can’t give specific advice. But I’d find a shop dealing in used Macs. I normally use a place called Digital Planet in Middleburg, FL. I’ve had very good luck with used MacBooks, HDs and other parts. Certainly much cheaper then new.
    I learned the same thing, the OS is only supported for 6 years. But really they can’t economically support ALL old systems so a line needs to be drawn. And 6 years is ancient in the computer world.
    Good luck!

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