Applications Open

A guy who worked on Mac repairs and maintenance told me a good way to test whether a Mac’s hard disk is working reliably. “Oh”, he said on the phone, “you can kinda stress-test it by opening the Applications folder and doing Cmd-A Cmd-O”.

It took me a moment to click just what he was saying: Cmd-A selects everything in the folder. Cmd-O opens things that are selected. In the case of apps, it will run them. So these two quick keystrokes will try to launch, simultaneously, every app installed on your machine.

“It usually takes 5 minutes or so, depending on the machine”, he continued. “But if there’s something wrong with the system this will usually find it.” Yes, I said, I imagined it would.

Now, I admit I haven’t tried this with my machines yet, but I did try it last time I was in the Apple store. And it’s a really good way to demonstrate the difference between hard-disk- and SSD-based machines!

Two things worth knowing if you try this experiment:

  • One of the things that will open at some point in this process is Time Machine. So your world will disappear into a star field until you close it!
  • Quitting 30 or 40 apps can be a pain unless you know the Cmd-Tab trick: if you’re doing Cmd-Tab to switch between apps, you can tap ‘Q’ while still holding down Cmd to quit the app whose icon is currently highlighted. Typing Q lots of times is a good way to quit lots of apps quickly.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser