My Computer Is Slow or Freezing

Introduction

This guide will help you resolve basic problems that can cause your computer to freeze or lockup.
Before You Begin:
  • Be at your computer.
Interior of computer

1 OS Choice

There are 2 main Operating Systems for personal computers currently available, Windows and macOS.

Windows
Windows runs on computers produced by multiple companies, such as Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Acer, and Sony.Windows 10
macOS
Apple is the only company that makes macOS computers.macOS Mojave

? What Operating System do you have on your computer?

  1. Windows
  2. macOS

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This guide will help you resolve basic problems that can cause your computer to freeze or lockup.
Before You Begin:
  • Be at your computer.
Interior of computer

There are 2 main Operating Systems for personal computers currently available, Windows and macOS.

Windows
Windows runs on computers produced by multiple companies, such as Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Acer, and Sony.Windows 10
macOS
Apple is the only company that makes macOS computers.macOS Mojave
  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Update and Security.
    Updates and Security Settings
  3. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Update and Security with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  4. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  5. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

Windows needs about 2 GB free space, at minimum, to function. In order to properly update and perform other functions, around 5 GB free space is recommended.

A simple way to help free up space is to remove temporary files; files that were useful during an update or other working of the computer, but now simply take up space.

This will guide you through safely clearing those temporary files.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select System.
    System Settings
  3. Select Storage on the left, then select Temporary files on the right.
    System Settings with Storage and Temporary files highlighted.
  4. Place a checkmark next to each item, then select Remove files.
    Temporary files settings with each item checked and remove files highlighted.

You may need to remove an app because you need the space or simply don't need it anymore. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Apps.
    Apps Settings
  3. Select Apps & features on the left.
    Apps Settings with Apps and features highlighted.
  4. Select an app you want to uninstall, then select Uninstall.
    Apps and features with app and Uninstall highlighted.
    Carefully read any prompts in case there are special instructions. Proceed until the application is removed.
    Some applications may require that you reboot.
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

In the next steps, we're going to look at the programs running on your computer, and close programs that are using a lot of resources.

Then, we'll disable any unnecessary startup programs and explain how heat and keeping your computer clean can reduce CPU usage.

Windows
Windows 10 Task Manager
macOS
macOS Activity Monitor
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Ctrl-Alt-Del highlighted.
  2. Select Task Manager.
    GINA screen with Task Manager highlighted.
  3. Select More Details at the bottom.
    Task Manager with More Details highlighted.
  4. Select the Processes tab, then select CPU to sort the process list by how much CPU they use.
    Task Manager with Processes tab and CPU field highlighted.
  5. Look through the top five or ten entries for programs you recognize.

    There will be many you don't recognize in the list; this is normal. Windows has a lot of processes, some with odd names, to allow it to run properly.

  6. If you see a program you know about and aren't using, select it, then select End task.
    Task Manager with program and End Task highlighted.
You can check this information when you have your normal programs open. Open a few programs you usually use, and return to this window. See if you're using up your CPU for an extended period. CPU usage spikes are normal, but having your usage being above 90% indicates a problem.
The CPU is a physical part of your computer, not something you can download or modify through software. If you want to upgrade your CPU you need to contact the company you purchased your computer from, or a local technical support service. Depending on your device you may not be able to upgrade your CPU at all. If this is the case you will need to purchase a new device.

Disabling Start Ups can be a daunting process. You need to know what these items do before you take that dive into your Task Manager and start clicking things off. But if you do know what the items do and that you don't need them, disabling them can help boost performance or may even fix some issues.

  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Ctrl-Alt-Del highlighted.
  2. Select Task Manager.
    GINA screen with Task Manager highlighted.
  3. Select More Details at the bottom.
    Task Manager with More Details highlighted.
  4. Select the Startup tab at the top.
    Task Manager with Startup tab highlighted.
  5. Look carefully through this list. If you see an item you do not want to startup whenever you turn on your computer, highlight it, and choose Disable at the bottom.
    Task Manager Startup with application and Disable button highlighted.

Heat

CPU's produce a lot of heat. They normally have a heat sink or fan over them to keep the heat from growing too high. If your CPU is overtaxed it may grow too hot for even a fan to dissipate the heat.

There are programs and utilities that let you monitor the heat of your CPU. If your CPU is overheating it can lead to sluggishness, a high usage of the CPU in task manager, or your system could shut down completely.

Cleaning

While laptops are pretty compact and difficult to clean, desktops will gather dust, cat hair, and any other particulates you may have in your house.

The dirtier your computer, the worse it performs. Dust traps heat inside your components, ultimately damaging them if they are never cleaned.

If you have a desktop you can open it and spray the dust out using compressed air.

Whether you have a laptop or a desktop you have access to power settings in Windows 10. These tend to have more effect on laptops, but changing your power settings can affect your CPU power.

More power savings means trading some performance for less energy use. Lower energy use makes your laptop battery last longer, as well as makes your computer cost less to operate.

  1. Open the Start menu, and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select System.
    System Settings
  3. Select Power & sleep on the left, then Additional power settings on the right.
    System Settings with Power and sleep and Additional power settings highlighted.
  4. You'll be able to choose from three power plans; Balanced, Power saver, and High performance.
    Power Options with each plan highlighted
    Balanced
    This provides a balance between energy use and the performance of your computer. This is the recommended setting.
    Power Saver
    This option decreases system performance in order to save more energy. This can help you make your laptop's battery last longer, at the cost of it taking longer to start a program, for example.
    High performance
    This setting will use the most energy, but will allow the computer to go as fast as it can at all time.
    These options provide a great deal of customization. It is perfectly understandable and acceptable to stop after picking one of these choices! To continue to further customize the way your computer manages power consumption, to get the exact setup that is best for you, continue with the steps below.
  5. Once you have chosen a plan, select Change plan settings to the right.
    Power Options with plan chosen and Change plan settings highlighted.
  6. First, set when you'd like your screen to turn off and when your computer will go to sleep when not in use to save power. Then, select Change advanced power settings.
    Edit Plan Settings with Display off Computer sleep and Change advanced power settings highlighted.
  7. In Power Options, select the + next to each item to expand it, and change the settings to customize the Power Plan to your exact expectations, and balance power savings with performance to meet your needs. When done, select OK.
    Power Options with plus signs setting and OK button highlighted.

Your computer's performance can suffer if it is facing limitations caused by system memory (or RAM). Checking how much memory your computer has physically installed, and how much of that memory your system is using will help diagnose a potential memory issue that is affecting your system's performance.

  • In general, Windows 10 requires 2 GB of memory to work, but performance and stability will be limited. Windows 10 runs better with 4 GB. If you use a lot of programs at the same time, or very large programs (such as games), you may require more memory, such as 6 GB or 8 GB or more.
  • You can choose to use fewer programs, or add more memory to your computer if you find yourself regularly using up all available memory.
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Ctrl-Alt-Del highlighted.
  2. Select Task Manager.
    GINA screen with Task Manager highlighted.
  3. Select More Details at the bottom.
    Task Manager with More Details highlighted.
  4. Select the Performance tab at the top, then select Memory on the left.
    Task Manager with Performance and Memory highlighted.
  5. Look at the amount of memory you have on your computer, and how much is in use.
    Task Manager Memory with Total Memory and Memory In Use highlighted.
    Total Memory
    In the top-right corner, you'll see how much memory is physically installed in your computer.
    Memory In Use
    In the list at the bottom, you'll see how much is in use by Windows, and the programs you have open.
    In general, you want 1GB to 2GB available while you have most of your regular programs open.
You can check this information when you have your normal programs open. Open a few programs you usually use, and return to this window. See if you're using more memory than you have; this indicates Windows is using some of your hard drive space as memory, which is very slow.
This is a physical part of your computer, not something you can download or modify through software. If you want to add more memory to your computer, contact the company you purchased your computer from, or a local technical support service.

Virtual Memory or Your Paging File

The paging file is a hidden file on your computer's hard drive that Windows 10 uses as memory, and acts as an overflow of the system memory that holds the data needed for applications currently running on your computer. Increasing the size of your paging file can help with speed issues.
  1. In the search bar, type "Control Panel" and select it.
    Windows 10 Search with control panel selected
  2. Select System and Security.
    System and security selection
  3. Select System.
    The system panel
  4. Select Advanced System Settings.
    Advanced system settings link
  5. Under the Advanced panel select Settings within Performance.
    Advanced panel showing performance settings
  6. Select the Advanced tab and under Virtual Memory select Change.
    Performance options
  7. To set your own Paging File size, clear the automatically manage paging file size for all drives selection.
    Automatically managed page file
  8. Select Custom Size to set your own Virtual Memory limits. Click Set to finalize your sizes.
    Setting your paging file
  9. The minimum size of the Page file can be up to 1.5 times the amount of physical memory (RAM) you have installed. The maximum size can be 4 times the amount of the physical memory. For example, if your computer has 1GB of RAM, the minimum Page file size can be 1.5GB, and the maximum size of the file can be 4GB.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Select the Start Menu, and type in rstrui. Select rstrui from the list.
    Start menu search for rstrui with Start menu, search field, and search result highlighted.
  2. System Restore will open. Select Next.
    System Restore welcome screen with Next highlighted.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Select Next afterwards.
    System restore with restore date and Next highlighted.
  4. Confirm your restore point by selecting Finish.
    Confirm restore to restore point with Finish highlighted.
  5. A message warning you that once started, the system restore can't be stopped or undone. Select Yes to proceed.
    Confirm system restore with Yes highlighted.
  6. Your system will take a few moments to ready the system restore.
    Readying system restore.
  7. Your screen will turn blue, and the system restore will begin.
    System Restore in progress

    It can take a long time, over an hour in some cases, for System Restore to complete.

    Do not turn off or power down your computer during a System Restore. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into power so the battery does not run out during this process.

  8. Your computer will reboot on its own when complete.
  9. After returning to your Desktop, a message letting you the System Restore was successful is displayed. Select Close.
    System Restore complete with Close highlighted.

Disabling Start Ups can be a daunting process. You need to know what these items do before you take that dive into your Task Manager and start clicking things off. But if you do know what the items do and that you don't need them, disabling them can help boost performance or may even fix some issues.

  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    PC Desktop Keyboard with Ctrl-Alt-Del highlighted.
  2. Select Task Manager.
    GINA screen with Task Manager highlighted.
  3. Select More Details at the bottom.
    Task Manager with More Details highlighted.
  4. Select the Startup tab at the top.
    Task Manager with Startup tab highlighted.
  5. Look carefully through this list. If you see an item you do not want to startup whenever you turn on your computer, highlight it, and choose Disable at the bottom.
    Task Manager Startup with application and Disable button highlighted.
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

Sluggishness and freezing could be a result of a corrupted or bugged Windows Image.

Repairing the Windows Image or (DISM) will check for corrupted, bugged, or incorrect Windows files and replace them with the proper files.

Make sure you are connected to the Internet before beginning these steps.

  1. Choose the Start menu, and type PowerShell into the search.
    start menu with PowerShell search
  2. Using your right mouse button, right click on PowerShell in the list above. A special menu will open. Choose Run as Administrator.
    Right click menu for PowerShell with Run as Administrator highlighted
  3. Windows will ask if PowerShell may make changes, click Yes.
    User account control prompt with yes highlighted
  4. At the prompt, enter the following command, then press enter on your keyboard:
    dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
    PowerShell with dsim command entered
  5. Windows will automatically go through every system file, make sure they are valid, and replace any corrupted files.
    dsim running in PowerShell
  1. Select the Start menu, search for Performance. Then, select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows from the menu.
    start menu with search for performance and adjust performance choice highlighted
  2. Select Adjust for best performance at the top, then click OK at the bottom.
    Performance options with adjust for best performance highlighted
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
Performing a Windows 10 Reset keeps your personal files, settings, and apps that came installed on your machine intact. For portable devices: Before proceeding with a Reset, make sure the device is connected to a power outlet to avoid power loss during the reset process.
You will lose any and all customized settings made, as well as any extra programs you've installed since you first got your computer.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu.
    Windows 10 Settings
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Recovery.
    Update and Security Settings menu with Recovery highlighted.
  5. On the left, under Reset this PC, select Get started.
    Update and Security settings Recovery options Reset this PC section with Get started button highlighted.
  6. Select Keep my files.
    Reset this PC with Keep my files highlighted.
  7. Take note of any apps that will need to be reinstalled, then select Next.
    Reset this PC apps list with Next highlighted.
  8. At this point, the system is ready to be reset. This process may take quite a while, and the system will automatically restart when needed. Select Reset when you're ready to continue.
    Confirm reset with Reset highlighted.
  9. Windows 10 will start the reset process and may reboot several times while running. Follow any on-screen instructions that may require your attention.
    Windows Resetting PC
  10. Once the process is complete, you may use your system again.

Your system doesn't seem to meet requirements to run Windows 10. We recommend finding a local shop to get an upgrade if possible.

Depending on the age of your system, it may not be possible to upgrade the RAM.
RAM in a computer

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.
  1. Select Apple menu > About This Mac.
    macOS Mojave Apple menu with About This Mac highlighted.
  2. Select Storage.
    About This Mac with Storage highlighted
  3. Free space is the first number you see below the name of your hard drive.
    About This Mac Storage with available space highlighted

    Disk space needs will vary depending on how you use your computer. In general, if you have over 15 GB of free space, you should be fine for updates and upgrades.
    Only proceed if you have less than 15 GB of free space.

  4. Select Manage.
    About this Mac with Manage button highlighted
  5. Under Recommendations on the left, you'll see some very easy-to-use tools to help optimize and clean up your disk space, such as optimizing the files already stored in iCloud, removing items from iTunes you've already watched or listened to, emptying the Trash automatically, and reviewing the files stored on your Mac to delete unused or old ones.
    macOS recommendations
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

In the next steps, we're going to look at the programs running on your computer, and close programs that are using a lot of resources.

Then, we'll disable any unnecessary startup programs and explain how heat and keeping your computer clean can reduce CPU usage.

Windows
Windows 10 Task Manager
macOS
macOS Activity Monitor

There may be occasions when a piece of software on your Mac will crash or become unresponsive and take up too much CPU or memory. The best option is to go to the Activity Monitor and see what’s causing the congestion.

Activity Monitor shows the processes that are running on your Mac, so you can manage them and see how they affect your Mac's activity and performance.

  1. Select Spotlight on the top-right of your menu bar.
    macOS menu bar with Search highlighted.
  2. Type in "activity monitor", and select Activity Monitor from the search results.
    Spotlight search with search field and Activity Monitor in results highlighted.
  3. Select the %CPU header. This will sort your processes by how much CPU they are using.
    Activity Monitor with CPU% header highlighted.
  4. Look through the list of running programs. If one has an exceptionally high CPU%, it will be on the top, and could be a sign of the program having problems.
  5. To terminate a process that may be causing a problem, click on it with your mouse to highlight it, then click the X button in the upper-left corner of the Activity Monitor window.
    Activity monitor with program and close X highlighted.
  6. You will be asked if you really want to quit the process. Click Force Quit.
    Quit prompt with Force Quit highlighted.
  1. Select the Apple Menu and then System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Users & Groups.
    macOS Users and Groups Preferences
  3. Select Login Items at the top, then your Username on the left. Finally, select the lock in the bottom-left corner to unlock these settings.
    Users and Groups Preferences with Login Items, User, and Lock highlighted.
  4. Enter your macOS password, and select Unlock.
    System Preferences unlock prompt with password and Unlock button highlighted.
  5. Look through the list on the right. If you see an item you don't recognize, or an item you don't use frequently, highlight it by clicking its name, then click the Remove (–) button below to remove it.
    Users and Groups Login Items with an item and minus button highlighted.

NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) is a cache of settings specific to your Mac. Resetting NVRAM is safe, however you will need to reset some of your minor customizations, such as volume, time zone, or screen resolution.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Shut Down... (2).
    Apple menu icon highlighted with menu beneath highlighting the shut down option.
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button.
    Macbook power button highlighted on the keyboard.
  4. Immediately push and hold the option, command ⌘, P, and R keys on your keyboard.
    option keyPluscommand keyPlusP KeyPlusR Key
    • If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after the second time it plays.
    • If there is no startup sound, release the keys after the second time the Apple logo disappears.

Make the Dock work faster

  1. Select Apple menu > System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Dock.
    macOS Dock Preferences
  3. For Minimize windows using, choose Scale Effect. Remove the check for Animate opening applications.
    Dock Preferences with Minimize Windows Using and Animate Opening Applications highlighted.

Desktop Background

  1. Select Apple menu > System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Desktop & Screen Saver.
    macOS Desktop and Screen Saver Preferences
  3. Choose a single image (not an animated one), and remove the check mark for Change picture at the bottom.
    Desktop and Screen Saver preferences with static desktop pictures and change picture option highlighted.

Close unnecessary Dashboard Widgets

  1. Select Spotlight Search in the top right corner of your menu bar.
    macOS menu bar with Search highlighted.
  2. Type in "dashboard", and select Dashboard from the search results.
    Spotlight Search for Dashboard with Dashboard highlighted.
  3. Click the Remove – button in the lower-left corner.
    dashboard with remove button highlighted
  4. Click the Close X button for any unwanted widgets.

Heat

CPU's produce a lot of heat. They normally have a heat sink or fan over them to keep the heat from growing too high. If your CPU is overtaxed it may grow too hot for even a fan to dissipate the heat.

There are programs and utilities that let you monitor the heat of your CPU. If your CPU is overheating it can lead to sluggishness, a high usage of the CPU in task manager, or your system could shut down completely.

Cleaning

While laptops are pretty compact and difficult to clean, desktops will gather dust, cat hair, and any other particulates you may have in your house.

The dirtier your computer, the worse it performs. Dust traps heat inside your components, ultimately damaging them if they are never cleaned.

If you have a desktop you can open it and spray the dust out using compressed air.

Disk Utility is designed to be easy to run, and help fix many small issues with your Mac's storage disk. Keep in mind, though, it is also designed to do major repairs and has the capabilities to cause problems if not used correctly. This guide will walk you through the proper options to select to use it safely.

Disk Utility can take a long time to run, especially on larger hard drives. Please make sure you won't need your computer for at least 1 hour before beginning this step.
  1. Select Apple Menu > Restart.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  2. Immediately after your Mac restarts (some Mac computers play a startup sound), press and hold the command ⌘ and R keys until the Apple logo appears, then release the keys.
    Mac keyboard with command and R keys highlighted
  3. Select Disk Utility, then Continue.
    macOS Utilities with Disk Utility and Continue highlighted
  4. Select your hard drive, then select First Aid at the top.
    Disk Utility with drive and First Aid highlighted.
  5. A message telling you First Aid will check and repair errors. Select Run.
    Disk Utility First Aid dialog with Run highlighted.
  6. Disk Utility will scan your hard drive, and attempt to repair any issues it has.
    If you are prompted to complete the repairs yourself, or get an error about disk failure, reach out to Apple Support immediately.
  7. If the repairs complete successfully, select the Apple Menu > Restart to restart your Mac.
    Apple menu with Restart highlighted.
Reinstalling macOS will remove all customization, files, and programs on your computer. Make sure you have a recent backup before proceeding.
  1. Select Apple Menu > Restart.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  2. Immediately after your Mac restarts (some Mac computers play a startup sound), press and hold the command ⌘ and R keys until the Apple logo appears, then release the keys.
    Mac keyboard with command and R keys highlighted
  3. Highlight Reinstall macOS, then select Continue.
    macOS Utilities with Reinstall macOS and Continue button highlighted
  4. macOS setup will begin. Select Continue.
    macOS Install with Continue highlighted.
  5. Select Agree to accept the Terms of Service.
    macOS Terms of service with Agree highlighted.
  6. Select Agree to confirm you agree with Terms of Service.
    Terms of Service dialog with Agree highlighted.
  7. Choose a Drive to install macOS on and select Install.
    macOS install drive selection with drive and Install highlighted.
  8. Install will now start and this will take some time. The computer will reboot during this process.
  1. Physically connect the USB cable that came with your external hard drive to the drive itself.
    Example of an external hard drive and its supplied USB cable.
  2. Connect the other end of the USB cable to your Mac computer.
    USB cable being connected to an available USB port on a Mac.
  3. An icon will pop up on the desktop of your Mac computer that will represent the hard drive that was just connected to the machine. Depending on what kind of drive you connected, this icon's appearance and label will vary.
    macOS drive icon
  4. To access the contents of this drive, simply double-click the icon. A Finder window will open to display its contents.
  1. Select Apple menu > System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Time Machine.
    Time Machine
  3. Select the lock in the bottom-left corner.
    Time Machine with lock highlighted
  4. Enter your Mac password and select Unlock.
    Time Machine authentication prompt with password and Unlock highlighted.
  5. Select Select Backup Disk...
    Time Machine with Select Backup Disk highlighted
  6. Select the disk you saw appear before, then select Use Disk.
    Time Machine disk selection with disk and Use Disk highlighted.
  7. Most new USB disks will come setup in a way not compatible with Time Machine. Time Machine will offer to erase the disk to work properly with Time Machine. If this prompt opens, select Erase.
    Time Machine disk preparation prompt with Erase highlighted
  8. Time Machine will begin backing up your Mac immediately. The status of the backup is shown on the right.
    Time machine with backup in progress with status highlighted
  9. You may wish to choose to to show the status of Time Machine in your menu bar.
    Time Machine with Show Time Machine in menu bar highlighted
  10. The status icon in the top-right corner of your Menu Bar will show what Time Machine is doing at a glance.
    Idle
    Time Machine IdleTime Machine is idle, but monitoring your files to keep them backed up.
    Backup In Progress
    Time Machine backup in progressTime Machine is actively backing up files.
    Error
    Time Machine errorTime Machine has encountered an error. Select the icon to determine what problems it is having.
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