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Performance Issues

If you notice performance issues in MacPractice, such as crashes (when MacPractice quits unexpectedly), hangs (when you click and MacPractice takes some time to respond), or spins (when MacPractice displays the spinning wait cursor), there are a number of things you can check to help resolve the issue.

First, check to see if the issue is reproducible, and if so, which computers are affected.

  • If you repeat the same steps, do you see the issue again? If not, this indicates it may have simply been a one-time glitch.
  • Can you reproduce the issue on another client in your office? If not, this indicates it may be an issue with the terminal that originally experienced the issue.
  • Can you reproduce the issue on your MacPractice server? If MacPractice is not experiencing issues on the server (particularly related to slowness), this indicates it may be an issue with your network.

Once you have established which computer or computers are impacted by the problem, try these troubleshooting techniques on any affected computer. If all computers in your office are affected, start with the MacPractice server:

Update MacPractice
If you have a MacPractice update available, install it. Be sure to update all computers in your office, starting with the MacPractice server. If you have computers on different versions of MacPractice, you may encounter issues. All computers in your office should be on the same MacPractice version. Click here for instructions on updating the MacPractice sever. Click here for instructions on updating the MacPractice client computers.

  • Install any Apple Updates - Go to the Apple menu and select Software Update to check for any available updates from Apple. MacPractice recommends installing these as they become available. Check for software updates on any computers experiencing the issue.
  • Check Compatibility - Check the MacPractice System Requirements, and confirm your computers meet them.
  • Empty the Trash - If your computer is running out of hard drive space, that can negatively impact performance. Make sure there is plenty of free hard drive space on all your computers. If there are items in the trash on the computer, it may be helpful to empty it to free up space.
  • Check Activity Monitor - Go to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor. Check to see if there are any abnormally large numbers in the "% CPU" column. If another application is using the computer's processing power, MacPractice cannot work as quickly.
  • Restart your computer - If you have not restarted your computer for several days or weeks, try turning it off and back on. This will often resolve slowness, or other unusual issues.
  • Check your Network - First, review the MacPractice network recommendations. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a network is only as fast as its slowest connection. If you have remote users that access MacPractice outside the office, or users that connect via a wireless connection, this can slow down MacPractice for everyone in your office. When possible, connect terminals via ethernet, especially if they will be posting charges, running reports, generating statements, or engaging in other data-heavy activities.
  • Check your DNS - In addition to checking the type of network connections, you will also want to make sure you have valid DNS (Domain Name Server) entries in your Networking System Preferences.
When MacPractice tries to log in, it "checks in" with our servers, to confirm your license information. Additionally, when a client makes a request from the MacPractice server, the MacPractice server checks to make sure the client is allowed to connect. If you do not have DNS numbers, or your DNS numbers are invalid, these checks can take quite some time as MacPractice waits until the request times out, which often takes 1-2 minutes. If you do not have valid DNS numbers, you can try using the OpenDNS servers: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. MacPractice does not recommend listing your router IP as the DNS server. If you need assistance updating your DNS information, contact a local networking provider. MacPractice can only provide basic assistance in this area, as it is very difficult to successfully troubleshoot a network remotely.

If the above suggestions do not help resolve the issue, please contact MacPractice Support. If you have images or text files you wish to include, you can email them to support@macpractice.com. You can attach any images or text files to the email. If possible, please provide the following information to assist with troubleshooting.
  • A detailed description of the issue - Where in MacPractice do you see the issue (Patients, Scheduling, Statement Manager, and so on)? Is it on all computers or only a few? Does it happen on the MacPractice server?
  • Hardware specifications for affected computers - Go to the Apple menu and select About this Mac. Record the version, processor and memory information for any affected computers, and the MacPractice server. If possible, also record how the computer connects to your network (ethernet or Wi-Fi).
  • Network diagram - It can help tremendously to see how your network is configured. If possible, put together a network diagram, showing how your computers connect to your networking equipment (such as a router or switch), and how the networking equipment connects to the internet. An example of a network diagram can be found here.
  • Samples of MacPractice - One of the most helpful diagnostic tools in our arsenal is a sample of what MacPractice is trying to do when an issue occurs. You can get samples from Activity Monitor. You can find Activity Monitor in the Application folder in the Utilities folder. If the window doesn't come up right away, either click on Activity Monitor again or go to the Window menu and select Activity Monitor. You will then see a list of running processes, and you will need to find MacPractice in this list. Select it, and click the Sample Process icon at the top.

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MacPractice will sample the running processes and give you a stack trace. Our engineers can interpret this trace to determine what MacPractice was trying to do when it encountered a problem. Save this document by clicking the Save button in the upper right corner. The sample can only provide information about what is going on when the sample is generated, so if the issue is not happening when you get the sample, the sample won't have any valuable information. It is important to note that samples alone do not provide enough information to troubleshoot or fix the issue. MacPractice will still need the step-by-step description of what is happening along with the sample. Please contact MacPractice Support if you need assistance with this process.
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