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MacBook ProI have been battling for quite some time with constantly running out of RAM on my MacBook Pro. Whilst I have 4GB of RAM – it’s just never enough (8GB upgrade going to be happening on my upcoming US trip methinks!).

However, I got tipped over the edge whilst trying to do some work today and decided to look for a quick fix. One of the suggestions I saw was to boot my OS into 64 bit mode. Given one of the key features of Snow Leopard Technology is the fact that it’s built as 64 bit from the ground up, it always puzzled me that they didn’t enable a 64 bit kernel by default. Of course, the reason behind this is to try and increase compatibility with non 64 bit hardware etc, but it still is a pain.

In order to enable a 64 bit kernel, you can approach this a few ways. The quickest and easiest way is to hold down the 6 and 4 keys just after you power up your Mac. This will boot you into 64 bit mode for that session only (ie. next time you reboot you will be back to 32 bit mode).

In order to verify that you have booted into 64 bit mode, go to Apple > About this Mac and click on Software, where you will see the 64 bit kernel flag set to yes.

But, it would be good if you could make this a more permanent fixture, right?! This can be done pretty easily by firing up Terminal and editing the following file:

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist

In here, you will need to add the following kernel flag

arch=x86_64

Once you have done this, you should notice a decent increase in performance and far better memory management.

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