what does the color wheel mean?

When I use the computer, a small color wheel comes up and circles for a long time. While that is happening, I cannot use the computer. It is locked. How can I clean up my computer so this does not occur?

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    Ah yes...the ‘spinning beachball of death’.

    1st thing, don’t panic! When you see the color wheel it means that the computer is ‘thinking’ or, more accurately, attempting or trying to execute your command. A few things can cause the color wheel but the most common one is insufficient RAM memory installed in your Mac. You can check the amount of RAM memory installed by clicking on the Apple menu on the upper left corner of the Mac’ screen. Then select ‘About this Mac’. While most Mac operating systems will work (adequately) with 4 GB of RAM, if your Mac permits the installation of more RAM, you might consider doing so. It’s easy to install and inexpensive as well. The additional RAM will let your Mac ‘breath’ a bit easier and you should see fewer beachballs.

    If you have 8GB or more of RAM and are still getting spinning beachballs, try closing some of the open applications. Even with sufficient RAM if you’ve got 6 or more apps running at the same time, that’s going to dramatically slow the computer down (and you’ll see the wheel).

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