View Full Version : PowerBook slowing down

8th November 2006, 11:28 AM
My dad's 17" 1.33ghz Powerbook with 1GB of ram has started slowing right down. The ram and hard drive appear fine but:

- When you watch something in VLC you hit pause and it pauses literally eight seconds later.
- before when you opened apps, the bulk use to bounce a max of three or four times and bang it'd be fully open - now it can bounce up to ten times and still not fully be open for almost forty seconds.

Suggestions and ideas?

8th November 2006, 11:31 AM
How mach space is left on the drive ?
And whats the ram usage like when its slow. High ram usage can make any system dead slow
Check the cpu usage aswell.

8th November 2006, 11:39 AM
also, remove anything not needed from the desktop (massively speeds up redrawing desktop), make sure only one user is logged in at any one time, check what is starting automatically and disable most of it, check log level, leave 'puter on overnight so the housekeeping gets done by osx.
every running process will use resources and slow the 'puter down, so make it as lean as possible.


8th November 2006, 11:43 AM
8GB of 80GB - currently clearing some crap off of it - but that's never been an issue before, as I've had it down to 5GB running fine.

CPU usage is low, memory is high - but nothing has changed, so I'm a bit confused?

Johnny Appleseed
8th November 2006, 11:45 AM
Are you running Safari? It's a major bugbear for me when it's been open for a while - slows down everything. Troubleshooting Safari, or quitting and relaunching it, might help.

Johnny Appleseed
8th November 2006, 11:53 AM
Oh, and it wouldn't happen to occur when he's on battery power only, would it? The energy settings could be on "reduced performance".

8th November 2006, 12:12 PM
Repair preferences. (I know it sounds silly but just sometimes.....)

8th November 2006, 12:15 PM
yeah done that. doing a disk repair at the moment.

Anyone know what 'Reserved fields in the catalog record have incorrect data' - it's in red, so I'm guessing it ain't good!

8th November 2006, 12:28 PM
I have a 15" Hi-Res PB with 1Gb RAM and I get a similar thing when Safari has been open for a few days. It seems to eat alot of the available RAM.

Restarting Safari always speeds things up significantly.

If all else fails, get as much RAM as you can afford :) I have a last gen 12" iBook with maxed out RAM and its almost never slow...ever.


8th November 2006, 12:51 PM
Im holding out till 10.5 comes out till I do a reformat of my entire notebook.

I'd try that out if you can. also in my experience, I found 10.4 to be more stable than 10.3 (assuming that is what's on the system)

8th November 2006, 01:36 PM
I think it may be the hard drive. when I did a disk repair, it came up with unable to repair volume, it also timed out when I did disk permissions via CD. SMART status says its okay. Any good way to fully test the Hard drive? It hasn't done anything dodgy like come up with a flashing ? on start up or anything.

8th November 2006, 02:15 PM
If I were you hawker i'd back it up now, while you still can.
If you suspect the hard disk at all, dont wait until it's too late.

After you backup, erase and install and see how it plays...if its good - restore and backup regularly until your happy its ok. If it still wont play nice, take it for service.

But that's just me :)

8th November 2006, 02:16 PM
already backed up.....

8th November 2006, 02:21 PM
Hawker, SMART is useful, but not fully reliable, imo. I'd start making plans for a new hard drive.

8th November 2006, 02:39 PM
just a bit off topic, but can having large amounts of data sitting on your desktop slow the computer down? i usually have a folder on mine where i just dump random files, before i sort them out. The folder is about 4-5gb

8th November 2006, 03:11 PM
agree with all the comments before regarding backing up & clean install.

if you've done all that and it's still running slow - hard disc is almost definitely on the way out.

my friend's G3 iBook just did exactly the same thing and I almost got all her files off - but not quite - before it went for the long sleep.

sadly, to get at the hard drive on an iBook is not that easy and neither is it on a G4 Al PBook.

as a last try you could restart holding down option+command+O+F
then type:

reset-nvram (then hit enter)
set-defaults (then hit enter)
reset-all (then hit enter)
and it'll restart all by itself

this just resets the power management settings for the PBook and may not solve your Dad's prob - but it may well help.
eliminates one more thing.

8th November 2006, 03:29 PM
Im holding out till 10.5 comes out till I do a reformat of my entire notebook.

I'd try that out if you can. also in my experience, I found 10.4 to be more stable than 10.3 (assuming that is what's on the system)

how do you reformat the notebook?

8th November 2006, 03:32 PM
Try DiskWarrior. It rebuilds the directory structure, and can sometimes repair a corrupted HFS+ partition that OSX cannot. It also speeds up your computer by optimising the directory tree.

8th November 2006, 03:43 PM
how do you reformat the notebook?

in the installation of osx, do Erase & Install

8th November 2006, 03:59 PM
sadly, to get at the hard drive on an iBook is not that easy and neither is it on a G4 Al PBook.

i did it last week with the 12" powerbook. it's time consuming (about 2 hours), but the guide on pbfixit.com is great. i'm not sure the 17" is as hard as the 12", just make sure you use the right screwdrivers :D

8th November 2006, 10:42 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll give disk warrior a shot. Starting to think it is the hard drive, still covered under warranty till Mid Dec... so should be right to get it looked at soon. I think the combo drive is stuffed too, only reads the occasional cd / dvd!

9th November 2006, 07:07 PM
Well my PB HD died after about 12 months. Exactly the same issues as you.. started slowing down then just nothing :(

I had apple care at the time and had a new HD installed. Been fine since although its a little slower now that I have accumulated a bunch of new programs since (Microsoft stuff).