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View Full Version : Lots of strange issues, help please!



melbmac
16th October 2008, 08:22 AM
My mac has been running without major fault for a couple of years or so now....

Over the last couple of weeks or so I've been having a few issues...


The issues

1 - The finder seems to "clam up." I'll be watching a video (for example) and try to check my email in mail, but it wont let me change the active program and wont let me do anything in finder. Nothing, except the active program responds. The only way this ever ends is with a forced re-start.

2 - When I try to quit a program, it often wont quit, when I go to force quit, the force quit box does not open. It does not matter what the program is (VLC, Firefox, NNW is what I use most). I've tried leaving it for a while (~30 mins) but it continues beach balling. Eventually I have to just power the computer off using the button on the back (there is nothing else I can do).

3 - Programs "freeze." I'll be happily surfing away (for example) and the beach ball will appear, leave it for a while to see if it sorts its self out, but it usually does not. This usually makes me go the force quit option, when I manage to get to force quit, it says it's not responding, but will not quit the program. Basicly the program has to remain "not responding" until I shut the computer down, which takes ages. Often this issue leads to the one above, but not always and on a few occasions I have not been able to shut down becasue of it.

3 - Programs crashing a lot. We all know that error that pops up. I've had this quite a lot recently.


What I've done.

* Run all the checks in disk utility (not sure if they do much really), no faults.
* Ran the Daily, weekly, monthly scripts using "mac janitor" (this was suggested by someone else).
* DId an archive and install to try and set straight any issues (it did not work).
* Unplugged all devices.
* Ran apples hardware test.

What I have not done.

* Installed any funky new apps recently.
* Tinkered with anything.
* Spilt wine in my key board.
* Checked the spelling in this post sorry.


The specs.

* OSX 10.5 (everything is up to date).
* 2GHz Intel core duo
* 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM



So, before I completely start again with my mac, does anyone have any suggestions on what to try. I've given everything that a search has found me a go already..

:(

johnnybegood
16th October 2008, 08:25 AM
Do you have any network shares mounted?

melbmac
16th October 2008, 08:29 AM
Do you have any network shares mounted?

I'm not sure what you mean, but no, nothing "fancy" network related.

johnnybegood
16th October 2008, 08:35 AM
I mean do you have another device on your network (computer for example) that you share files with. The reason I ask is that if a network mount (share etc) becomes unresponsive, the Finder kinda shits itself (even though Apple has improved this in 10.5 it is still annoying).
So, if you don't have any shares mounteds that could be causing this, it's gotta be something else. It's just thast the symptoms you mention really point to an unresponsive network service that freaks out running applications. It could also be RAM I guess. If you do a search within MacTalk (or Google) you will find heaps of info on how to test your RAM.

melbmac
16th October 2008, 08:39 AM
Oh crap, I'll edit the post above, I did a hardware test using the DVD...

melbmac
16th October 2008, 08:43 AM
Do you have any network shares mounted?

Hmmm, just had a look. My brothers "down load pig" appears, and I can browse around the files and stuff on there.

If I say download a massive file off there and go pull the power from the laptop would that be an adequate test to rule this out/confirm thats what it is?

stewiesno1
16th October 2008, 08:50 AM
Do you have anything running in the background ?
Look in the activity monitor.
Has your brother loaded something onto your machine to download torrents whenever you are connected to the net maybe?
WIFI enabled and a neighbour is using your connection ?

Stewie

johnnybegood
16th October 2008, 08:57 AM
Hmmm, just had a look. My brothers "down load pig" appears, and I can browse around the files and stuff on there.

If I say download a massive file off there and go pull the power from the laptop would that be an adequate test to rule this out/confirm thats what it is?

Yeah, that would suffice, but you could just close the lid rather than yank the power!

melbmac
16th October 2008, 09:04 AM
Yeah, that would suffice, but you could just close the lid rather than yank the power!

ha ha, we have it set to continue running with the lid closed.

I tried the "yanking of power" methond and it didn't seem to bother the mac too much.

Will give it a few goes, it takes frikin ages to boot up (crappy on XP machine).

Currawong
16th October 2008, 10:52 AM
* Ran the Daily, weekly, monthly scripts using "mac janitor" (this was suggested by someone else).
* DId an archive and install to try and set straight any issues (it did not work).
* Unplugged all devices.
* Ran apples hardware test.



Ok, starting with the daily/weekly/monthly scripts, they don't do anything at all useful. They only rotate log files, which wouldn't have anything to do with the problems you're having. I'm just putting this out there so people know for future reference.

If I'm going to do anything that's random voodoo for software fixing, I'd run a "medium clean" in Leopard Cache Cleaner. I've known caches to become corrupted and prevent programs running properly.

However, first, when things go wrong, I'd see if any interesting messages suddenly appear in the Console (Applications -> Utilities) at the moment problems start occurring. If you're lucky, you can nail things down this way.

If you've done an archive install yet problems persist then it's either something you've put back or are still using that an archive install wont fix, such as a broken font or 3rd party system modifying software that needs an update, or, since the problem seems to affect numerous apps, you have bad RAM or a USB or other device plugged in causing issues.

melbmac
16th October 2008, 11:08 AM
Ok, starting with the daily/weekly/monthly scripts, they don't do anything at all useful. They only rotate log files, which wouldn't have anything to do with the problems you're having. I'm just putting this out there so people know for future reference.

Cool, I didn't really think they would do anything, but figured it was worth a shot. If I remmeber correctly macs do it at certain times automatically anyway?




If I'm going to do anything that's random voodoo for software fixing, I'd run a "medium clean" in Leopard Cache Cleaner. I've known caches to become corrupted and prevent programs running properly.



Hmm, I'm going to google how to do that (unless your in the mood to share).




However, first, when things go wrong, I'd see if any interesting messages suddenly appear in the Console (Applications -> Utilities) at the moment problems start occurring. If you're lucky, you can nail things down this way.



I came across that in a OSX health guide I found, but I have NFI how to read most of the logs. Is there a good "library" where I can translate messages?




If you've done an archive install yet problems persist then it's either something you've put back or are still using that an archive install wont fix, such as a broken font or 3rd party system modifying software that needs an update, or, since the problem seems to affect numerous apps, you have bad RAM or a USB or other device plugged in causing issues.



So, would you suggest a "start again" type install (failing all the other suggestions)?

Tried a few more times with my brother download computer, I don't think that is the cause of the issues.

stewiesno1
16th October 2008, 11:33 AM
I'd try to isolate hardware problems first - test Ram , test any external drives, peripherals etc.
Then I'd back up everything , wipe the HD and do a clean install from your OSX disk.
Next I would install all your apps from their installation disks and not rely on any cloned stuff. It might be a pain in the butt and slower to do it this way , but you would be starting with a clean slate.
Transfer data folders etc over last.

Tried a few more times with my brother download computer, I don't think that is the cause of the issues.
What the hell does that mean ?

Stewie

yinyang
16th October 2008, 11:44 AM
I came across that in a OSX health guide I found, but I have NFI how to read most of the logs. Is there a good "library" where I can translate messages?



I just leave Console running and have it display "All Messages" - have a look around the times just before the freezing to see if there were any warnings or alerts. The PID column will usually refer to a Process ID or application name.

resetting the PRAM sometimes helps (I had to recently when some apps kept crashing for no identifiable reason...!)

Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379)

melbmac
16th October 2008, 03:43 PM
What the hell does that mean ?

Stewie

It was meant to say "brothers download computer," the one mentioned above that was suspected of causing the issue. Sorry, piss poor wording on my behalf.

melbmac
16th October 2008, 03:45 PM
I'd try to isolate hardware problems first - test Ram , test any external drives, peripherals etc.
Then I'd back up everything , wipe the HD and do a clean install from your OSX disk.
Next I would install all your apps from their installation disks and not rely on any cloned stuff. It might be a pain in the butt and slower to do it this way , but you would be starting with a clean slate.
Transfer data folders etc over last.


Stewie

As I said above, tried the hardware test and un-plugged all devices.

---

I've had my brothers download computer turned off all day and the issue seems to have gone away. I suspect (hope) it is that straight forward becasue I was relly not looking forward to doing a proper "start again" type install...

---edit---

Nope, download computer was off all night. Came home this morning to a frozen computer.

Today, saldy I have to do the fresh start install.

What a pain.

melbmac
2nd November 2008, 01:23 PM
Well, I thought the issue had left me a lone. Last night my computer had a very bad night, and it's not been much better this morning.

I am currently doing a fresh backup (Third copy, over my normal two) and will do a fresh install this afternoon.

I hope it is software related.

Currawong
2nd November 2008, 05:30 PM
Did you get any interesting console messages? Leopard Cache Cleaner (www.northernsoftworks.com/leopardcachecleaner.html) is software by the way. I wouldn't mind seeing some application crash logs by the way.