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View Full Version : iMac 'pausing' every so often?



dannyhilton
4th February 2011, 09:45 PM
Hey guys. I have had my iMac for about one and a half years (first Mac) and it's been nothing but trouble free, great computing. In the last few days however I have noticed that the little 'pausing' tool comes up (the one with the colourful circle) even in simple tasks, such as surfing Safari or even just looking at photos in Aperture. I normally only run two or three programs at once. It is the 2009 model (the revised model that year with the black screen WITHOUT the curved black bottom edge) and has 4GB of RAM, 3.06, 500GB of disk, yeah pretty much the base model.

When I first got my iMac, it was blazingly fast. It turned on within seconds, and everything was super speedy. I've done a bit of research and everyone seems to think you don't need to run any tools to keep it up to speed. Is this correct, and if not what do you guys suggest to keep my Mac happy.

Again, it's a great computer, will never go back to Windows, and it works so well with my other iDevices!

Thanks :)

Huy
4th February 2011, 09:48 PM
Run Software Update and keep all your software up-to-date. You might like to give Chrome 9.0 (http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/landing_chrome_mac.html?hl=en) (newly released) a go.

TheKeddi
4th February 2011, 10:43 PM
Also have you recently added an external drive? It may be waiting for that to spin for some tasks?

I know that you don't have to with macs but I do find that a reformat brings it back like new and it's not a problem if you back up all your stuff

It's also a goo idea to back up all your stuff anyway.

Jacko30
5th February 2011, 08:15 AM
This has happened to me a couple of times as well. I have almost the exact same computer as you. Simple things like scrolling through a document or webpage will cause the beachball. A switch to another app (even going to the dock) will stop it but it gets annoying after a while. I think it may have been fixed in 10.6.6 but i am not sure. I also think a restart makes it go away for a while.

nbetts
5th February 2011, 08:56 AM
This happened to me and it was the hard drive dying. go into disc utility and repair permissions and see what happens. could be your drive dying which apparently is a know fault on some iMacs.

bartron
5th February 2011, 09:47 AM
This happened to me and it was the hard drive dying. go into disc utility and repair permissions and see what happens. could be your drive dying which apparently is a know fault on some iMacs.

ditto.

run the console app and check to see what messages pop up jsut after the computer pauses. When I did this I found I was getting IO errors on my main drive.

Jacko30
5th February 2011, 09:51 AM
I ran disk utility to verify the disk and this is what happened:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Performing live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Invalid directory item count
(It should be 37 instead of 36)
Checking extended attributes file.
Checking volume bitmap.
Checking volume information.
The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Start up your computer with another disk (such as your Mac OS X installation disc), and then use Disk Utility to repair this disk.


Is this too much of a problem?

ednap
5th February 2011, 10:07 AM
Not a major issue, run the repairs as instructed and it will improve your machines performance.

ednap
5th February 2011, 10:12 AM
Can also download an run ONYX a freeware application to keep your mac running well.

After completing the repair, load OnyX, select AUTOMATION and select all boxes then execute. Running OnyX every couple of months is an easy way to ensure file systems, permissions etc are running as intended and build up of cahe file are cleared.

dannyhilton
5th February 2011, 12:26 PM
Run Software Update and keep all your software up-to-date. You might like to give Chrome 9.0 (newly released) a go.

Currently running System Version: Mac OS X 10.6.6 (10J567) according to the computer stats. It's always updated. Have Firefox as a backup, and it does the "beach ball" thing in that too, will do it in Pages, pretty much every application on some occasions. I can't put my finger on it?


This has happened to me a couple of times as well. I have almost the exact same computer as you. Simple things like scrolling through a document or webpage will cause the beachball. A switch to another app (even going to the dock) will stop it but it gets annoying after a while. I think it may have been fixed in 10.6.6 but i am not sure. I also think a restart makes it go away for a while.

Yup. Exactly the same. Restarting does help though. Running the latest OS too?


Also have you recently added an external drive? It may be waiting for that to spin for some tasks?

Funny you say that, when I don't have a USB plugged into the back it doesn't seem to do this? Hasn't done this at all today, yet yesterday was horrible (two USB devices plugged in).


This happened to me and it was the hard drive dying. go into disc utility and repair permissions and see what happens. could be your drive dying which apparently is a know fault on some iMacs.

Thanks for the heads up. Will be backing the computer up now for sure. I have extended warranty so if worst comes to worst hopefully Apple will come to the rescue.


run the console app and check to see what messages pop up jsut after the computer pauses. When I did this I found I was getting IO errors on my main drive.

Not giving me any errors, but I will be backing the computer up now!


Can also download an run ONYX a freeware application to keep your mac running well.

Will be doing right now, thank you!

Thanks so much for your help guys. I'll take it to a Genius if it keeps playing up. I remember asking for help on some Windows forums when I had major issues a month after getting a Toshiba laptop some time back, and was greeted with nothing but arrogance and big shots being tough behind their dodgy screens. It's great to know the Mac community is the complete opposite! ;)

Danny

adrezs69
5th February 2011, 03:28 PM
Hey,
First thing, the other suggestions are all valid, however if it only started doing it, may be an application you installed that could be using it, need to find out what is causing the high CPU utilization, try to isolate it.

Go to Apps/Utilities/Activity Monitor, you will see a crap load of processes in the list, the problem is that when the machine goes into the spinny wheel state, the activity monitor may not pick up what the process is. There is different modes you can look at the processes, just need to see which one is causing the problem. You can look at CPU, Disk Activity etc

It could be a drive going bad, my old iMac was doing it I re-installed OS X, sold it to a friend of mine, month later the hard drive failed, lucky it had Valid Applecare still ... Doh ...

Good Luck

dannyhilton
6th February 2011, 08:31 PM
Hey,
First thing, the other suggestions are all valid, however if it only started doing it, may be an application you installed that could be using it, need to find out what is causing the high CPU utilization, try to isolate it.

Go to Apps/Utilities/Activity Monitor, you will see a crap load of processes in the list, the problem is that when the machine goes into the spinny wheel state, the activity monitor may not pick up what the process is. There is different modes you can look at the processes, just need to see which one is causing the problem. You can look at CPU, Disk Activity etc

It could be a drive going bad, my old iMac was doing it I re-installed OS X, sold it to a friend of mine, month later the hard drive failed, lucky it had Valid Applecare still ... Doh ...

Good Luck

Thanks man. I'm noticing the computer is running a lot smoother now, so doing the checks must have helped. I haven't put an USB drives into it, and the spinning wheels hasn't posed up once. I tried running iTunes, QuickTime, Mail, Safari, FireFox, Aparture, iPhoto and Pages all at once, trying to get each program doing something, and the computer just flied through each task.

This is definitely my next point of call. However as above, it seems to be working now. But this could be the calm before disk failure haha, backing up tomorrow and getting it to a Genious!

Thanks for all your help guys :-)

blanc
6th February 2011, 08:46 PM
Also have you recently added an external drive? It may be waiting for that to spin for some tasks?.

+1 Having an external USB or Firewire drive can cause this behaviour.

dannyhilton
16th March 2011, 08:41 PM
Well a good month or so later, and my iMac is SENSATIONAL once again. Can't thank you guys enough! Plan to update soon to a MacBook Air/Pro and couple it with a Cinema Display, but my parents will love he iMac, especially as it's super fast once again.

Thanks to everyone :)