my iMac is getting really sluggish
I thought I left this CRAP behind when I ditched Windows..apparently not. What is going on here?
I work in a fast paced multimedia environment and it's not uncommon for me to have multiple apps open...Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver...just some of what I work with.. I can sometimes be doing normal things, like browsing the internet and then suddenly my computer acts like it doesn't know what it's doing! It takes me 10 minutes...I'M NOT KIDDING....10 minutes to switch from FireFox to another application. That stupid beach ball keeps coming up, and I can't QUIT any applications even though every application has frozen up!!!! WHY!!??!?!? What did I do that was so intense that switching from app to app would cause the computer to come to a complete hault?
I just lost quite a bit of work because I simply could not switch to an application to save and quit. I couldn't force quit anything...but everything was sloooooooowwwwwwwwwly working. It was like if I click something, 5 minutes later that click would finally happen..meanwhile that beachball is spinning around laughing at me and giving me the middle finger!
This is supposed to be one of the best iMacs out there. 6 months ago, we got this thing and packed it with every hardware upgrade we could. 2.8ghz dual core processor, 4 gigs of ram, plenty of HD space...what else to I need to keep this thing from being so dang sluggish?
why does it always seem that computers go to the pooper after about 6 months? Always...after the first few months of zooming along and never having problems, things start to freeze up and become a real pain. why? and what can I do to stop this? I could understand if this was windows and I was full of spyware, but i sure was under the impression that Macs don't have the same issues...hmm...
Sorry...i'm done ranting. I just need to know what I can do to get my workflow back to the way it used to be when this machine worked like I expect it to.
I am very sorry that it's that sluggish...but it should be fixable.
Open up Activity Monitor and tell us what you see.
If only I could...that's the thing. I can't switch between apps, so using CMD + Tab to get to Finder doesn't show up. I can't use my applications bar to click Finder because it won't show up...I can usually get the Force Quit window to show up 5 minutes after pressing CMD + Option + ESC..and when I click an application that is showing as (Not Responding), click Force Quit, 5 minutes later I will finally get the window that says "are you sure you want to force quit" and every time I roll over the "Force Quit" button, that stupid beachball comes up and I can't click it. :[
are you using Time Machine on your Mac? (i know...odd question).
you might consider doing a complete format and re install.
and thanks for editing my post to make me look like a real idiot.
I guess the humor helps me to relax after I almost had one of these moments:
Have you done any routine maintenance? You really should. Get OnyX and run all the maintenance scripts to be sure all is well. Restart and see if that improves things.
At the risk of being overly repetitive, here is my oft posted "prescription" for speeding up a lagging Mac. Read through this and see if anything here might be of use to you:
First, check that your processor is running full speed. In Tiger at least, go to Preferences, Energy Saver, Options and look at the drop box down near the bottom called Processor Performance. If it is not set to "Highest", set it to that right away. This maximizes performance, but for notebooks, it may run down the battery faster. Note that not all Macs have this setting - my certainly my PowerMac G5 tower does, but not all Macs do. For Leopard, the preference panel is a bit different in this regard, but poke around and make sure that you are set up for optimum performance, not optimum battery life.
Next, for Intel Macs, fire up Activity Monitor and check for any processes running that are PPC not Intel (this is shown in one of the rightmost columns of the Processes display). If you are routinely running a background process of perhaps even a widget that is PPC, that process is running under Rosetta and that is consuming more CPU. You might wish to upgrade it to a Universal Binary, or replace it with something else.
Next, download OnyX and run the complete set of clean up and maintenance scripts and then evaluate again. Get OnyX at:
Next, you may wish to check that you have enough free space on your hard drive. Highlight the Macintosh HD icon on your desktop, CTL-click it and select Get Info from the resulting menu. Make sure you have a reasonable amount of space left. If not, a little spring cleaning may be in order.
There are two excellent apps for showing where all of your hard disk space has gone, Disk Inventory X and WhatSize. Get them at:
Disk Inventory X: http://www.derlien.com
Both do a great job at letting you zero in on your largest disk space consumers, so that you can hunt down any rogue files (and both are freeware, which is good).
Finally, it is possible you may have some processes running that are consuming a lot of idle CPU, thus slowing down your machine overall. I had a bad widget that did this once. Open Activity Monitor and look at your "resting" CPU occupancy when you are not doing anything in particular with the machine. It should be pretty much zero (maybe 1% to 2% at most). If it not, identify the process or processes that are taking the time. What are they? Do you recognize them? Are they needed?
If you find one that is not needed, kill it and see how your machine starts to behave. If this is the cure, you will need to identify the startup item that launches it and delete it.
So, in summary then, take the following steps in order:
1/ Start with ensuring that your processor speed setting is full (applies to many Macs but not all)
2/ For Intel Macs, check for PPC processes and potentially prune them out
3/ Do Onyx based full maintenance
4/ Check that you have sufficient available disk space
5/ Search for processes that are consuming an unexpected amount of CPU
A final thought. If you routinely leave your web browser running when you are not using it, and have it open at a "busy" page like Mac-Forums, you will find that the Flash-based animated ads on the page consume a ridiculous amount of CPU time. If you want to leave your web browser loaded and running all the time, try pointing it a peaceful page like Google's basic search page - no ads, no unusual CPU consumption. This may help as well.
oh, and enough with all that strong language! :D The mods might ban you! :D
Alright, so I've been keeping my Activity Monitor open and when this started happening again, I was able to pop that open and find out what app is causing these headaches.
It's WindowServer and normally it maxes out the CPU whenever i'm doing simple things, like using FireFox or switching between applications or FF windows.
What is WindowServer and what will happen if i quit the process? and does anyone have any ideas as to why it's maxing out my processor?
WindowServer, in a nutshell is the underlying process that handles drawing out your screen. It is the basis for the GUI aspects of MacOS X, similar to the GDI in Windows.
My guess is that a badly behaved program is causing this spike in utilization. In addition to what Mac57 has already recommended, I would suggest creating a new user account for testing purposes to see if the behavior persists. This helps us to determine the scope of the issue.
Unfortunately, in the IT world, intermittent issues are among the toughest to troubleshoot. So, bear with us and hopefully we can figure something out.
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