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  1. #1

    Penelope8's Avatar
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    Oct 03, 2012
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    iMac Suddenly Slow Performance - Please Help?
    Hi!

    I'm new here, and I appreciate any help someone can offer. I have an iMac:

    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac11,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core i5
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 8 MB
    Memory: 16 GB
    Processor Interconnect Speed: 4.8 GT/s
    Boot ROM Version: IM111.0034.B02
    SMC Version (system): 1.54f36


    Recently (2-3 months ago), the (Seagate) HD failed, so I had an independent (not affiliated with Apple officially) mac techie replace it for me with a brand new HD. The fan won't turn off (something about the kind of HD?), but I don't imagine that is a big deal.

    Everything was running fine until a week or so ago, when suddenly the iMac is behaving in a similar fashion to the way it was behaving immediately before the previous HD failed. I have gone into Disk Utility, but no errors appear. I'm not a comp expert, so I didn't want to "Repair Disk" blindly.

    I have looked at my Activity Monitor and found the following information (screenshots)ATTACH]18035[/ATTACH]

    Screen shot 2012-10-03 at 1.44.15 AM.png

    Screen shot 2012-10-03 at 1.43.27 AM.png

    It doesn't appear that anything in particular could be slowing the computer down. I have plenty of free HD space, plenty of RAM, and I'm not running a ton of stuff at a time, despite the fact that this iMac has been fully capable of running heavy-duty applications at one time with little to no performance problems.

    I have been searching online for a week to try to find answers, but I keep getting the same thing: "free up hard drive space". Any help is much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  2. #2

    vansmith's Avatar
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    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    The only thing we can't tell from this is the CPU usage which could be responsible for a slowdown. If you sort the processes by CPU usage, do you notice anything using a lot of CPU power?
    Important Links: Community Guidelines : Use the reputation system if you've been helped.
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  3. #3

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    If the fan turned off normally before the drive was replaced, and now it won't turn off, then the people who replaced it screwed up. Simple as that. With the 2009-2010 iMacs, you HAVE to replace the drive with one from the same manufacturer, or a cable that plugs into the drive for temp monitoring won't plug in (the cable is different for each brand) and the fans will run non-stop. You didn't say what hard drive you have now, but if it's not a Seagate, then right off that's part of that problem.
    Upgrade the Hard Drive in a Late 2009 iMac - Special Heat Sensor Cable Used in Late 2009 iMac Hard Drives

    As far as the performance issues you are having, you really should elaborate on what you mean by "the iMac is behaving in a similar fashion to the way it was behaving immediately before the previous HD failed". Since I don't know what that "fashion" was or is, I don't know how to proceed. That said, if this was a hardware problem, replacing the drive wouldn't have fixed it, whatever it is, even temporarily. I'd wager you have software issues, and if you did a clean reinstall of OS X to the new drive, then it may have taken this long for the problem to re-surface. But please post back with details of the issues. And take note of my signature.

    EDIT: one thought just occurred to me... if you have a different brand hard drive, and knowing the temp sensor literally won't plug into the new drive, then WHAT did they do with that cable? Leave it hanging?

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac » Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
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    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    It doesn't appear that anything in particular could be slowing the computer down. I have plenty of free HD space, plenty of RAM, and I'm not running a ton of stuff at a time, despite the fact that this iMac has been fully capable of running heavy-duty applications at one time with little to no performance problems.

    I have been searching online for a week to try to find answers, but I keep getting the same thing: "free up hard drive space". Any help is much appreciated. Thank you in advance!
    How often (when you are finished using the computer) do you put it to "sleep"…and how often do you do a complete rebooting of the computer?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5

    Penelope8's Avatar
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    Wow, you guys are great help!

    vansmith, nothing appears to be using more than 6% of the CPU at any given time.

    lifeisabeach, we chose not to use another seagate drive because of the reputation for failure they seem to have. the guy who replaced it had no input on that decision, but he said the fan not turning off wouldn't be a problem. I'm sorry I was unclear before in describing the activity of the comp. Previously, the iMac would just get really long delays in anything I did. Opening a Finder window would take 30 seconds. Transferring one small file to the desktop would take a minute. I couldn't get cmd+tab to do anything, nor cmd-opt-esc. Everything was stuck. Sometimes if I waited long enough, it would catch up to me, but usually it was pretty much unresponsive. I used disk utility to determine that the HD was failing, and immediately backed up everything I could before it crashed completely. I really had already backed up everything important, but the tech guy who replaced my HD was able to recover data from my old HD, just to make sure. The Apple counter folks couldn't do data recovery, and refused to surrender the old HD when replacing, which is why we opted to go an independent route.

    I'm not getting the significant lag I was getting before in performance, but it seems that the comp is getting bogged down in some task (no clue what) and has to think a lot (with the SBBOD of course) before catching up. When it's "caught up" to me, it seems to be fine, performing as usual. It's very frustrating to get stuck for 30 seconds to a minute at a time, though, sometimes occurring every two minutes, sometimes not for an hour. I thought the issue was Firefox, so I removed Firefox. The comp was better for a day or so, but now continues to get stuck.

    I have not installed any anti-virus or cleaning software nor MacKeeper. I have Mac OS X 10.6.8. I don't know how to tell the year, but I believe we purchased it in late 2010 (brand new).

    pigoo3/nick - I try to always put it to sleep or shutdown when I leave the computer. I have to leave it running sometimes when it is performing a large transfer of files or other long activity, often overnight. I would estimate that I put to sleep about 60% of the time I leave it, leave it running about 20% and shut it down completely about 20%. I think it is also set to go to sleep if I leave it unattended for several minutes. (The screen turns off and I have to enter my password like I do when I restart or manually put it to sleep.) I only restart when I install new software or have been running PhotoShop CS5 for a long time.

    Thank you all so much for your feedback. I hope you can help me figure out what to do!

  6. #6

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    pigoo3/nick - I try to always put it to sleep or shutdown when I leave the computer. I have to leave it running sometimes when it is performing a large transfer of files or other long activity, often overnight. I would estimate that I put to sleep about 60% of the time I leave it, leave it running about 20% and shut it down completely about 20%. I think it is also set to go to sleep if I leave it unattended for several minutes. (The screen turns off and I have to enter my password like I do when I restart or manually put it to sleep.) I only restart when I install new software or have been running PhotoShop CS5 for a long time.
    What strikes me as unusual is…in your second photo in your 1st post above…is how on the "system memory" pie-chart…how you have such a large "blue-wedge". This is indicative of basically having enough applications open at the same time (or a couple high ram demanding applications) to have completely occupied all installed ram in the computer…then quitting all these apps leaving the large blue wedge. This is not necessarily "bad"…just something pretty unusual given that you have more than average amount of ram installed in your computer (16 gig) than the average person. Here's some info regarding "system memory" usage and Activity Monitor:

    Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used

    I would also suggest reading some of the links in my signature (beach balls & speedup) to see if any of the ideas there may help you out.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7

    Penelope8's Avatar
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    Oct 03, 2012
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    Thanks for your help. I shut the comp down earlier, left, came home, and started the comp... and it's the white screen with apple and spinning thing, no status bar. It took about 8 minutes to startup finally, and I never saw a status bar.

    But disk utility did not show an error in the HD, and the HD was purchased brand new just a few months ago. Could it be something other than the HD? Any advice on what I should do?

    Thank you!

  8. #8

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    Thanks for your help. I shut the comp down earlier, left, came home, and started the comp... and it's the white screen with apple and spinning thing, no status bar. It took about 8 minutes to startup finally, and I never saw a status bar.

    But disk utility did not show an error in the HD, and the HD was purchased brand new just a few months ago. Could it be something other than the HD? Any advice on what I should do?

    Thank you!
    When I hear of a long startup like that (8 minutes) I usually think of 2 possibilities:

    1. Something is missing or wrong with the OS.
    2. Something is wrong/bad with the HD.

    I know that this HD is new...and it's usually pretty rare to get a bad HD when buying a new HD...but it could be a bad HD. Are you absolutely sure this "Mac Techie" person installed a new HD...or did they install a used one?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9

    Penelope8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    When I hear of a long startup like that (8 minutes) I usually think of 2 possibilities:

    1. Something is missing or wrong with the OS.
    2. Something is wrong/bad with the HD.

    I know that this HD is new...and it's usually pretty rare to get a bad HD when buying a new HD...but it could be a bad HD. Are you absolutely sure this "Mac Techie" person installed a new HD...or did they install a used one?

    - Nick
    Thank you, Nick, for your reply. We actually purchased the HD ourselves, brand new in the box Western Digital "Black Caviar" 2TB HD.

    If something is missing or wrong with the OS... First, how would that even have occurred (so I can avoid having the same problem in the future)? Second, would a clean install fix it?

    I did get a couple of -36 error codes when transferring files recently, but I think it was an error on the flash drive I was using, not the HD. I was getting a ton of -36 error codes before the initial HD failed.

    I am still backing up a few items, and then I will try the software update. If the startup is still crazy slow, I think a clean install may be my next attempt to solve this problem. I'm reluctant to do this myself, but it seems you're right -- the OS is at fault.

    Incidentally, in response to your earlier post about inactive apps, the System Memory pie chart is almost all green now, after the restart. Maybe it had not been restarted as recently as I had thought. I'm sorry about that, but thank you for bringing it to my attention. Those pie charts are much more useful when you know how to look at them!

    Edited to add: Would trying to use Disk Repair be of any use in this case? If there is a problem with the HD, would this do any good? I don't want to just "try" everything if someone else knows better and can better direct me. Thank you so much!

    Edited again to add: No software updates available. I think I'll attempt disk repair and/or a clean install... tomorrow. I'm tired of thinking about it tonight. Thanks again for all your collective help. Please advise if there is something I'm missing.

  10. #10

    chscag's Avatar
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    After you resolve your other problems, I recommend downloading and installing SMCFanControl to tone down the HDD fan in your iMac. Unless you get that fan running normally, it'll likely wear out soon and that may cause the HDD to overheat.

    The normal fan speed for the HDD fan is around 1100 RPM.

  11. #11

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    If the problems continue may well be the replacement of the hard drive causing the problem. On later models Apple used special heat installation sensors on the drives, and when replaced by a non Apple technician the fans is precisely what happens. Did your technician mention this prior to installing the new drive?


    https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0

    And


    http://blog.macsales.com/2751-propri...-late-09-imacs
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    Thank you, Nick, for your reply. We actually purchased the HD ourselves, brand new in the box Western Digital "Black Caviar" 2TB HD.
    Ok...good deal that you know that the new HD is actually "New"! But like I mentioned above...it's rare, but possible...to get a bad HD that is "new". I'm not saying it's likely...just something to keep in the back of the mind if all else fails to solve the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    If something is missing or wrong with the OS... First, how would that even have occurred (so I can avoid having the same problem in the future)? Second, would a clean install fix it?
    I'm only suggesting that there could be an OS issue since you mentioned that the computer was taking 8 minutes to reboot. When a computer reboots...it's only dealing with the OS (and ROM commands...but we don't need to get into this).

    This is why I mentioned when a computer is taking 8 min. to boot...I'm thinking bad HD or something with the OS.

    If the HD is new...then reinstalling the OS (the only other option) could be a solution. If the OS reinstall doesn't cure things...then maybe the new HD IS at fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    Incidentally, in response to your earlier post about inactive apps, the System Memory pie chart is almost all green now, after the restart. Maybe it had not been restarted as recently as I had thought.
    That's what I was thinking as well. After a restart (and before launching any apps.) the pie chart should be mostly green.

    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    Edited to add: Would trying to use Disk Repair be of any use in this case? If there is a problem with the HD, would this do any good? I don't want to just "try" everything if someone else knows better and can better direct me. Thank you so much!
    About the only thing you can do with Disk Utility that would help in this matter...is to repair permissions.

    There is one more thing you can try before doing a complete OS reinstall. Download & run a program called "Onyx":

    Titanium's Software • Download

    Onyx is a maintenance type program. After downloading, installing, and launching Onyx...run all the automated (preset) tasks (this should be a single button you click on). This will do a bunch of stuff to "straighten" things up. If you still have problems after running Onyx...then I guess you could try reinstalling the OS.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13

    Penelope8's Avatar
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    About the only thing you can do with Disk Utility that would help in this matter...is to repair permissions.

    There is one more thing you can try before doing a complete OS reinstall. Download & run a program called "Onyx":

    Titanium's Software • Download

    Onyx is a maintenance type program. After downloading, installing, and launching Onyx...run all the automated (preset) tasks. This will do a bunch of stuff to "straighten" things up. If you still have problems after running Onyx...then I guess you could try reinstalling the OS.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    Thank you! I had seen somewhere else today about Onyx, but it's hard to tell what is scammy and what is actually useful. I will try that first. I'm concerned about what I could have possibly done to disrupt the OS, if that is the case. Hopefully Onyx will help. I'll try it tomorrow. Too sleepy tonight.

    chscag and harryb, thank you both for your information about the fan issue as well. I will check out everything tomorrow. Is there a way to tell how fast my fan is running? My husband and I have had apple products for well over a decade and have only had two HDs fail... both were Seagate. After a little internet searching, we concluded that Seagate might not be the best option to replace the original. The guy who replaced the drive for us mentioned this to me after installation. I'm not sure he was aware it would be an issue beforehand.

  14. #14

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    If the problems continue may well be the replacement of the hard drive causing the problem. On later models Apple used special heat installation sensors on the drives, and when replaced by a non Apple technician the fans is precisely what happens. Did your technician mention this prior to installing the new drive?
    I'm glad you mentioned this Harry. This was going to be the next thing I was going to mention as well…if everything else failed.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  15. #15

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope8 View Post
    Thank you! I had seen somewhere else today about Onyx, but it's hard to tell what is scammy and what is actually useful. I will try that first. I'm concerned about what I could have possibly done to disrupt the OS, if that is the case. Hopefully Onyx will help. I'll try it tomorrow. Too sleepy tonight.
    Onyx is something that we recommend quite often. It's free, it's useful, and many of use use it. Definitely not "scammy"…no worries!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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