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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Macbook Pro getting "spinning wheel" way too often


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toomey

 
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So just a few days ago I noticed an extreme and rapid decline in my Macbook Pro's performance. I got the macbook in 2008 for school. Everything was working fine until a few days ago. The hard drive got completely full and things started lagging. (I deleted a lot of things since then and now have 12GB free). I am an art student so I am frequently running many programs that take up a lot of RAM such as Adobe photoshop, illustrator, etc. About 3 days ago I tried to run Illustrator and got a spinning wheel that lasted so long (about 20 minutes) that I had to restart the computer. Ever since then, everything has been running slow. Everything runs fine until I try to open a new application, then if I open a program such as itunes, I will get a spinning wheel for a few minutes before I can actually use the program. I have found that when doing certain tasks (opening a video fullscreen), the computer will freeze and I will have to restart it. I ran the program SMART utility and it said that the hard drive passed its inspection. I also ran disk utility and everything said it was fine. I have no idea why I got this extremely sudden decrease in performance. Any help would be appreciated.
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quin

 
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You may be ignoring the elephant in the room. Either free up more space on your drive or install a bigger one. You can get a good one for under $100 these days.
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I had a similar issue once. My computer started to speed up significantly and became far more reliable after I had done the following two things:

1) Making sure that at least 10 % of the disk is free (preferably 15 %)
2) Running maintenance with OnyX

This should be done every once-in-a-while.

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Slydude

 
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I experienced similar issues a few days ago on my 2008 MacBook Pro even though my drive is not nearly as full as yours. In addition to the excellent suggestions the guys have made run Disk Utility's verify disk option and see if you get any reports of errors. To repair the errors you will need to either boot from an OS CD or a clone of your boot drive.

If you are comfortable in Single User mode (press command s at startup) you can check the disk for errors that way without using the CD if you are in a real bind. In single user mode a bit of text will scroll by as the boot process begins when the text stops scrolling type fack -fy and hit enter. At the end you will see a message telling you whether errors were found and repaired. Repeat the command until no errors are reported then restart the Mac.

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toomey

 
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will freeing up the hard drive really make things run smoother? I have 12GB free right now. I was always under the assumption that the HD space had no effect on computer speed, thought that was what RAM was for. correct me if I am wrong.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toomey View Post
will freeing up the hard drive really make things run smoother? I have 12GB free right now. I was always under the assumption that the HD space had no effect on computer speed, thought that was what RAM was for. correct me if I am wrong.
RAM does not make your computer faster. It's there to make applications run smoother.

The CPU is what makes the computer fast. The HDD/storage device also does this so an extent. Launching applications and writing to the disk for example.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
In single user mode a bit of text will scroll by as the boot process begins when the text stops scrolling type fack -fy and hit enter.
Make that fsck -fy. Just so we don't get any confusion here if it comes to that.

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toomey

 
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thanks for the help guys. I might try booting in single user mode if I cant figure out how to fix the problem. Another thing that has been happening is sometimes when restart my computer, the icons on the desktop will all appear but some will be missing letters. its really quite strange. some of the icons will say (for example, no A's) project. i (project.ai) It was first A's and after a second restart, the A's are back but now no Y's... its really strange. the desktop is the only place that its happening. maybe this is a clue to something more serious? this has never happened before the recent problem.
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toomey

 
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so I booted in single-user mode. entered the fsck -fy and booted again. still getting the spinning wheel. wat do?
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Did you delete enough to get to around 15% free disk space? If you have a hard drive than is bigger than 80GB, you'll need more than 12GB of free space (12GB is 15% of 80GB).

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Wonder if the OP actually read about the requirement to have 15% free HDD space?

You need to erase a lot of unnecessary stuff on your drive, or if it is all necessary install a larger capacity drive.
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toomey

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
Wonder if the OP actually read about the requirement to have 15% free HDD space?
no dude, i just disregarded it. I deleted everything I could think of and freed up 30GB on my HD. everything runs smooth until I do a certain few things.. uploading a file to the web will freeze my browser, as will making a video fullscreen. Opening a large application such as photoshop will also freeze the computer for a few minutes. seems that everything else runs smoothly. any ideas on what else I could try?
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The amount of free space can have a significant impact on system performance if you have multiple tasks going, routinely keep several programs open or work with large files.

Try this experiment with Activity Monitor to see what I mean:
1. Reboot your system then open Activity Monitor (in the Utilities folder) and set it to the System Memory Tab. Make note of the Pagein and Pageout values.
2. Launch other programs and go about your normal computing activities.
3. If the machine starts to perform badly look to see how much the pagein and out values have climbed. This is an indication of the amount of data being written to swap files on the hard drive.

In the search for additional free space you might want to check out OmniDiskSweeper - Products - The Omni Group Sometimes it finds files consuming space that people have forgotten about and no longer need on the main drive.

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toomey

 
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ok, so now I have 45GB free. all my problems are still going on, nothing has changed at all. spinning wheel occuring whenever I open any application, and stays up for about 2 minutes. anytime I open a website that has a lot of info, spinning wheel for 2 minutes. i honestly do not think it is the hard drive that is causing these problems, with 45GB open on a 250 GB drive, that should be plenty of free space, right? anyone else have any idea on how to fix this problem? I am about to take it to apple, which I dont really want to do since I am very short on cash. is there any kind of "detox" i can perform on my mac that will hopefully fix this bug?
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No dude.

You might like to try the Erase Free Space option however.
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