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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Finder frozen on iMac


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feromone

 
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Hi, first post. Big problem. Have a 3 year old iMac (bought by my office for me to work from home). Think it's 2.2Ghz processor, not 100% which version of OS X it's running (10.5 I think).

Started having problems a couple of weeks ago. Finder was a bit slow to open some folders, had the occasional freeze up that sorted itself out if I left it for a bit. Some emails taking a while to open. Then a few days ago I got an email from a contractor that works for us, containing a PDF invoice. Every time I tried to open the email it made the Mac freeze. I deleted the email eventually but saved the invoice to the downloads folder. No big problem, except on Friday when I opened the downloads folder from the dock it made the Mac freeze up, had to power it down from the back to get it to reset.

After that, every time I opened downloads from the dock, same problem. Went into downloads through my log in account on the hard disk and took some stuff out of downloads and put it onto the desktop (including the PDF that seemed to be causing the problem). Found that I could not put the PDF into the trash and now finder was freezing along with the dock. Had two to three power downs and restarts but now nothing was working - beachball of death every time I rebooted.

Looked online for some advice. I don't have the install disks. Apple support advised starting in safe mode. Duly done, no difference. Opened in single user mode and ran fsck (from command line with /sbin/fsck -fy). Ran this a couple of times until it told me "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK". It isn't. Same thing every time, start up but dock is frozen and any attempts to open folders results in the Mac freezing.

Does anyone have any ideas?? This is a problem I need to address urgently as all my work and contacts are stored on this Mac. I've had one other Mac (an eMac) and that completely broke down, resulting in a reinstall of the OS. Obviously want to try and avoid a reinstall. Is there any chance it's a drive fault? Any and all advice would be welcome...

Thanks.
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chscag

 
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Welcome to the Mac Forums.

It sounds like the hard drive in the iMac is failing. Disk Utility and FSCK are really only designed to test the folder and file structure. If the drive has other problems (mechanical, platter, controller, etc) it won't show up. You may be looking at a hard drive swap which is a fairly difficult task in an iMac since the entire front panel display must be first removed.
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feromone

 
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Thanks for the reply. What are the chances of getting data from the hard drive before it fails? It boots perfectly well so I instantly thought it must be a software problem. Is this the classic sign of a failing hard drive? Only three years old!

I'm taking it to an Apple-ordained engineer tomorrow. Will they be able to transfer the data to another hard drive? 250Gb hard disk on it, used maybe 100Gb...
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Slydude

 
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Sounds like a hard drive issue indeed. Disk Utility will test some of the physical aspects of the hard drive. It reports the drives hardware status (SMART) as verified or failing/failed. It does not test all of the SMART parameters yet though so it is possible for a drive to pass that test and then suddenly fail. If the machine boots and you have a spare drive you should be able to salvage your data.

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