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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

A Zillion Problems Hit Me at Once

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Member Since: May 29, 2012
Posts: 1
Morticia is on a distinguished road

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Hello all, I fear my Macbook Pro has gone mad and I don't even know where to start. I wasn't sure whether to put this here or in the Hardware forum, as I am not sure where the problem is occurring, so I just put it here. This is going to be long, so I apologize, but I want to give as much detail as possible.

For a while now I have felt like my Ram has been acting up a bit. I seem to run out of memory far too quickly, so I have been doing everything possible to baby it. I try not to run too many things at once, refresh programs when needed. I open Activity Monitor all the time to keep track of things.

Well, all has been as well as a 3 year old Macbook Pro can be, until last night. I had Photoshop open, working on some art, and Firefox open as well. I decided to close Firefox just for my sanity and my Ram, and so I did and went about my business in Photoshop. Once I was done in Photoshop, I closed it and tried to re-open Firefox. Uh oh, first error. I was hit with a pop up "Close Firefox: A copy of Firefox is already open. Only one copy of Firefox can be open at a time." I panic slightly, and decide to restart my computer. When I told it to restart, My screen cleared and a grey box with text along the lines of "You need to restart your Macbook Pro." in about 7 different languages popped up. Well, I've never seen that before. Panic grows a bit more. I turn it off manually with the power button. Give it about 20 seconds and turn it back on.

I am left on the grey screen with a tiny apple and the little thinking wheel, turning and turning, but never moving forward. Major panic. I turn it off again and grab my stupid Smartphone and frustratingly look for a quick solution as to why it would not start up. At this time my boyfriend comes into the room and I tell him what is happening. He takes the Mac and powers it on, where it lingers on that grey screen again for a few minutes, but it finally pushes a log in screen? We don't have it set up to make us log in. And worst of all, when he tried putting in our password, it was telling us it was incorrect. Believe me, it is NOT the wrong password. Even more panic.

I find a site that tells of the "Command + Option + P + R" trick. So I shut the Mac off, and turn it back on with the keys held down. Though the grey screen is STILL taking longer then it should, it did move past it and loaded everything as normal-ish. First thing I do is open up Firefox to test it: Major lag. But it opens. I start looking for what could have gone wrong. Decide to run Disk Utility and verify disk. It tells me a volume is corrupt and that the Disk needs repair. I have NO idea where my install disk is so I start freaking out again. I find a website that says that downloading the program "Applejack" will allow you to run in Single User mode and give you prompts on how to Repair your disk. Well, just as I found this site I get a popup telling me that I have run out of Virtual memory, and that I must Force close an application. The only things running at the time are Firefox and Finder. Great. I force quit Firefox and WHAT DO YOU KNOW, when I try to reopen it I get the "Copy of Firefox is already running" popup.

So I open up Safari. Locate the website again and try to download Applejack. Safari informs me that I do not have enough free space to download this tiny program. Yet I have 67gigs of free space on my Mac. Well...I tried another 3 times, but it just wouldn't let me. And it seemed any important page I tried to load in Safari would give me a "connection time out" screen. Heavy sigh, restart computer again. Grey screen takes forever, but goes through. Load up Firefox again and successfully install Applejack.

By this time it was very late, and I was getting tired and very sad. I went ahead and restarted into Single User mode and run all the things Applejack showed for me (Repair disk, verify and repair permissions) and once it finished I shut down the computer and decided to let it rest for the night, hoping all would be well in the morning.

Nope. Grey screen takes forever. Computer is running WAY too hot for only having Firefox open. I decide that maybe I should start uninstalling some programs and cleaning things up a bit. Naturally, I start with Firefox. I close it, and try to drag it to the Trash can for an uninstall. Oh, but it won't let me. I am hit with a new pop up! "The operation can't be complete because an unexpected error occurred (error code -50)."

So, I figure "Maybe it's because some phantom zombie ghost part of Firefox is hiding somewhere, still running, so I just can't install it or reopen it or anything." I try to just EMPTY the trash with what was already in it, which was just about 20 pictures. It won't let me do THAT either. Same error message (error code -50). I tried googling this lovely error code and found nothing.

All of these problems are still occuring at this very moment. Firefox keeps eating too much ram and force closing, being unable to reopen short of a restart, which takes a year, and Safari is obviously miffed at something as well, because half the sites I try to load it won't even load for me, just tells me connection timed out.

I am sorry this is so long, but I am at a loss. Seems everything has gone wrong with my poor Macbook all at once. I have a Macbook Pro 14" on Snow Leopard if that helps at all.

I was just send the thing in for repairs, if it wasn't for the fact my car broke down just two days prior to all this. But I guess everything must go wrong all at once, right?

Thank you to anyone who endured this and who can offer any advice.
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I was just send the thing in for repairs, if it wasn't for the fact my car broke down just two days prior to all this. But I guess everything must go wrong all at once, right?
Looks like you were having one of "those days" we all dread. Sorry to hear of your troubles with the Mac (and the auto), but it really seems it all boils down to one defect and that is your hard drive appears to be failing. The symptoms you mentioned in your post point to a failing drive.

Here is what I suggest... if possible, make a backup immediately of all your data before it's too late and you lose it. You didn't mention if you were making backups so if you've been doing them, OK.

You can replace the hard drive yourself without having to spend money on professional repairs. Of course it means purchasing a new hard drive first, then making the swap, and finally recovering your data.

You can find detailed instructions for replacing the drive at iFixit: The free repair manual. Let us know if you need further assistance.
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