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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Perplexing Slowdowns


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vansmith

 
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Hey everyone,

I need help with two issues that I can't wrap my head around.

1. A Mac that I'm working with is really slow and I can't figure out why. There aren't any errant processes; the processor, at idle, hovers around 95% and the Mac has no less than 1GB of free memory at any given moment. The stuff installed is nothing out of the ordinary and there's plenty of hard drive space available (about 1/2 of the 500 GB). No process spikes about 5% CPU usage and when they do, they're ones we've all seen before and they spike temporarily. I ran OnyX a few days ago and that hasn't helped and to be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be a perfect solution to this one. Am I overlooking something here?

2. I'm using a NAS as a TM target for both my Mac and this slower one. Mine backs up quickly (as quickly as a NAS based TM backup will go) whereas this slower Mac halts at various points. For example, it takes ages to find the disk and then when it does, it'll back up ~ 200MB and just hang. I've plugged it into the router directly via ethernet to no avail. Thoughts?

Obligatory specs: MBP, i5 2.5Ghz with 4GB of RAM, running ML 10.8.5.

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pigoo3

 
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Q1: Are you saying that you're getting 95% cpu activity immediately after a reboot (no apps opened)?

Q2: The backup slowness for the "slow computer" I'm thinking is due to the 95% cpu activity problem.

- Nick

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

 
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That was poor wording on my part - the processor is 95% idle and thus, at most, only about 5% is in use at any given time.

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MacInWin

 
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I'm wondering if the HD on #1 is going south, with tries and tries to read/write, eventually succeeds, so it doesn't "crash" but it's taking lots of retries to complete. I had that on a PC before I switched to Macs (actually, it was part of the trigger to make that change).
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
That was poor wording on my part - the processor is 95% idle and thus, at most, only about 5% is in use at any given time.
Ok...I got ya.

I'm thinking what MacInWin mentioned...considering everything tried so far...maybe the HD is heading south. You could try booting from an external HD to see if things improve.

- Nick

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

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Ok...I got ya.

I'm thinking what MacInWin mentioned...considering everything tried so far...maybe the HD is heading south. You could try booting from an external HD to see if things improve.

- Nick
That's not a bad idea - it's the exact same model as mine and I just happened to create a SuperDuper clone. Talk about timing.

I just ran the clone on the other MBP and the applications seemed to run faster (trying to taking into account the fact that I was running the OS through a USB 2.0 connection). Any suggestions for a way to verify that this might be the HD on its way out?

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bobtomay

 
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What you've already done is how to tell it's a bad drive - making a clone and running from there to compare speeds.

I've had multiple drives exhibit exactly the same symptoms over the years - thus far all were being used for Windows. The only ones under warranty I had do this were WD's 1st gen Green drives which all failed exactly in this way and even WD's own drive testing software would report the drive was ok. A single email to WD explaining the symptom was enough for WD to send me an overnight replacement drive - I had 3 of those all die the same death within a week to 2 months after purchase.

If you haven't, you could run Disk Repair, but I wouldn't trust a drive once it starts having bad blocks in multiple locations to cause this behavior.

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In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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vansmith

 
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So, I cloned the drive last night and notified the owner (my girlfriend) that this is likely what's happening. After I told her, I started listening and noticed that there are the tell tale infrequent clicks suggesting that this dying hard drive theory might have its merits here. Thankfully, I've got a few extra HDs lying around so I'm going to try a replacement tonight. Here's hoping that this is the case - the computer is slow as molasses.

The TM slowdowns seems to have magically corrected themselves. Yesterday, it was estimating 20+ days and this morning, it was down to 2 hours.

Thanks everyone for the help!

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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Any suggestions for a way to verify that this might be the HD on its way out?
Sounds like you're on your way to being satisfied that the HD is the problem. Replacing the HD with another one (like you mentioned you were going to do)...is probably the best way to be super sure.

Good luck,

- Nick

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

 
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I might give it a go tonight. Unfortunately, that means fighting with Microsoft's activation procedure since, apparently, a cloned HD counts as a new machine (found that out the hard way when I installed my SSD). Hooray...

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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
I might give it a go tonight. Unfortunately, that means fighting with Microsoft's activation procedure since, apparently, a cloned HD counts as a new machine (found that out the hard way when I installed my SSD). Hooray...
How does Microsoft activation feature play into this situation? I don't think you mentioned Microsoft before in the thread. Is it because of reactivating Office?

- Nick

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

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
How does Microsoft activation feature play into this situation? I don't think you mentioned Microsoft before in the thread. Is it because of reactivating Office?

- Nick
Yeah, cloning a drive, for whatever reason, counts as a new machine so I figure that I might run into some weird issues with re-activating Office on that machine.

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Why not simply connect a hard drive and run the Windows 7 Backup? Does not count as an activation on my Dell E6400, and the external OCZ SSD works great when popped in the Dell. Reminds one van of the old IBM 'Deathstar' that clicking.

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!
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