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Thread: Web browser + 2008 MacBook Pro problems

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2011
    Web browser + 2008 MacBook Pro problems
    I have been using bootcamp to run Windows on a late 2008/early 2009 17" unibody MacBook Pro since I purchased it. I have had numerous freezing/lockup problems as well as problems with web browsers crashing. Specific timeline:

    1. Windows Vista Ultimate - computer froze up (computer non-responsive to any input so I had to power off by holding power button) requiring hard reset about once every 7 days from initial purchase in Feb 2009. I could not reproduce the error "on purpose", it just happened randomly. This problem increased to 1-2 times per day after a few months. I unistalled Vista 06/2009.

    2. Windows XP Professional - XP was much more stable only freezing once every 2 weeks or so. I know Vista is terrible so the decrease in freezes was expected; however, I have never had these issues with XP or Vista on a PC. Even on XP, these freezes are annoying so I uninstalled XP in 06/2010.

    3. Windows 7 Professional - Windows 7 has been the most stable; however, recently (starting 03/2011) it has been freezing up often (once every 2 days).

    In parallel with these operating system problems, I have had numerous web browser related issues:

    1. Starting in early 2010, all web-browsers (explorer, firefox, chrome, and safari) started crashing 1-2 times a week. This gradually increased to 2-3 times a day over the course of a few months. I switched to Opera which was a bit more stable with crashes maybe 1 time a week.

    2. I installed firefox 4 beta in 11/2010 and I did not have a crash for months.

    3. Recently (starting 03/2011) after firefox 4 became a release candidate it has been crashing 1-2 times a day again.

    I thought that I had solved the crashing problems (or at least learned to avoid them), but lately they have been rearing their ugly heads. Does anyone have insight into what might be causing these crashes (both operating system and web browser)? At first I thought it was a virus scan (McAfee Enterprise), but disabling that has not helped. I have enabled/disabled all Windows firewalls as well. I searched for "Windows freeze" and "browser crash", but there are many threads on this topic and the ones I looked at did not address this specific issue. Thank you.

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Mar 08, 2010
    this is probably a windows question try on a windows forum
    sorry i can't help much

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2011
    I have tried on multiple Windows forums. I have also been to an apple store (absolutely no help) and to an apple-certified support person at my school. They attempted to help, but since the problem cannot be replicated on purpose, it is difficult to debug. I was hoping that someone else with the same MacBook Pro had seen a similar (or the same) problem and solved it. I do not think it is simply a Windows problem as I have "wiped" the Windows partition four times and done a fresh install (twice with Vista and once each with XP and W7). It seems it is a "Windows on this Mac through Boot Camp problem", i.e., possibly some hard ware issue with this particular Mac. Thank you for your suggestion.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    Are you experiencing any errors or freezing while running OS X? You mentioned a problem with using Safari. The reason I ask is because I don't believe your problem has anything to do with Win XP, Vista, Win 7, whatever. It certainly sounds more like a hardware problem.

    Freezing, even occasional can be caused by flakey memory modules. And it's a fact that Windows more so than OS X is very sensitive to memory glitches. So I would check that first. Also run the Apple Hardware Test from your original install media to see if it comes up with anything.

    Make sure your fans are working OK. Overheating can cause the system to halt and Windows works the CPU harder than OS X does.

    You also haven't told us what exactly what it was you were doing on your MBP at the time(s) the freezing occurred.

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Mar 27, 2011
    No freezing in OS X; every once in a great while (once every month or two) I get the spinning beach ball of death, but I believe that is unrelated. The Safari I refer to is running in Windows. When major issues started (1.5 yrs ago), I was trying any browser I could, and Safari and Chrome did crash less than Firefox and Explorer. Opera (10 good, 11 not as good) was king for quite a few months, but Firefox 4.0 beta was the only browser that did not crash for weeks at a time. I usually run the most recent release of any browser; however, I tried to keep Firefox 4.0 beta and it updated without asking one day (I didn't think it was an issue at the time or I may have restored).

    It is difficult to identify a program that I am consistently running when freezes occur. I almost always have a web browser open with gmail running, but I have had a few freezes without any web browser open. I run a lot of taxing programs on the Windows side including engineering software Solid Works, AutoCAD, Mathematica, and TecPlot, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. I do not use all of them often, but the computer has frozen while using AutoCAD, Photoshop and Illustrator. My computer definitely runs hotter in Windows than OS X, but I have had freezes running "cool" and "hot", and sometimes it runs fairly hot for some time without ever freezing. Fan control was initially a big problem, but I believe there was a firmware upgrade that provides better fan control now.

    Often, freezes and crashes occur when scrolling with an external mouse (Logitech VX nano and anywhere MX). I thought for a while that was the problem, but freezes (albeit fewer) sometimes occur while using the trackpad with no mouse hooked up and without scrolling.

    Thank you for your recommendations. I will check the memory modules and run the hardware test as recommended. By the way, the exact model is:

    2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4 GB DDR3 Memory

  6. #6

    Member Since
    Feb 12, 2008
    This really does sound like a hardware/memory issue that relates to how Windows accesses memory in a way that OSX does not. I agree re checking the memory modules. I would also consider giving the interior a good air cleaning ...

    Good luck

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