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El Capitan on SSD - strange pauses in boot process

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Hi all,

New member - my first post here. :) I have already done pretty extensive searching for answers, both on this forum and elsewhere, so far with no resolution.

Setup:
Early 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 (2 x 2.8GHz Quad-Core Xeon)
12GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256 MB
Monitors: 2 x ACER X193W

My query:
Having run Snow Leopard off a 320Gig HDD (System files and apps only - storage of all other files is on another drive) on this machine for nine happy, trouble-free years, last week I accepted the inevitable and dragged myself into 2015 with a clean install of El Capitan 10.11.6 on a brand new SSD - a 240Gig Crucial BX500 mounted on an OWC Mercury Accelsior S PCIe card in slot 2 (to avoid the SATA II bottleneck of using a drive bay).

Everything with the installation has gone brilliantly. The new OS runs very well, as do all of my apps. I'm happy. However...

Before I installed the new OS, I timed a "cold start" boot of Snow Leopard from its old spinny HDD. From pressing the power button to seeing the login screen was 36 seconds.

Now, booting from cold into El Capitan off its spanky new SSD takes a mere... 30 seconds.

UH??

Both OSes have just the one little item (XMenu) in the Login items folder and as far as I know, all other settings are the same. So what gives? I was expecting the boot time to be a heck of a lot shorter than this.

After booting up this morning, I copied the Boot Log info out of Console. I trawled through it looking for obvious moments where it "hangs". I found two.

The first one is a 5 second pause here:

07/02/2020 08:49:24.140 com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: (com.apple.TrustEvaluationAgent) This key does not do anything: OnDemand
07/02/2020 08:49:29.134 WindowServer[155]: Session 257 retained (2 references)


Then there's a whacking 11-second pause here:

07/02/2020 08:49:33.000 kernel[0]: hfs: unmount initiated on Recovery HD on device disk2s3
07/02/2020 08:49:44.406 SecurityAgent[216]: User info context values set for kenc

"disk2s3" is the recovery partition on the SSD.


I'm not experienced enough to know if there's anything anomalous going on. I'd be very grateful if any of you folks could cast an eye over the above log entries and tell me what you think. If you need to see the full boot log, I've attached it in a PDF. Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 01.38.53.png

Thanking you in advance...
Ken
 
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G'day Ken and welcome.

Where did you get your copy of El Capitan from, and did you burn it to a USB thumb drtive using a program to make it bootable, such as Diskmaker X and did you do an erase of the dsrive and clean install?
 
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Hi Harry - thanks for the welcome!

It was from an official Apple download URL - not that I can remember it to quote it here! I then followed the procedure to turn it into a bootable installer to run off a 16GB flash drive. From there I did a clean install onto a brand new SSD - formatted as OSX Extended (Journaled). The install went without a hitch. Once it has booted, everything runs as nicely and as fast as you'd expect from an SSD. It's just the boot process itself that seems oddly drawn out.
 
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Can you remove (or just disconnect) the original HDD and test startup time again? Or wait a few days, and test again?
 
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Can you remove (or just disconnect) the original HDD and test startup time again? Or wait a few days, and test again?
Hi ferrarr. Thanks for the idea. Have just given that a try.

Powered down
Went out for several hours!
Removed Snow Leopard HDD from the case.
Booted up again.

Result: no change. Still 30 seconds. :( Still, at least we can eliminate that as a possible cause.
 
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Anyone got any other thoughts on this? I'm really curious about those two odd pauses in the boot log. Something must be causing them... [strokes chin]
 

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Usually pauses in the boot process are due to the system looking at or for something such as external hard drives or other attached devices. I see where you stated that you have two Acer monitors attached... which normally should not cause any problems. I also looked over your boot log which did not show anything unusual.

The two pauses you indicated above appear to have something to do with security which does seem out of the ordinary. Someone with more expertise is going to need to look at those in depth. Hopefully you can get that resolved since boot pauses are annoying. Let us know if you get it figured out. Sorry I can't be of more help.
 
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chscag, you've been of great help simply by saying what you have. I now know more about what's happening than I did, and it's good to know that there's nothing wildly anomalous going on, so thank you. I shall look into the security thing. :)
 
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I agree with Charlie and your boot times are more than responsibly fast. It's not unusual for any Mac to have a unique burp or pause at boot time.
You say your Mac is running well otherwise, so why not just carry on. But the comment about security seems like something to investigate. Do you have any such third party software installed?

I'd carry on with you plan. I was going to suggest trying a cold Safe Boot, but I don't think that is going to help solve or prove anything.



Patrick
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Hi Patrick and thanks for your reply. I'm tempted to agree with you about just carrying on - a slightly longer-than-expected boot time on a machine that otherwise works well is by no means ruining my life! ;D I don't have any 3rd-party security software on board, no. I tried a Safe Boot a while back - no effect.

However, in a spirit of "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" (and ever-so-slightly clutching at straws), this morning I tried an experiment. Last night, trawling the web I read various reports of people with 3rd party SSDs having improved boot times after enabling TRIM. I hadn't enabled TRIM yet, because Crucial's info suggested that their own "Garbage collection system" was sufficient in itself, but I figured there was no harm trying, so...

Booted into Recovery and disabled SIP.

Did a normal restart and enabled TRIMforce. Tried not to fret about Apple's "don't blame us!" warnings of potential armageddon (or their ungrammatical use of the word "momentarily").

Shut down and restarted from cold.

Result: boot time INCREASED to 36 seconds! :rofl

You win some, you lose some...

ADDED LATER: After that initial post-TRIM boot, the boot time has now reverted to 30 seconds.
 
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Try ging into System Preferences > Users & Groups > Log In Items and make sure there is nothing selected which may slow your Mac down. Also are you running AV software at all?
 
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Thanks, Harry. Only one login item (XMenu, which I also had on Snow Leopard - I love it), and no I don't use any AV.
 
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Have you run EtreCheck, EtreCheck It may be able to identify an issue (if there is any)?
 
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Thanks, ferrarr - I've just downloaded and run EtreCheck. The "Major Issues" pane contains one entry:

"This machine may be considered obsolete."

:rofl
 
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Thanks, Harry. Only one login item (XMenu, which I also had on Snow Leopard - I love it), and no I don't use any AV.

Why not try disabling it and reboot just to see if it may be causing any slowdowns etc.?
Also, is it an updated compatible version for the macOS version you are using?

It seems funny and odd to me that my iPad 3 takes a hell of a lot longer to boot than 30 seconds, and I've always wondered why a solid-state device would take so long?


Patrick
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Hi Patrick and thanks for the idea - have just given that a try, but no change. Yes, it is the correct version of XMenu for the OS.
 
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I'm late to the thread, but my 2007 Macbook Pro & El Capitan also has 2 long pauses at boot.
From a total amateur's view: If you use one, perhaps one of your backup application(s) is the cause.

What I found out, by experimenting, is that if I turn off Time Machine in System Preferences at the next start one of the two start up pauses gone. If I also disable my offsite backup software, the delay is down to a second or so. Perhaps this a glitch common only to this old computer and El Captian.

Hope this helps narrow down the culprit.
Paul
 
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Hi PGB1 - many thanks for your insight here. That sounds intriguing, especially as your MBP and my MP are of similar vintage. I shall investigate and report back.

Cheers,
Ken
 
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OK - I haven't got Time Machine on at all at the moment (I've still got to get my backup situation sorted out, I'm afraid), so TM isn't the cause in my case. Thanks for the thought, though! :)
 
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Just revisiting this thread to report that now, having bought a new printer and installed its drivers etc., my El Cap boot time off the SSD has risen to 35 seconds. Oh good... :D
 
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