Ghost in my machine...

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Hi everyone. I have encountered a problem (or rather a series of problems) driving me crazy!

It's a MacBook Pro, Intel Core 2 Duo. The last model released of the generation before the unibody, and it's served me well for three years.

1. It all started with something innocent. I re-installed my computer. After a few days I got a funny phenomena on my screen, looking like several small spotlights (but shades rather than spotlights), as if made in Photoshop, covering anything showing on my screen. These would appear and disappear now and again and I didn't pay much attention.

2. Then I was using my computer to play some music in my bedroom late at night. I turned the screen-light off completely, to not wake my sleeping girlfriend. It turned itself on again to half effect after a couple of minutes. So I turned it down again, and it turned itself on again after a few minutes, so I turned it down again... and it turned itself on again. So I left it on, and it actually went to sleep after my preset 5 minute power-save-setting.

3. A week later I was playing music in iTunes through some external speakers, as I normally do. The music went quiet. Then came back. Then went quiet. Then came through the laptop speakers for 0,3 seconds, then went totally quiet. I could hear a ticking sound from the speakers. Like a really silent boc, boc, boc, boc, sound.

Restart the computer and it worked fine. Until it happened again the day after.

4. The day after, my left fan started making a horrible helicopter noise right after breakfast. I really thought it was mechanically broken. Went quiet if I smacked it a bit, but only for half a second.

Closed the computer and took it to my office, only to find it back to normal. Big relief.

6. Later that day, my computer is more or less TOTALLY mad. Programs crash all the time. Random programs freeze, but most of all - sometimes if I try to reach for the settings in the top right menu, like selecting the wifi or adjust the volume of the sound, it freezes for several minutes. When this freezing occurs, I can still use other applications running. Sometimes it crashes all together and I can't really shut the computer down.



I re-installed the computer, thinking it was software issue. Same thing. Even during the very first part of installation, customizing my new installation of OS X, that first music that comes up would freeze frequently during it's playback. The computer also froze a couple of times when I was entering my name and password for this initial setup.

Re-did the installation twice. Same thing.
Ran a hardware test from my install DVD- full test, twice, no errors found.

Continued the installation, and now I'm back to where I was before I re-installed. My computer is totally mad. A couple of times I've found that the sound setup in system preferences only have "headphone" as output, no internal speaker. Only to work the next time I boot.


What does all this mean? Since the fan was doing a mechanical noise I was thinking that dust and breadcrumbs might have built up inside it. I'm going to try open it up and blow it out with some compressed air-in-a-can tomorrow...

Could breadcrumbs in the machine actually cause my operating system to crash?



Sorry for the short novel. I hope someone is still reading, and have some wisdom for me... I'm desperate. I use this computer for work, and I'm freelance.

Best,
William Blackmon
 

chscag

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It does sound like you have a few "ghosts" or maybe even "gremlins" loose in the machine. Try this:

Boot with your install DVD, exit from the installation, choose Utilities from the top menu and then choose Disk Utility. Run a verify and repair on the hard drive. Let's see what it says before going on to something else.

Also, you might want to do a SMC reset and a PRAM reset.

Also when posting back, give us some info about the machine. Year, model, and which version of OS X you're running.
 
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It does sound like you have a few "ghosts" or maybe even "gremlins" loose in the machine. Try this:

Boot with your install DVD, exit from the installation, choose Utilities from the top menu and then choose Disk Utility. Run a verify and repair on the hard drive. Let's see what it says before going on to something else.

Also, you might want to do a SMC reset and a PRAM reset.

Also when posting back, give us some info about the machine. Year, model, and which version of OS X you're running.


Yeah gremlins is more like it! Haha...

Did PRAM and SMC - reset.
Booted from the install DVD and ran the disk check and repair. Came back with a couple of errors that it repaired. I ran it again and it came back clean. Kept my fingers crossed and rebooted normally... took about 2 minutes until it crashed. :/

It keeps crashing, and every time it's like that top menu freezes. Clock, battery indicator, wifi, sound.

The easiest way to provoke a crash is to use anything that uses the internal soundcard. But then again - sometimes it all behaves normally.

A lot of my applications seem to freeze up for a few seconds and then get going again. This happens frequently - between the major crashes.

The computer is a MacBook Pro of the old generation. More specifically ;
MacBookPro4,1 - Intel Core 2 Duo 2,5GHz and 4GB in RAM

It's running snow leopard.
 
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could it be because your running snow leopard?
that is the newest isnt it?

lol

does anybody thin that ugrading the ram from 4 to 6 or 8 would help?

if things are crashing then ide just say cause too new of a os than the macbook can handle.

i could be completely wrong tho as this is just a random guess.
 

chscag

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I suspect the hard drive is dying. I know you ran Disk Utility and repaired a few errors, but it sure sounds to me like that drive is on its last leg. Good time to start making backups if you haven't already done so. Let us know.
 
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New drive installed. Used it for 20 min, reached for the system preferences and it crashed... Also the top-right menu. Left it for 2 minutes of ball-turning and then it came to life again.

I'm about to start crying soon.
 

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