View Full Version : Daily-ish Freezes on 15" AlBook (1.25)

May 4, 2004, 09:33 PM
First off, I'm running 10.3.3 with all the most recent software updates.

I've actually been having this problem over the past 2 or 3 weeks: my PB will freeze randomly once a day or so and force me to hit the power button. No kernel panics or error messages of any sort... my desktop will simply freeze. The mouse cursor is usually responsive for a few seconds before it, too, freezes on me. The only constant I've noticed throughout these random lockups is that I'm running iTunes, although this may just be because I'm constantly running iTunes. When I experience these lockups, the current song in iTunes will usually continue to play for a little while, and then cut in and out intermittently until it stops altogether. I'm running iTunes 4.5 now, but I was still having problems prior to the new version. Rebuilding the iTunes.plist file doesn't seem to have any effect.

I've tried to isolate the problem by switching apps on and off (Synergy, Quicksilver, and iChatStatus to name a few), but the problem remains. I've run the Disk Repair utility (booting off the Panther CD) as well repaired the disk permissions. I've also run the Extended Test on the Apple Hardware Test, which passed without a hitch.

I'm going to try resetting the PMU and then swapping out my RAM, but beyond that, I'm kind of running out of options. I'd like to avoid reinstalling the OS if at all possible. Funny thing is I have a friend who just bought a new 12" PB (1.33), and he's having the exact same problem. Anyhow, I'm at a bit of a loss, so I was curious if anyone else here had been experiencing the same problem.


May 4, 2004, 10:45 PM

So far, there seems to be three culprits.

1) CrashReporter hangs. Disabling CrashReporter has stopped the system lockups for some people. For others, it didn't work.

2) Airport 3.3 update. Either downgrading to an older version of Airport or upgrading to the latest fixed the problem for many.

3) VM problem due to heavy disk fragmentation and small free space segments on nearly-filled hard drives. Many people are still experiencing freezes after trying the above two fixes. For these people, the freezes often occurred under heavy network load and while running many apps at the same time. Safari and iTunes are mentioned frequently. It's beginning to appear that the freeze is caused by virtual memory paging on a heavily fragmented hard drive. Defragging the hard drive with SpeedDisk, TechTool Pro 4, or Plus Optimizer eliminates the freezes until the hard drive becomes fragmented again.

My system freezes were definitely caused by the third problem. And defragging the drive "cured" the issue.
--Quoted from MaxFixit

Westside guy
May 5, 2004, 12:08 AM
It might help if you could list the programs you have running at startup, including behind-the-scenes stuff you might not think about - i.e. virtual desktop software, key managers, sidetrack, etc.

I had a similar problem some time ago - turned out to be a problem with the SSH key manager I was using at the time. I solved it by switching to a different program called SSH Keychain.

May 5, 2004, 07:04 AM
I had the same exact problem about 2 hours ago! I use the 1.5ghz pb and EVERYTHING just froze (yes, even the desktop). I think the pb was getting too hot and just froze. (i am just guessing obviously) Since i use a bt mouse and keyboard and 22" adc, my pb is stored away which might have been stupid.

May 5, 2004, 07:28 AM
there seems to be a bug with wireless and waking up from sleep... if either bt or airport are enabled, too often the wakeup jams the whole system.

May 5, 2004, 01:02 PM
I hardly every use Airport (the wireless signal strength is pretty weak in my room), although BT is contantly switched on for my Apple Wireless Keyboard.

As for what programs I'm running at startup, there aren't many outside of what I've already mentioned: Quicksilver, Synergy, iChatStatus, Apache and PostgreSQL for work, and a couple mouse daemons for my Logitech MX300 and the Wireless Kensington mouse I use occasionally. Westside guy, does anything in there look particularly suspicious to you?

Also, thanks for the quote, Frisco: if this PMU reset doesn't resolve the problem, I'll try disabling CrashReporter as well as defragging the drive. The VM problem is definitely suspect: I have noticed that most (all?) of my crashes have occurred when I have several apps running, some with quite a few windows open (roughly 20-30 windows total, on average). This may also explain why the crashes happen roughly every day, since it takes me a little while to accumulate all those open windows.

May 5, 2004, 02:21 PM
I've been reading this boards a lot and over the past week or so, i've noticed about 3 or 4 people having the same problem. First it was just the new 12" pb, now it's on the 15's. Hope somethings not wrong with all the new pb's.

May 5, 2004, 03:36 PM
Well it is rather curious. I received one of the 12" powerbooks the saturday after the newest ones came out, and I just sent it back this monday to get the latch fixed. I was having some similar freezing problems as well. Apple got it yesterday morning, and it went in for repairs shortly after. Today it has been listed as in testing all day, and somehow I get the feeling that it isn't some poor shmuck just opening and closing my baby over and over again. I'd be very interested to see what is going down. I also hope they send it out tonight so I can have it back by the weekend.

May 5, 2004, 03:49 PM
...using 10.3.3, with no logic whatsoever -- all sorts of different applications being in use when the system crashed. eventually i hunted down /etc/hostconfig, which specifies certain system services to be started automatically on bootup. i set all of them except HOSTNAME and ROUTER to NO (correct syntax, as an example, would be 'NFSLOCK=-NO-') and rebooted... i haven't seen any problems since, which would be about a month and counting. your mileage may vary, of couse.. but i think that an earlier poster was right about a bug in crashreporter, since i had no crash logs whatsoever from any application after the freeze.

hope this helps,


May 6, 2004, 02:36 AM
this happened to me a couple times this week on my 15" pb 1.25. i think its the fragmentation issue, both times it happened there was heavy network traffic (i was downloading) and my disk was almost full (in fact i got the error like 20 min. before my first crash).

i'm thinking the issue might also include the new airport update, since its never happened before the update. plus with so many people complaining lately, it has to be due to a change in 10.3.

May 6, 2004, 03:39 AM
I run apple bt mouse and keyboard and use the airport, but mine froze after trying to open some website on Safari. Everything just froze. I had iTunes running in the background but thats all. I agree with JzzTrump22 - I hope that nothing is wrong with all the new pbs'. Apologies to f-matic but I am not going to start messing around the system files of my brand new pb. I want a working product for spending $2700.

May 6, 2004, 04:07 AM
Just wanted to provide a quick clarification: I have a first generation 15" Albook from when they were first released last fall, so I don't think it's necessarily a hardware issue with the new Powerbooks.

Also a quick update regarding my situation: resetting the PMU didn't solve the problem. I've now disabled CrashReporter, and I'll be looking into defragging my hard drive with SpeedDisk or DiskWarrior.

May 10, 2004, 12:15 PM
Ran SpeedDisk last Thursday... haven't had any freezes since, so those of you who are having the same problems might want to give it a whirl. The program only reported moderate fragmentation for my system drive, but apparently it was enough to throw OS X's VM management out of whack.

Cross your fingers.

IJ Reilly
May 10, 2004, 01:05 PM
I realize this not a scientific sampling, but every time I've had a problem like this, it has always been traced to bad RAM. In one case it was RAM that had been installed by Apple (G4 PB) and another time it was RAM that had been in the Mac for three years (Cube). I can't explain either, but both times the problems vanished when the RAM was replaced.

May 11, 2004, 01:30 AM
i wouldn't reset the PMU, that's a last desprate measure. but if you've tried everything else...

have you tried the hardware test from the CD?

May 11, 2004, 01:45 AM
Does resetting the PMU have any adverse effects other than resetting the system clock and wiping out RAM disks (the latter of which is not applicable to me)? The Apple documentation online also suggested it as a last resort, though the concern seemed to stem mainly from the unlikeliness of it as a solution rather than any damage it might cause.

And yes, running the AHT was one of the first things I did, since I initially suspected a RAM issue. Defragmenting the drive seems to have done the trick, though, as I haven't had any lockups in the past 4 days.

May 11, 2004, 02:25 AM
no, i dont' think that resetting the PMU would do any other damage to your PB. i'm just trying to remember what i read from the KB articles... but as long as you've read all the documentation and know what you're getting yourself into, you coudl try it out.

it seems strange that it would have to do with fragmetation issues. i've get 3 partitions on my PB, my Panther boot volume is only 8GB and constantly running out of space, swap files filling up the remaining 1GB very easily. but i've never had any lockups, i can continue using my PB, but just a bit slower.

well, whatever works, works, i guess.

May 11, 2004, 03:29 AM
Yeah, to be honest with you, it all seems it a little odd to me as well. I don't know if this is an issue that was introduced with 10.3.3, or if it didn't show up until two weeks ago simply because my HD wasn't fragmented enough up until that point. Either way, it seems like an issue with the OS and the way it handles paging since it appears to be so prevalent on other users' machines.

May 11, 2004, 10:54 AM
I love my problem free steady ibook g3 600MHz slow and steady

May 11, 2004, 04:33 PM
I've been having the same problem for about 3 or 4 weeks now, always when iTunes is running, but I've got a 1gHz 17" iMac. I have bluetooth but it has still happened with the BT thingy unplugged. About a week ago I clean installed 10.3 and everything is up to date. It didn't happen after that for about four or five days, but it happened once one day and then twice the next. It seems to mostly happen when I've got a lot of programs all going at once, but it will ALWAYS happen when iTunes is running. I recently replaced my old 10gig iPod with a new 40gig one and that hasn't changed anything. I also disabled crashreport and that hasn't worked. Just giving you guys all the info I've got, maybe it'll help.