Beach Ball = Doom?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Dyuta, May 13, 2006.

  1. Dyuta macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    #1
    I'm a bit confused on what exactly the spinning beach ball indicates.

    I was under the impression that it means the system is busy... but I see it posted often here as a telltale sign or a symptom of a larger problem. If I'm mostly just running the stock programs (except low-level stuff like Adium) - certainly not anything heavy duty like the FCS that's installed but as-yet-untouched - on my 17" MBP (and the apps are Universal)... should I be getting the beach ball at all? (n.b. it only appears briefly, for a few seconds... and generally more often when launching apps than during their operation)

    Should the beach ball never appear when chatting/surfing/performing basic tasks?

    Apologies if this is an obvious question. It's my first Mac.
     
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #2
    Yeah, the beachball is one of the busy cursors, sometimes you will see other variations like a watch. It's about the same idea as the Windows hourglass.

    Occasionally when a program gets wedged you'll find that it never does get away from that beachball, and you're stuck having to do a forced quit. Again, it's analogous to that hourglass.

    Bottom line: not a real problem unless it refuses to go away!
     
  3. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #3
    I would say it is normal to beach-ball during application start up. Even during CPU-intensive tasks, like video encoding, you shouldn't see beach-balling - although other applications will be slow to respond and *may* beach ball if you try to access them. In general you see it on the few occasions where an application is waiting for a response from something else (e.g. reading from a drive that needs to spin up, or reading a font list upon first access). Basically it indicates a "stall". During routine use, emailing and internet, word-processing etc. you should never see it.

    HTH
     
  4. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #4
    But understand that if you DO see it, It is not a HUGE problem. Like previously stated, if you see the beach ball for 2 minutes.... then maybe there is a problem.
     
  5. Dyuta thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    #5
    Okay... so the occasional beach ball on program launch isn't anything to concern myself over, so long as it's brief. Thanks for alleviating my paranoia, guys.
     
  6. 3kids macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    #6
    I never saw the beach ball until after I installed the security update. Now the ball sometimes spins around for a LONG time.
     
  7. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #7
    Seeing the beach ball too often is sometimes an indication that you need more ram.
     
  8. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #8
    Yes, I believe that it can be. My iBook G4 has had a lot less "beach balls" after I doubled the RAM (from 512MB -> 1GB). :)
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    The first thing you should always try if you're see a lot of beach balls is a reboot. If it doesn't go away, you've probably got other issues.
     
  10. 3kids macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    #10
    I've got 1 G on a brand new system so I don't think it is a RAM issue. I had never seen it before the security update.
     
  11. berg macrumors member

    berg

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006

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