Boot / freeze issue with mba rev 1

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mtraven, May 16, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #1
    So this is my first post here ,but I have been reading the forum for a couple years and I'de like to say thank you to everyone for some great information. But now I am stuck, and I have read and read and read and cannot fix my mba...heres the situation:

    about a month ago I was getting periodic freezing (spinning cursor, movable but cannot click anything& key strokes dont register). At the same time, I was getting errors saying my hard drive had/is failing. Tried a lot at this point but decided to replace the drive with runcore's 128 SSD. I have that drive partitioned into a 25gb partition for snow leopard & applications, the remainder is my data drive. Here are the symptoms I have now:

    -spinning wheel freezing, requires hard reset -- upon reboot it stalls & flashing the file folder with a "?" (indication that its not finding the OS)

    -to get it to restart I have to let it sit for 10min - 2 hours WITHOUT the power adapter connected, reset the SMC & pvram, connect the power & boot

    -when it runs, it run GREAT, but pretty much every restart stalls out. However when it does start it takes a good amount of time for the apple logo to show on the gray boot screen, but once it does its only about 10-15secs before its fully booted & ready to use.


    from what I have read I think there is an issue with either the SMC or EFI & i have tried upgrading the firmware for both, but both packages say "this computer does not need this update" (i tried every version of both for all 3 versons of the mba.

    so.....im at a loss, any suggestions (other than bring it into apple) would be awesome! Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    #2
    you could always startup from your install dvd via an external optical drive holding down the Alt key and then use disk utility to repair a few things and to verify the hard disc itself and that it ain't failing.

    if that doesn't do the trick then do a fresh install of OSX (archive and install) and all should be sweet. :D
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
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    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #3
    If you search around in this forum, there have been some mention of upgrading the firmware on the Runcore drives has helped with some issues related to power management; however, I do not have a Runcore, so I cannot comment first hand, and I cannot recall if that was the 128 for Rev A or Rev B and beyond.

    The various Runcore threads also mention a support forum, which might help with your decision.

    Other things to look at would be how full your 25GB root partition is. MacOS X likes to have some overhead for dynamic paging as well as for sleepimage. Do you see any drive related errors in your system.log?
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 16, 2010
    #4
    I have done that several times. I would never do an archive & install as the whole point is to wipe out any trace of what was causing the error in th first place....so ive formatted both drives (orig mba HD & my ssd) with 7 pass zeroing and and done clean installs with leopard & snow leopard.....this problem most certainly has nothing to do with my harddrive....all the symptoms are the same as when the original was in there

    again, this has little (if any) to do with the drive. To answer your questions, its a 20gb partition with just under 8gb free (that seems like plenty to me, no?) and there are no hard disk related errors in the system log, smart status is ok, permissions ok....

    ok this is just a feel i get and in no way based on facts, but it seems like when the thing boots, its looking for the OS and sometimes it finds it & boots, sometimes it doesn't. That leads me to believe something is messed up with the EFI which i know very little about.

    One last note is that literally every symptom I have outlined, was present PRIOR to installing the runcore128 SSD.

    Thanks again for your responses, i hope we can get to the bottom of this....

    another tidbit-- the unit seems to be running hotter than normal....as I am typing this my cpu is at 85, i am pushing it pretty hard with video conversion, but even when i was just browsing the web is was at 77....after being off for a night it was around 64...im no expert, but those numbers seem high to me? Got a secondary fan blowing on it hard now, ill try to remove that variable to isolate the problem and let yall know, thoughts on those temps?
     
  5. macrumors 65816

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    #5
    quite possibly the way in which you have your SSD partitioned is causing the prob.


    as you've obviously got everything backed up, restart from install dvd as mentioned, then reformat with just the single partition (a simple erase should do the trick - no need for zeroing it out) and fresh install Snow Leopard (don't install 10.5 first just 10.6 only), update it fully, then add your apps and updates and lastly your data.

    if you are still having issues after all that, I'd be talking with Mr Runcore before binning the Air and buying another or going to see the Apple Tech

    as for running hot - video conversion on an Air causes the fans to go ballistic, just like when you have 10 tabs open in Safari and one of them's YouTube or a News site with clips playing
     
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
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    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7
    This problem is your partition.

    I don't understand what you're trying to do with a 25 GB partition for OS X? Are you trying to leave other partitions for Windows, files, and etc? Explain this first so I understand what you're trying to accomplish. After you explain your point in doing this I will reply with what I perceive as the problem.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #8

    nope, no windows....just to keep my data & OS separate so when i need to reinstall I can format the osx partition & leave whatever data I may have on the 2nd partition. I am very curious to hear why thats a problem, especially seeing how this is how its always been & works just fine on my macbook pro....
     
  9. macrumors 65816

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    #9
    No partitions - that's what Im trying to say.
    Apple doesn't ship Macs with partitions and only recommend it for BootCamp.
    that's where your problem lies for sure … although Scottsdale sounds like he's got something up his sleeve for you
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    #10
    I'm not sure what the problem is but I do know what you're doing is not really necessary if you have an external disk and use time machine.

    I wonder, how much space do you have free on your 25GB partition once all your apps are installed?
     
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #11

    well quite simply, time machine sucks IMO, I use it to make a blank system restore backup, but i do not want it backing up my data. ....however, I am out of ideas so I will try it, I just dont understand why the computer would run for 18 or so months with a 2(and at time 3) partition drive & then all the sudden cause problems? But ill try.....

    the 25GB partition is actually only 20GB, and it has 7.8GB free with everything installed & updated, thats seems like plenty of free space to me, am I wrong?
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    #12
    Time Machine is brilliant and is customisable so that you're backing up only your Home folder - i.e. you data, music, vids, etc.

    your issue here is that your system is confused.
    I don't understand why it's malfunctioning after 18 months either except to say that bad things happen to good Macs.

    I still reckon if you wipe the partions and reinstall Snow Leopard only (not 10.5 first) on a single partition and then rebuild the rest, all your issues will disappear.

    have fun :D
     
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #13
    yah I am familiar with time machine, its just not the option I will be pursuing, ill leave it at that.

    as for removing my 2 partions and reverting to the "stock" single partition, I will try it, but just to know if it works. I understand my system is confused, but I would rather find a solution to "un-confuse" it & keep my existing partition table. So can anyone out there explain to me (feel free to be as technical as possible) how having a 2nd partition is causing these problems?
     
  14. macrumors 65816

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    #14
    geez louise - it's your pratitions are the problem at this point in time.
    format the HDD as one partition; do a minimal install of SL - after checking the integrity of your Runcore HDD via disk utility on the way through.

    then if everything works ok, you can go back and partition to your heart's content and do your rebuilds.

    (ps - please don't bold everything - it's a tad rude) :D
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    #15
    My experience is different, TM has been very effective and useful.

    I think the reason so many people think this may be a problem is that no one ever bothers to partition a disk for OSX this way. It's pretty much always done a single partition and that fact that you're having problems with a system with your partition scheme is setting off alarm bells for most of the readership.

    HFS+ also has problems when space free on a volume goes too low. As you load up the system you may be finding that swap space is expanding and your boot partition is getting filled up. Try doing your video creation in the background while using "ls -lsh /var/vm" to see what your virtual memory usage is. Mine currently shows:

    Horza:~ AndyMulhearn$ ls -lsh /var/vm
    total 8388608
    4194304 -rw------T 1 root wheel 2.0G 18 May 08:57 sleepimage
    131072 -rw------- 1 root wheel 64M 15 May 15:14 swapfile0
    131072 -rw------- 1 root wheel 64M 17 May 21:58 swapfile1
    262144 -rw------- 1 root wheel 128M 17 May 21:58 swapfile2
    524288 -rw------- 1 root wheel 256M 17 May 21:58 swapfile3
    1048576 -rw------- 1 root wheel 512M 17 May 21:58 swapfile4
    2097152 -rw------- 1 root wheel 1.0G 18 May 09:28 swapfile5


    But straight after I boot it will show something like:

    Horza:~ AndyMulhearn$ ls -lsh /var/vm
    total 4325376
    4194304 -rw------T 1 root wheel 2.0G 18 May 08:57 sleepimage
    131072 -rw------- 1 root wheel 64M 15 May 15:14 swapfile0

    If that starts to increase massively and you get the problems then that may be the root cause.

    However, having re-read the rest of your message I wonder if this is a case of a Rev A (I guess this is what you mean by a Rev 1) machine just being pushed beyond it's limits and into overheating. Certainly leaving it for 10 minutes to cool down before it will boot at all seems to be a sign of something like that.

    Final point, while I realise this is frustrating and people are telling you stuff you don't necessarily agree with, bolding parts of your replies looks like you're shouting and will cause people to decide offering you assistance is just too hard to be bothered with. Just sayin is all.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #16
    sorry the bold is just to highlight the question I wanted answered in my ridiculously long posts, always thought CAPS were shouting.....but oh well.

    i dont really need to be doing video stuff on my MBA, I just happened to be doing that the other day, nor do I have any files with me to try, but this is what my virtual memory looks like (booted the computer within the last hour): (i have also never seen the partition have less than ~7gb free)

    4194304 -rw------T 1 root wheel 2.0G May 18 12:04 sleepimage
    131072 -rw------- 1 root wheel 64M May 18 14:06 swapfile0


    so i haven't had time to redo the partitions yet, but I will soon. I plan to try the single partition, but really want to figure out how to make 2 parts work....if for no other reason, so I can dual boot. I have been tinkering around trying to figure this out and have a few more details that might be of some use:

    --the computer has yet to freeze or have any problems while I am using it
    **in fact I ran a video conversion that took close to 12 hours & it worked fine (no lock ups, cpu did get pretty hot though)

    --while "on" it seems to lock up once it has gone to sleep (screen open or closed). Then I get the spinning wheel when the cursor is over the top menu bar & a seemingly normal cursor everywhere else, but i cant click & no key strokes resister.
    --if I toggle the power cord (connect & disconnect) the screen brightness still changes like it should, despite the system being locked up
    --this is when I have to do a hard reset & almost always get the ?filefolder @ boot
    --From there, i have to reset the smc, pvram (not sure if both are necessary, but thats what works)....but sometimes I have to let it sit for 1-12 hours before it will restart again.

    edit: --also if I do a normal restart from a responsive system, MOST of the time it restarts with no problem.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    #17
    No worries.

    You only see what swap space you have/need when your running apps. When OSX is rebooted. it drops swap usage back to minimum and it's only when you start loading it up that it allocates swap files and space. If you use that command again when you've been running for some time and have a load of apps open, you'll see a different picture.

    When you dual boot you usually leave OSX on one large partition and Windows on a much smaller partition chopped off the end of the disk. With your scheme you'd have three partitions when you only really need two.

    Look at it another way, you have 7GB free on a boot partition that you effectively can't use for something useful, other than adding more apps. With a single partition that's there to be used.

    Are you running iStat system monitoring? There were problems last year with this causing lockups - it happened to me on my MBP - but they seem to have been solved now.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #18
    ill continue to keep an eye on the virtual memory -- its just strange that the lockups dont happen when I am pushing the system, but rather when its idle/asleep.

    I understand & have considered the usable space point you made, and I just dont have that much stuff that needs to the computer and I like having the ability to completely wipe the system & reinstall WITHOUT copying all my data back onto it. But if its between that convenience & a single partition that doesn't freeze, ill give up that convenience.


    with regards to istat-- yes I am running it, but only since a few days ago to monitor temps, these problems were all present prior to ever installing. Should I remove it? is there a different program to monitor temps (maybe even log them) ?

    a related question-- i noticed that by default "put hard disk to sleep when possible" in my pref pane is checked. i understand what that does physically to a normal hard drive(basically stops spinning the drive).....but confused as to how a SSD is "put to sleep" and given that my problems often occur when coming out of sleep, wondering if thats a problem?


    thank you all, and sorry if ive been pissy, this has me on my last nerve.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #19
    Update:

    -used disk utility to remove 2nd partition, reformatted SSD
    -installed snow leopard
    -installed all system updates
    -used disk utility to check hard disk (no problems)
    -installed basic programs (office, ilife, handbrake, chrome, vlc)

    result:
    -no change in the system, all previous problems remain.


    now what?!?!?
     
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #20
    ive been tinkering to try to narrow down the problem and here are some additional details:

    --the most common symptom is the system hanging when it comes out of sleep, that always requires a hard restart & I always get the ?/file folder when I boot

    -i noticed the system does actually come out of sleep for a few seconds before it freezes (i was able to scroll down the browser window that was open for 2-4 seconds before it hung)

    -the system has yet to hang while in use, in fact I ran a video conversion that took 12 hours and was using 90+% of cpu the whole time and it was fine!

    -one of the times it would not boot, i reset the pram(again)...but this time it brought me to the EFI boot menu with only 1 option "EFI BOOT" -- but it booted, dont know if this is significant, but thought ide share.

    -i took the unit apart to ensure connections where ok & give it a general visual inspection. I also pulled the battery for an hour or so to see if that didn't "reset" the system. It did reset my clock and it lost my network settings (neither of which occurred any of the times i reset the SMC or pram)

    -while I had it apart I noticed that in the corner of the logic board it was labeled "rev c". I am quite certain this is a revA mba, but i had it serviced a while ago & they replaced the screen, case & logic board. The model identifier in system profiler is "MacBookAir1,1". my understanding is that indicates rev A, so thats got me confused, doubt it really matters but thought ide share & ask what people thought about that?


    I am totally out of ideas to try and open to anything, tell me that throwing it out the window will fix it, and ill try!
     
  21. macrumors 65816

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    #21
    blow me down - you have been thru the mill.
    sounds like you've tried everything, and then some.

    I'd say the Runcore SSD is faulty - can't think of anything else it's likely to be
     
  22. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 16, 2010
    #22
    well ive been doing more testing, ill detail that later, but one highlight:

    --power off
    boot SL(rather quickly once the apple logo pops up)
    i do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, no programs load, its just the desktop & an idle computer
    -- at ~5min computer goes to sleep
    --at wake 2-4secs where the comp IS responsive
    --then the cursor of death
    this happens every single time, but only when it goes idle

    soooo, to summarize....my computer is unable boot up and do NOTHING?!? i guess thats just too demanding for my air.....
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    Location:
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    #23
    Wait a minute. Did you just remove the second partition, or did you remove all of the partitions and start anew? Also, how did you format it once you had removed all partitions and started over? I believe that is your problem, and I will be shocked if completely removing the partitions and making one or two partitions of at least 50 GB each will result in a complete fix. I still believe it's the partitioning. I believe from your post that you're still missing the point of completely removing the current partitioning and starting with a partition, ON AN SSD, with over 20% of the drive's space left available on each and every partition.

    For now, just eliminate all partitions. Make one partition, after clearing all, then format the one complete disk as a single OS X Extended (Journaled) partition. I honestly think this has been your problem from the start.

    I am sorry if I have missed something, but it looks to me you're deleting your second partition and not all partitions. Are you sure you formatted properly to do a boot partition? Once all partitions are gone, make one partition. Then format it with OS X Extended (journaled). And try from there.
     
  24. macrumors 65816

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    #24
    +1 :) - that's what I been trying to tell him all along
     
  25. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 16, 2010
    #25
    no im not completely missing the point, i have started from scratch 4 different times now...meaning, wiping all partitions, creating the new partition mac OSX extended journaled(i think thats hfs+) / GUID and running a clean install of SL. I have tried a single partition, as well as 2 partitions of roughly equal size with no change in symptoms. I have even pulled the drive, formated in an external case on a different mac & put back into mine for a fresh install....im not an idiot, I understand & have tried everything suggested and I am extremely confident the problem does not lay in the way I have it partitioned. FYI the most current attempt is a single mac osx extended journaled / GUID

    im obviously not communicating my problem very effectively, so let me try from a different point of view:

    One of the symptoms that goes with this is the "? file folder" on boot --- i played around will reseting ram and smc as well as various boot options. Quite often, when I hold opt at boot to get to the bootloader, the drive is not present. To me this indicates a problem at a very low level in the boot sequence, before OSX loads. Now I grew up working on pc's & if this was a PC i would say "the bios is not recognizing the hard drive, but the hard drive is ok" Now I understand apple doesn't use a bios, but an EFI which I know very little about. so thats all fact/observation, the rest is just my theory:

    -i mentioned earlier that when apple service my computer they replaced the logic board with what appears to be a revC board (to my revA mba)

    -yet the model ID in system profiler still indicates revA

    -ive tried flashing the firmware with the files from apple and they say "this computer does not need this update"

    --so what I am thinking is there is something wrong with the EFI (either its an old version, or corrupt--if thats possible?) since the replacement logic board is a revC(thats printed on the board itself, it should have the revC firmware, but since the model ID still indicates its a revA it wont allow the revC version to run. The revA says the same thing, because its up to date.....

    so essentially Ive got a revC board running, revA firmware (or corrupt revC firmware), which sounds like the sort of thing that could cause my problems. Its just a theory, but maybe that will help explain some of my problems better.



    ps: i have also run the apple hardware test which detected no problems.
    and i had done some xbench tests, i dont have the exact results, but they were comparable to other people with ssd's
     

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