Mac dying - started with icons - HELP

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by MacDawg, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #1
    Hey guys... this is my VERY FIRST post. I have been a long time reader and have gained a lot of help from reading the posts here. But now I really need your help.

    My iMac is slowly dying. [800MHz 17inch iMac w/ 512 MB RAM 10.2.8]

    It started with my desktop icons... I could not drag them at all. Then when I clicked on the dock, the icon I clicked would go generic. Now most all of my icons are generic in the finder in all folders.

    Next, I can't get system preferences to come up, and I can't get iDisk to work, or Virex. Now iTunes won't see my iPod.

    There's more, some files I double click (like .sit and .dmg) tell me that there is no default application selected to open the file.

    Sometimes I hang completely and I cannot even force quit anything.

    I have restarted repeatedly. I have forced quit the finder. I have repaired my permissions to no avail. In fact, I have done so several times, and each time it finds something else to repair. I have zapped my PRAM, I have used Xupport to empty my caches.

    Any helpful suggestion is greatly appreciated. I am beginning to realize that I will probably have to reinstall the OS, which I am dreading. I will need some help with this. I used to do all of this sort of thing with my old SE/SE30/MacII and even my old Clone with system 7 and 8, but with OSX and my iMac I have become lazy and spoiled.

    If I choose to reinstall, can I use my iPod to back up my files? If so, how?

    Can I use the backup utility to backup everything from all users at once?

    If I install the OS from my CDs, will I have to reinstall everything, all apps and docs?

    Should I bite the bullet and install Panther now?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give to me...
    Oh, by the way, I have no experience with the terminal, but I'm willing to try anything!

    Thanks!
     
  2. HexMonkey Administrator

    HexMonkey

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    #2
    Just to clarify, is this problem occuring with all users or just one? If it's just one, then it will be relatively easy to fix.
    Another thing you could try if you haven't already is to boot from the install disc, open Disk Utility and repair the disk.

    And to answer one of your questions, reinstalling the OS doesn't necessary erase your data. When you reinstall, there are two options: Erase and install (clean install) and archive and install. Archive and install moves your old system files and then does an install, so you don't lose any data and you have an old system to revert to if things go wrong. The disadvantage of this method though, is that if there were previously problems with the disk or with a user, those problems will remain there.
     
  3. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #3
    All Users

    Yes, it affects all users. I meant to state that in my original post but forgot. I will try your suggestion about using the install disc to repair. Thanks.
     
  4. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    Still no joy...

    Using Disk Utility to repair the disk from the CD had no effect.

    Any other suggestions?
     
  5. HexMonkey Administrator

    HexMonkey

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    #5
    It's not very likely to fix the problem, but try deleting/moving the Preferences Folder from /Library/ (Library at root level) and see if that helps. Otherwise if you have enough disk space try an archive and install, since you won't lose anything from doing so.
     
  6. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #6
    Old problems fixed... new problems now!

    Thanks!
    I did do an archive and install... and that seemed to fix most of the problems. I can drag icons, all icons are restored, I can access system prefs again, etc.

    However, I have had to download the updates to the system (from 10.2 which is what I had on CD to 10.2.8) Unfortunately, the update FAILS. I downloaded the update to the desktop as suggested by the Software Update app, but cannot run the installer. It does not install, and when I open from the menu, it gives me a blank shell. The same goes for trying to install my printer drivers. So, it is now my ability to install that is a problem.

    Any suggestions about that?
    Thanks!
     
  7. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #7
    Previous Systems folder

    Also, since I did an archive and install... what good is the Previous Systems folder? Can I just delete it once I have a good system working?
     
  8. HexMonkey Administrator

    HexMonkey

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    #8
    It's relatively safe to delete it, but I generally keep it for a while. A few applications (not many) install things in the system, so when you do an archive and install they no longer work without reinstalling the application. Eg when I upgraded to Panther with an archive and install, World Book no longer worked until I copied some files from the old system.

    Try repairing permissions if you haven't already, otherwise I'm not sure.
     
  9. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #9


    Thanks... I did do that (again) <smile> but with no luck. I'm searching the forum now to see if I can find out anything else about this problem. I really appreciate all of your suggestions. You have been very helpful. Thanks! If you think of something else, let me know.

    So, if I upgrade to Panther, I can do an archive and install too? I have hesitated because I didn't want to do a complete install.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. HexMonkey Administrator

    HexMonkey

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    #10
    Yes, there's three options for the upgrade: Clean install, archive and install and upgrade. Upgrade just modifies the current system, but can cause a lot of problems (especially if haxies were installed in the old system), although it will usually work fine with no problems. IMO archive and install is the right balance between ease and stability.

    Good luck with the installation problems. :)
     
  11. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    #11
    Sounds to me like your Desktop items and your icons didn't just go wack...sounds more like some beta software/application you installed on your machine (probably a core system/interface hacking utility) went down south on you. All the crap you're experiencing now is the result what can happen from not knowing exactly what you're doing with a selection of software, especially if it isn't bug-free.

    What updates are you trying to run? Are you trying to install all the little 10.2.x updates (emphasis on the "x" incrementing by one for each update) and the security updates in bulk? If you haven't tried already, download and install the 10.2.8 Combo update, then worry about the security updates.

    But given the circumstances as they are, consider a complete Hard Drive erase and install in the near future (for 2 or 3 months from now), since the problems from the "down-south" beta software/hacking utility might have carried over to the new "System" folder. When you go to do so, back up all your data, including fonts, emails, bookmarks, vCards, personal files, software packages (so you don't have to redownload them all over again), and preferences (huge time saver). When you do decide to do a complete erase and install, stick with one partition, and install Jaguar again (or Panther, if you want back an extra 9 seconds to start-up your computer, as well as TextEdit to open Word files).
     
  12. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #12
    Nope... no beta software or hacks here... and no new software of any kind installed in many months. I am very particular about such things. That's why there are no games or 3rd party hacks on this machine. No recent downloads of any kind either.


    I was trying to use Software Update to download the 10.2.8 Combo after an archive and install from 10.2
     
  13. Sheebahawk macrumors member

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    #13
    id like to help

    best advice I can give is, uhm install panther. id bet 150 bucks that itll fix your problems
     
  14. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #14
    a slow agonizing death

    I am resolved to do a clean install of either jaguar or panther, probably panther, but my problem now is backing up data. I cannot get my iPod to mount on the desktop anymore. It started acting quirky and I began a backup on it and it hung up with the beachball. Now I cannot get it recognized at all. I have reset it, restored it, and now the updater won't even recognize that it is connected. I guess my next choice is CDs, but with my luck that will go badly as well now. The frustration grows. Everything I attempt to do seems to make things worse. I feel like I'm on Apollo 13 and I'm trying to save everything before the power goes off and I lose it all. All systems seem to be shutting down on me, and my ways of escape are rapidly dwindling.
     
  15. King Cobra macrumors 603

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    Mar 2, 2002
    #15
    Software Update is a P.O.S. Download directly off the Apple website www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple for updates, not from Software Update.

    A "clean install" is the formal name given to the Archive and Install you did already.

    And never use your iPod for backing up all your personal data like that. You are highly likely to have I/O problems, since the iPod isn't a fully stable device for Hard Drive storage. (And I know well the experiences...even since 10.1.x, my 5GB iPod has had these problems) Grab a second Hard Drive and transfer your important files there. Or, if you have a second computer with plenty of storage space, run TDM to it and store your files there.

    Other last resorts:
    Jazz/Zip disks, Superdisks, DVD-RWs, CD-RWs, somebody else to store your data for you
     
  16. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #16
    the saga continues...

    Tried that too... to no avail

    I purchased Panther and tried to do an upgrade... and you guessed it, it failed (I know, I know... erase and install).

    I bought DVD-Rs to back up my data, and used Backup. It said that there was something wrong with the disk, and every disk I put in.

    I am currently in the process of attempting to burn a DVD-R from the finder. So far, so good, but if that fails, I suppose I could purchase a firewire drive, but I have no confidence that it will recognize it now.

    The bad thing now is that I have to go out of town for a week, without finishing this task. That is why I was trying to get it done over the weekend. It sure does take a long time to burn a DVD-R, even from the finder!

    I am hoping to get the DVDs to burn from the finder, get everything backed up and do an erase and install of Panther. I will be a happy camper when I get done.
     
  17. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

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    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #17
    I'm a Mac tech for my job and my advice is to stop beating your head against the wall and wipe the drive and start over. Figure out a way to back stuff up. Connect to another computer. Burn some CDs. Whatever. Once you have done that, boot the machine from a Panther disk. Do not run the OS X Installer. Instead, choose Disk Utility from the top left. Choose your HD and erase it. Now install Panther.

    Just curious, no chance you might have ran Repaired Permissions on Jaguar with a Panther CD or vice versa? Doing that can cause problems like you have mentioned.
     
  18. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #18
    No, I only purchased Panther after the fact. I am in the process of backing up all data now (thankfully). I am able to burn DVD/CDs from the finder for now, but it just takes forever with the DVDs, but I am thankful it is working! Once that is completed, I will do an erase and install of Panther.

    I know it is what I should have done from the beginning, but I am used to my Mac always working and PCs going bust instead. I've only had this much trouble once in all my years with a Mac, going all the way back to my first SE. I'm always careful about what I install, and I keep things clean and simple with very, very few 3rd party anythings, and no games.

    I guess its human nature to always look for the easy way out. Erase and install while effective was the last resort because of the hassle factor.

    But, the good news is that I think I have turned the corner finally, and I'm on the way to recovery. For a while everything I was doing was making things worse and uncovering more problems. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now, it is just going to take some time to get everything backed up. After that I should be home free.
     
  19. windowsblowsass macrumors 6502a

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    pa
    #19
    by clean install he doesnt mean archive he means a clean install of the os ie wipe the disk reinstall the os
     
  20. MacBoyX macrumors 6502

    MacBoyX

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    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    #20
    MacDawg,

    Where are you in the world, my hard drive goes out to you. I would be happy to help if you are near by! I have plenty of extra Firewire drives etc around, I charge my clients for PC fixes and use them to buy stuff to help my Mac friends, i am in the SE Pennsylvania area, or at minimum perhaps I can offer some iChat/Phone help.

    I hope all goes well. Feel free to email/chat etc.

    macboyX
     
  21. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #21
    Resolution

    Ok, just for the sake of completeness... and for future generations to contemplate... here is the resolution to my problem.

    I was able to back up all of my data on DVDs and CDs [note to self: it would be more cost effective to purchase a firewire drive!] I did not lose any data.

    I did an erase and install of Panther and restored all of my data. Some programs had to be reinstalled and it was a pain to get all of my stuff back to normal, but it is finished now, and everything is working smoothly. [note: Panther seems snappier to me than Jaguar]

    My iPod was a different matter. It was funky before, and after the Panther install. [not mounting or being recognized by iTunes, hanging iTunes, etc.] I did all of the usual suggestions to no avail. I ended up taking it to the Apple Store to the Genius bar, and they determined the drive itself was bad and gave me a new iPod on the spot (it was a month old). My new iPod is working flawlessly at the moment.

    Sooooo... all is well tonight! And its a good thing because I have to go on the road again, and I missed my iPod last trip.

    Thanks for all of the support and suggestions along the way.
     

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