MacBook Keeps Freezing or Restarting Randomly - Even After Weeks of Attempted Fixes

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by SaltieDude, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    Hi Forum,

    This is my first post, but far from my first time reading fixes, advice, suggestions, etc on here. So, I know this community is great. I will try to make this as clear and detailed as possible. I just broke my ankle and AppleCare has run out anyway, so figuring this out from home (and not from the Genius Bar) is almost a necessity. I also have a Mac Pro that I use for video and photo editing, but I need to work on the fly / in coffee shops, etc, so my laptop is very important. I hope I can fix this!

    The Symptoms:
    My MacBook is freezing, restarting, or showing me the grey screen that says "You need to shut the computer down, press the power button... etc" randomly. It does not ever just shut down. The symptoms will happen no matter what programs I am running. The freezing happens the most often, occurring several times a day. The grey screen and the restarting are also frequent, but are not my computer's first choice to frustrate me. Some days are worse than others, which just confuses me further. I have made it a full day without a freeze and have also had it freeze every few minutes for hours.

    My System:
    I am using a 2007 Black MacBook. After my apple care ran out, I installed a new harddrive and ram myself. This was over a year ago and has been working great. I am running Snow Leopard. "OSX Version 10.6.4". Here is what my about this mac says:
    Model Name: MacBook
    Model Identifier: MacBook1,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core Duo
    Processor Speed: 2 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 2 MB
    Memory: 2 GB
    Bus Speed: 667 MHz

    Fixes I Have Tried To No Avail / Theories:
    - I tried resetting the PRAM by restarting and holding Command, Option, P & R.
    - I have run my Software Update. The first few times, the blue progress bar would begin but not move says "Checking for new Software". But now it works, gave me updates and currently says I am up to date.
    - I have Repaired Disk Permissions (multiple times, it currently says all permissions are verified.
    - I have used Disk Utility to verify my disk. It told me I needed to repair it, so I have booted from the Snow Leopard Disk and Repaired my Disk (**I had to do this more than once, so this may show a problem). It currently says my disk is verified.
    - I thought maybe this was a hardware issue. So I tracked down the original grey disks that came with the computer and ran the Hardware Test by pressing D during the boot. I tried more than once. The first time, I think it froze during the hardware test. The next few times, I ran the extended test and it passed every time.
    - I also thought it seemed to happen more frequently using an internet browser, but has happened running just Word and having me lose everything multiple times. It is possible I just think it happens more when running browsers because that is what I do the most on this thing. I have tried running different browsers and have had freezes still.
    - I thought maybe it was overheating, because very often when it freezes, the bottom is extremely hot on the upper left side (the side opposite the escape key). Unfortunately, I have had it freeze and not be very hot at all. This is still a possibility though.
    - I have tried removing the battery and trying again the next day. It sill freezes.
    - The weird news is that after doing all these things, It seems to freeze less often. But it still freezes.
    - I know I have already tried other things that are not coming up here, so I will add if I can think of them.

    I hope this was specific enough! Please help! I appreciate all of your time.
  2. macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Sorry to hear about your ankle, I guess you won't be using the MacBook Pro for portability at the moment considering that ;)

    But the next step, unfortunately is to format and reinstall Mac OS X from your original install discs (or did I miss this when reading through your list?)

    Do you have a backup?
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    Thanks. My other computer is a Mac Pro desktop, those huge ones! It is also up another flight of stairs...

    As for the reinstall. That is a bummer. I have a few questions:
    - I have backed up almost everything to my external harddrive. I did not use time machine, but instead just backed up folders of things I need. This does not backup any programs, bookmarks on browsers, etc.
    - Should I go the way of Time Machine? Or would that recreate my problems?
    - If I reinstall from the grey disks, I will have tiger again. Should I just reinstall from the Snow Leopard disks?
    - Are there any other tests I can run before doing this?

    Thanks for your response!
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
  5. macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2003
    I was just about to say that. :)

    Make sure you're not blocking any of the vents for the MB. Don't use it while it sits on plush carpet, soft bedspreads, or anything else it can sink into. I think some MBs also vent through the keyboard, so don't cover that with anything, either.

    Also, consider getting some canned air and carefully blowing the vents, to get hair and dust out. (You need to make sure the can is upright and hasn't been shaken, because you don't want the liquid getting sprayed in)

    Are you hearing the fan start/stop before it panics? There may be a fan issue. (Apple replaced mine while it was still in warranty.)

    So many possibilities :\

    p.s. my black MacBook recently bit the dust completely. So I feel for ya. (I wonder how many of the black ones still work?) I'm going to take it in next week.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    Do you really thing it is overheating?? It could be. The Black Macbook only has vents where it attaches to the screen. I have nothing covering the keyboard. The only thing is, it had frozen while not being very hot. Other times it has been hot. But just today it froze and was relatively cold. It has also frozen on all different surfaces. I will spray it out with compressed air & looks for differences. Thanks for the suggestions! Is there a way to know if it is an overheating problem??
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    Sorry. Also, I hear no fan change when it freezes. The freezing seems to be random. I have listened for the fan or other sounds and it makes nothing. I actually hardly hear my fan at all most times. Maybe it isn't doing its job.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2003
    Well, it could also be that the hard drive is coming loose from the contacts, and so you might take off the l-bracket and push on the drive a bit. Or that your ram is coming loose, so while that bracket's off you might push on those gently, too. I'm mentioning these because you say you replaced them yourself earlier. Really don't know. But random panics indicate a hardware issue of some kind, and I look for heat as the first cause of those.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    It's the fan that it's shot. Replace it asap. Or else you may end up with a nice doorstep. ifiixt sells them

    edit: and since your at it, you could replace the thermal paste. Blackbooks usually have excessive thermal paste (sloppy job)
  10. Pax
    macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2003
    If you download iStat Pro (free) and post a screenshot on here we can see temperatures and fan speeds and do some diagnosis of whether you really do have a temperature or fan problem. Do this when your computer is idle, ie no programs running at all.

    A common cause of kernel panics ("you need to restart...") is badly seated RAM. The connectors can get crud on them, which can make intermittent contact and confuse the computer. Overheating may make this worse. The solution sometimes is to unplug the RAM and re-insert it. This cleans the connectors etc.

    Suggest re-seating your RAM, and posting iStat Pro results on here. Both easier than re-installing the OS which is a hassle (but still might be necessary later).
  11. ahm
    macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Even though you replaced your RAM a year ago, maybe it's causing the problems.

    Run Activity Monitor while you're using the computer, check the Page Ins and Page Outs. Try to keep that part visible under your other windows at all times, so when it freezes, you can see how high the Page Outs got. Page Outs should not be significantly larger than Page Ins.

    Also, look in System Profiler > Memory, check the status of your RAM modules, as well as checking Diagnostics: Power On Self-Test.

    I had an iMac once that had RAM replaced within a year, but experienced frequent kernel panics. I checked the above and found that I had massive Page Outs, and the Power On Self-Test said, "failed".

    I also had an early Macbook (Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo) with a bad RAM slot. I had to buy a single 2GB module because the computer was unstable when I used both.

    So, maybe if you have some extra RAM lying around, try replacing it.

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