Overloaded Desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by CommonMan, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. CommonMan macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #1
    Big Problem. Mac is spinning it's wheels - the beach ball just spins everytime I try to do anything. This happened after I mistakingly moved about 1 Gb of files to the desk top. So, I think this overloaded the RAM or something. I can't move or delete the files off the desktop because everytime I even try to move the mouse, the beachball just starts turning. Basically, it's frozen. I'm now using my PC since the Mac is out of commission.:(

    One friend suggested I boot to the hard drive from a disk but that's too complicated for me: I would have to then do DOS like commands to rectify the situation. Besides, if I booted to the HD, would I not just activate the OS and the problem would start all over. My wife is mad for sure because she liked the MAC and now, we may be back to a PC for a while.
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    Try avoiding the GUI.

    Open Terminal.app and type in the following commands:

    Code:
    cd ~/Desktop
    mkdir Folder
    mv * Folder/
    This should take all the files on your desktop and move them to a new folder on the Desktop called "Folder".

    Alternatively, you might try logging in under a different username, particularly if you have a separate admin account from your main user account.

    B
     
  3. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #3
    Thanks
     
  4. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #4
    GUI = Graphical User Interface. It is the stuff you see when you use the computer visually e.g. selecting files with the mouse, dragging and dropping etc.

    Terminal.app is one of the applications installed on the computer by default. Go to Applications -> Utilities and select Terminal.
     
  5. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #5
    applications

    I would try going to applications, etc. but the computer won't allow me to do anything. Any mouse click or entry by keyboard just results in the spinning beach ball. Also, how can I avoid the Graphic User Interface? Is there some way of booting up the computer so I can do what you recommend?
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
  7. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #7
    Have you tried relaunching the finder? (option+apple+escape to get to force quit window) Or just restarting the system manually?
     
  8. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #8
  9. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #9
    I will try this. It sounds like the "control - alt - delete" function on a PC.
     
  10. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #10
    I was able to get into the "non graphic interface mode" by holding down Command –S while booting. I then typed in the commands (Unix?) that you recommended.

    This did not work as I got responses like "no such directory exists." I'm afraid I'm over my head on this.

    The only thing I was successful at was getting a "blank prompt" or >.

    There was something coming up at the prompt that made no sense to me. I put in something like C:\ and then got what I would call a blank prompt.

    I might be able to get something to work if this was a PC and I had to write DOS commands. But, I've only had a Mac for a short time. I guess one thing I learned by this whole experience is that Unix is analogous to dos?

    I would need a guide so I can work in this non-graphic mode. Can anyone direct me to such a guide?
     
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    You have to mount the file system as writable first. And the invoked shell in Single User Mode doesn't know who ~ is. But to accomplish this you need to know what your short username is.

    Boot in Single User Mode, then:

    mount -uw /
    cd /Users
    ls

    (ls will list the contents of the /Users directory, in it will be the short username of your account, which you should be able to easily identify, continue...)
    cd shortusername/Desktop
    (where "shortusername" is the short username of your account, continue...)
    mkdir MovedJunk
    mv * MovedJunk

    (ignore the error, wait until the prompt comes back, continue...)
    reboot

    Now you should be able to get back to normal. Everything will be moved to a folder called MovedJunk on your Desktop.

    FYI, DOS is similar to UNIX, as UNIX is significantly older.

    Here is a tutorial for the Darwin portion of OS X:

    http://osxfaq.com/Tutorials/LearningCenter/index.ws
     
  12. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #12
    Does anybody think going into the command line might be overkill for this problem? Have you tried other basic steps first? (ie shutting it off and just booting it?)
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    Ah the favorite Windows troubleshooting method! I don't know what the problem is or how to fix it, but let's see if rebooting does the trick.

    Anyhow, I loves me some overkill. Keeps problems dead. ;)

    B
     
  14. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #14
    :)

    But seriously.. it might just be a runaway finder that needs to be relaunched. And if he can't get to Activity Monitor or force quit, might as well just force restart. I've never had to hit up the command line in all my years on macs. This idea of moving all the files to another folder seems odd to me, since the desktop is just a folder itself.
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #15
    ;) Ah, perhaps it's that you don't know one of Finder's dirty little secrets....

    Each item (icon) on the desktop is treated as a separate window and thus if you put lots of files (size doesn't matter, only number) on the desktop Finder can easily go gaga. Coalescing them all into a single folder would eliminate the plethora of windows Finder has to deal with and should allow you to regain control. (Unless something else is wrong with it of course.)

    B
     
  16. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #16
    If the problem persists as long as the Finder is open, as I suspect is the case (I've accidentally dumped lots of files on the Desktop too, it's not fun), a restart won't matter. Luckily if you force quit the Finder everything else should still function. It's too bad the OP doesn't have Tiger or they could easily use Spotlight to launch the Terminal and run the commands balamw suggested.

    Perhaps the simplest non-CLI method would be to open System Preferences and create a new Admin user account. Logging in with this new account you could navigate to the other user's Desktop folder, give yourself the proper permissions, and dump all the files into a new folder.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #17
    I did suggest using an alternate account in the first response. ;) Doesn't sound like the system is responsive enough to be able to create one at this point though....

    IMHO you should always create an alternate/failsafe/backup account on every computer... Makes recovery far easier when user settings get b0rked up.

    B
     
  18. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #18
    Oops, yeah. :D But still, this is a Finder issue, so I assume that if the Finder is ignored or Force Quit the rest of the system can still be used like normal, including System Preferences and logging out. If that's not the case and the whole system is unresponsive, then I'm not sure how easy this would be.

    Best case scenario would be 1) no auto-login and 2) existing alternate user account.
     
  19. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #19
    No, I didn't know that. I have literally 100+ files on my desktop. Maybe I should clean up around here.

    But- maybe an archive and install off the OS X disk be a 'novice user' way out of this problem?
     
  20. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #20
    Multiple that by 10 and you start getting Finder slowness.

    No, I think it's much harder for a n00b to recover from a complete A&I (no user data saved), as they won't have a clue what to move back to their new install.
     
  21. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #21
    To Yellow

    Yellow, I think your solution may work. But, it may be too late. I took the G3 into a shop where the guys there said the only thing they could do was to re-load OS-10.3. Of course this is not good for the obvious reason that everything no backed up on the external HD will be lost.

    In addition, writting these commands you recommend is maybe beyond my pea brain. I think I could do it but if anything happens that is not exactly the way you planned, I would be lost.

    What is "the Darwin portion of OS X?" Is this the code you are using?
     
  22. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #22
    Like I posted above, just have these guys help you reinstall. You won't lose any of your stuff. Ask them to do an 'archive and install', then have them help you move all your stuff from the archived version into your new, clean OS. It will be simple for them to do.
     
  23. CommonMan thread starter macrumors regular

    CommonMan

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    Midwest
    #23
    Wow

    I'm going to kill some trees and print all this out. In the time since I've posted the original thread, I took the G3 into a shop. The guys there only offered to solve the problem by re-loading the operating system. I first thought "whatever" and told them Okay. Then, I got my mind back and thought, "why am I putting any money into this thing. The processor is a dinasour. I'd be better off just putting the money towards a G4 (which I later did). So, I called these jokers up and was unable to get a hold of them so I left a message. About a week later, I went by to talk to them since I was unable to reach them by phone. The guy told me he was unable to re-load the operating system and they thought it must be a hardware problem, most likely in the memory. I told them i did not understand this coincidence since the problem originated when I dumped too many files onto the desk top. That's when the computer froze up.
    I paid them $40 and got the computer back and it's now sitting in my basement. I'm writing this on my new G4, which, so far (knock on wood) works great!
    But, I just wanted to report in and say thanks to all of you who contributed to this thread. When I have some time, I may apply some of the solutions and try to get the G3 running again. Until then, I must review this thread and think things over. In any case, happy new year! It has snowed here and is very slick out so we are just staying in and watching movies.
     
  24. EmmaNicole macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    #24
    I just want to add a solution that worked for me when I inadvertently moved 1346 jpgs to my finder and froze it.

    If you have a second computer or someone who can connect to the frozen desktop from another computer, do so. For some reason the networked computer can view the 1st computers frozen desktop, including the moved 1346 - in my case - files (in list form is best). You can then make a new folder on the 1st computers desktop, move all files and then restart the 1st frozen comp. Worked for me! Whew!
     

Share This Page