Spinning Beachball during File>Open

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by peck2000, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. peck2000 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #1
    Here's a weird problem. Whenever I try to open a file via File>Open everything is fine until I click on the file I actually want to open. Then the Mac goes into "Spinning Beachball" mode for three to five minutes before the dialogue becomes active and lets me select the file to open.

    This has been happening only for the last month or so. Before that the machine was fine and I haven't added any software or made any hardware changes that might have triggered this effect.

    This happens every time regardless of what application I'm in, the size of the file I want to open, or if I'm trying to attach a file to an email.

    Worried that my Hard drive was about to fail, I bought a new internal hard drive, fitted it in my machine, installed OSX.4.7, restarted the machine from the new system and, guess what? Same thing! So it's not a hard drive or System problem, I'm deducing.

    Regardless, I tried running MacJanitor, but that didn't seem to help either.

    Then, a work colleague suggested that bad RAM might be the culprit, so I went through the process of removing one RAM module at a time and testing for the problem. I got the same problem with each of the RAM modules removed in turn.

    So now I'm all out of ideas. I think I've ruled out hard drive problems, faulty RAM and corrupt OS. I can't think what else could be causing this. Maybe it's time to buyt a new machine ...

    Anyone have any suggestions on how I could cure this?
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    When you installed the OS on the new drive, how'd you get your data and preferences back on it? Depending on your method, it may be a problem within your Home folder that carried over with the new install.
     
  3. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #3
    Spinning Beachball during File>Open

    Good thought, but no cigar :)

    The OS on the new drive was a clean, virgin version. I carried no Prefs (or any data at all) over from the previous drive. I was aware that there could be corrupt nasties on the old OS, so simply installed OSX on the new drive then tried to open a text file in TextEdit by going File>Open ... same Whirling Beachball!

    This is why I'm thinking this can't be an OS problem. It must be hardware, but I can't figure out what. Unless it's something heavy, like the motherboard or the bus failing in some way (if that's possible) ...

    [The only thing I didn't mention in my post is that my machine had three internal hard drives and by adding the new one, it brought it up to four. However, it was working fine with three then, even after the trouble started and I added the fourth, it didn't make the problem any worse! The Mac works just fine in all other respects. It's just the issue with the File>Open command, which also manifests when I try to attach files to email or anything else that involves finding a file - any file - through a dialogue box: eg, the "Place" command for adding a bitmap image to an Illustrator document.]
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #4
    Okay, how long did you leave each RAM chip out when you were testing it? :)
     
  5. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #5
    Spinning Beachball on File>Open

    Well, I shut the machine down, took out a RAM chip, closed up the case then restarted the machine. I then did the File>Open test and came up against the Spinning Beachball of Death. That took a few minutes (say, five or so) to clear before I could open the selected file. I was then able to quit TextEdit, then shut the machine down before repeating the process for the next RAM chip.

    Should I have used a different procedure?
     
  6. mustard macrumors 6502a

    mustard

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Location:
    NJ
    #6
    Do you have any external devices connected? In particular an external HDD that may be going south and taking forever to spin up.
     
  7. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #7
    I do have some external devices. There's a 320Gb USB2 hard drive which is only a few months old and hardly used. There's a USB scanner, a Firewire DVD burner and an Ethernet printer.

    I'll try restarting the machine with these disconnected (one-by-one, obviously) and see whether that makes any difference ...

    Thanks for pointing that out!
     
  8. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #8
    Spinning Beachball on File>Open

    I've just remembered another piece of info that might be of help ... The other thing that sets of the Spinning Beachball is if I try to do an Find File (Apple-F) in the Finder. The last time I tried this action the Beachball came and stayed, and stayed, and stayed ... Relaunching Finder didn't work and I had to force a shutdown and restart the machine ...
     
  9. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #9
    THANK YOU for this hint. When I first read it I thought that my 320Gb LaCie hard drive might be the culprit, even though I've only had it a few months. But that didn't make any difference. So I started looking for something else to unmount. I had a USB Flash Drive on the machine. I unmounted that and ... BINGO! The problem went away. Mount the Drive again and (not immediately, but after a while) the problem comes back.

    So this answers the question I was going to raise next: "When you go File>Open, attach a file to an email or place a bitmap image in an Illustrator doc, does the OS poll every drive on the system, even though you're only targeting one particular drive in the dialogue box."

    The answer would appear to be a resounding "YES!" and one that I will be sure to remember next time I encounter a baffling problem like this one.

    BTW: I've tested the Flash Drive with Disk Utility and it seems to check out okay. But there's clearly something wrong with it. Something that's manifested in just the last four weeks or so (it was always okay before) I'd be interested to hear if anyone has come across this behavious with Flash Drives before and if so what can be done. Apart from the obvious, reformat and restore ... :)
     

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