2009 macbook pro slowed to a crawl

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Luis Ortega, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    My wife's 2009 13 inch macbook pro has been almost unusable lately.
    It takes a long time to do anything, open software, and it refuses to open safari- it hangs forever at the spinning beachball and eventually responds to a force quit after many minutes.

    Her hard drive is only 1/4 filled and she is not trying to run multiple programs at once.
    I have tried all of the typical stuff like flushing caches, resetting pram and even upgraded to yosemite but nothing helps.
    I'm worried that if we do something like upgrade the 5400 rpm hdd to an ssd, and that is not the problem, it will be money wasted.
    Could it be a memory defect or memory leak? Would cloning the drive and copying the clone back again help to defrag it and improve performance?

    The one odd problem is that safari won't open at all, and we tried uninstalling it and reinstalling it before we upgraded to yosemite without any luck before or after the osx upgrade. It won't even open so that we can try to reset safari or export her bookmarks.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here

    you might try this :

    1. install and run "Maintenance" (same developer as Onyx), use the default options.
    Maintenance will check the disk, repair the permissions, etc....

    Then see if things run better.

    2. do an Apple Hardware Test.
  3. Luis Ortega thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    Thanks. I already use Onyx and it seems to do the same things an Maintenance.
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Sounds like a dying hard drive to me.
  5. liya1201 macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2010
    Have you tried "Repair Disk" by Disk Utility? It can tell you if your HD is healthy.
  6. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    The hard drive is wearing out.

    If you don't want to get an SSD, try a 7200 RPM WD Black.
  7. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  8. Luis Ortega thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    She definitely wants to try an ssd if we can figure out if there's nothing else wrong with the machine.
    The problem with safari refusing to start is worrisome because it may be software related and another hdd wouldn't solve the problem then.

    I have a 2007 17 inch santa rosa mbp that is two years older than hers, but I put in a 480gb ssd and it still runs well, but it was more of a pro machine, with a discrete graphics card, so it may be able to handle graphics better than her integrated graphics on the 2009 unibody macbook pro and show better performance.
  9. goknicks macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2014
  10. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    If you have only 2GB RAM then that is your problem; add more RAM.
  11. Luis Ortega thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    It came with 4 GB of ram and a 256gb 5400rpm hdd, and it worked fine for the first 4 years, and the software on it hasn't changed except for the OSX versions.
    It came with Leopard and has been upgraded over the years to yosemite now, but the slowdown was not related to a particular osx upgrade.
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Just accept the fact that the hard drive is dying.

    Buy an SSD for it, problem solved.
  13. MacRobert10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    I wouldn't assume it's the hard drive. It's a good possibility but a performance problem can be caused by a lot of things.

    Are you running Yosemite? You might want to go to the App Store and read some of the reviews. I don't know if it's just hardware picky or not, but some people seem to be having terrible performance problems with it and others have none.

    Defragmentation wouldn't cause the types of problems you're describing.

    Using Disk Utility will not check the integrity of a drive or cables, it will check and verify that the index files are correct and match the files on the drive.

    The only application I know that can check drives and cables properly is Scannerz, which can also catch some logic board problems. Do a google, it's out there. Their site also has info about problems in their how to section. It might be of help.

    Possibly a system library has been deleted or become corrupt somehow. This could explain the inability of Safari to open properly, and if the system library is used by other apps, and they often are (which is why they're called shared libraries) the problems could be widespread and effect other applications as well. The library could be on a bad block on an HD or SSD, or it could have been deleted accidentally or overwritten somehow. You're not running cleaning programs are you?

    I wouldn't just go out and start throwing money at parts without finding the cause of the problem first.
  14. Luis Ortega thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    Thanks. I agree that we need to find the cause of the problem before spending a lot of money.
    I was looking at her console reports and I keep seeing a hard disk error along with a bunch of stuff that I don't understand.
  15. YahonMaizosz macrumors regular


    Nov 28, 2007
    I have almost the same issue like with your wife's MBP..
    Mine is the Early 2009 17" MBP Unibody with 320GB 5400rpm HDD..

    Since early this year (2014) my MBP is very slow to open any app and load any file..
    What's worse, if I were to hit preview on e .jpeg using "Spacebar" on finder, the desktop would froze for 5-8 seconds before showing me the preview of that particular .jpeg..

    Everything is slow on my 2009 MBP.. :(
    Even loading tabs on Safari and Firefox are slow.. :mad:

    Any guess on what is causing this problem? Could be a CPU/HDD issue?
  16. chaofahn macrumors member


    Jul 21, 2014
    I'm sure you guys would've had some people tell you to reformat your drive. It's an annoying solution but it's probably the best way to go if you're not looking to change hardware.

    I actually just did that today with my late 2009 17" MBP today and while not as fast as my 2014 high end 15", it's now working at a respectable speed. Looking at JPEGS, Powerpoints, PDFs and general internet-ing don't take as long as it did pre-reformatting, perfect for giving it to my dad.
  17. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    I use Scannerz too, and their procedures for attempting to repair a drive are extremely cautious. They have you reformat the entire drive with Disk Utility using the security option to zero out all blocks/sectors which forces the drive controller to remap them. The one caveat is that if the damage is so bad that you run out of spares you will not be able to format your drive and you will not be able to re-install the OS on it again, which means you have no option but to replace the drive. This is one of the reasons people buy something like Scannerz - to find out if damage is occurring before it's too late. You can easily tell just looking at the test results if there's a problem and how bad it is. If it's just a few blocks, it's repairable. If it's tons of blocks from a head crash (like hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes of damaged sectors) the drive is basically unrepairable.

    At this point, the odds are pretty reasonable that it's too late...it's a crap shoot, like 50/50 chance a reformat will succeed, but I think that's probably the only choice.

    I assume the errors you're getting are indicating I/O errors?

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