2010 Mac Pro - Hard Drive Noise and slow bootup

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by packsherpah, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. packsherpah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    #1
    Hello All,

    Over the last few weeks I have noticed some strange behavior that is really bugging me when using my Mac Pro. Its particularly annoying now that is has my attention. The stock hard drive in the system (WDC Black 1TB), which I use at the boot drive (I have not taken the SSD plunge yet) is quite noisy after I get to the desktop portion of my boot sequence. It then continues to whir and spin for way longer than I think it should to get the system into a solid usable state. Let me be more specific.

    I push the power button on my Mac.... I get to the logon screen pretty quickly and while the system sits there and waits for me to logon, its dead quiet, hard drive isn't spinning at all. Then I log in... and the desktop starts loading. At this point the hard drive starts spinning and is noticeably loud. Its not making clunking noises, it just sounds like SCSI drives used to. But the noise is not what bothers me, its that it keeps churning away for like 5 mins, which is an eternity and means that apps wont load up fast and snappy during that period. The system takes at least 5 minutes before the drive stops accessing and is fully ready for me to launch an app. If I get impatient and try to launch an app before the drive quiets down, the app will launch, but SLOWLY cause the hard drive is doing whatever the hell else its doing during that 5 min period. So I end up with a very powerful machine that I have to WAIT on just to launch a web browser. This 5k system should not require that type of patience for the desktop to load. I know its not a general hardware problem because the system renders and processes everything VERY quickly when the Hard drive is not the bottleneck. I also know the hard drive is not broken. It passes all the basic tests, SMART, surface scan, etc. I even disabled Spotlight for now, because i thought it was MDWORKER that was causing the problem, but to no avail, because it still keeps whirring for the 5 min period once it hits the desktop.

    What could be causing this? So kind of File or Mac DB corruption? Is this the type of thing Disk Warrior could fix or repair automatically? What advice or steps can I take at this point to fix this?

    One last data point. I use bootcamp on this system on the same 1 TB drive and when I boot the system into windows 7, is is lightning fast at the desktop loading portion and does not spin on for 5 mins using up the hard drive as a resource.

    Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #2
    You may have some login or startup processes going on that may have snuck into your system. Check in syst prefs/user accont for all login items. Then check in the macintosh drive under the startupitems, and launch daemons folderd and see what is in there. Try cutting a few login/startup/launch items off at a time and see if you can narrow it down. Sounds like your system is performing some sort of startup background operation. Other than that if you can monitor all process during that timeframe to see what exactly is going on.
     
  3. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I'm willing to bet that if you run Activity Monitor as soon as you get to the desktop, you'll see the MDS process eating around 5% of processor, and as soon as the hard drive stops grinding, the MDS process jumps to 10-15%...

    It's Spotlight related, but I can't figure out why. I've only had my MacPro a couple if weeks so I don't know if it is related to recent OS X updates.
     
  4. jakesta2006 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    #4
    A quick google search brought me here. I am having the same exact problem, as well as also having Windows 7 boot perfectly normal on the other partition. Any other suggestions before I go through backing up and starting over with a fresh install?
     
  5. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    If your problem is related to the MDS process at OS X launch (check Activity Monitor as soon as you log in), then I found a solution in the Apple forums : add your BOOTCAMP partition to the privacy filter in the Spotlight pane in System Preferences, ie exclude the Windows partition from Spotlight indexing.

    Make sure the OS X partition is selected in the Startup Disk preference pane as well.

    Then reboot, with a sigh of relief if that is indeed the problem for you !
     
  6. Magaman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #6
    I too did some googling and found this thread. while i haven't seen a major issue when booting, one issue I have been having is slow read/writes to the primary drive. I'll notice this when doing simple task like web browsing all of a sudden I'll get the beach ball and nothing will load, I kept an eye on Activity Monitor and didn't see anything eating up the memory use or CPU but did notice really slow read/write speeds, and then the speeds would jump up and things would work fine.

    But this issue has really been visible moving large files around the drive, just dragging files off the desktop to a folder was real slow, Activity Monitor would show read/writes of 200-300 kbs, then all of a sudden jump to over 5 mbs and the file would move quick and normal.

    As I do have bootcamp on the drive I'm gonna give this fix a try and see what happens.
     
  7. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #7
    Keep us posted ! Something is up between bootcamp and Spotlight.
     
  8. Magaman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #8
    So after doing the above, and a quick test it seems to have helped. Firstly now when using spotlight my Applications actually come up. Next I tried moving some BIG file 10 gigs+ from my media drive to the primary and boy did it blaze right from the get go, same goes when copying the files back to my media drive. A lastly I tried moving big files surfing and other stuff and not a single issue.
    I also added my scratch drive to the list of blocked drives and the BootCamp partition. I'm pretty convinced the indexing was just taking over the hard drive and wouldn't stop right away when the drive was needed.
     
  9. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #9
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Glad that it helped... And you've convinced me to snoop into my bootcamp partition. I've been wondering why the 64GB partition is full up to 50GB with only 1 game installed, although there is no way for Spotlight to write to the NTFS partition, something is gobbling up the space.
     
  10. Magaman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #10
    So after a day of normal use where I would run into my issue, I'm happy to say I didn't for once. And the system seems a ton snappier. I also added my Scratch disks to the list not to index just to be safe as well. I have a feeling that the sheer number of folder and files within the Windows partition the indexing was just out of control, and if the drive is tied up it ain't going to respond. I actually need to try running some video through compressor and see if I notice any changes in performance as in hindsight I didn't notice encodes taking a bit longer after installing Bootcamp.
     
  11. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #11
    It wasn't Spotlight eating up my Bootcamp partition space, it was the Windows pagefile.sys & hiberfil.sys ... a whopping 28 GB !
     
  12. Magaman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #12
    I think you misunderstood, it's not Spotlight taking up space, Spotlight will start indexing at times, which will cause it to start seeking the drive, but for some reason it doesn't stop when you start needing to use the drive and you'll get slow load times or in my case the spinning beach ball, until the drive kicks in and starts doing the operations I'm trying to do.

    And a follow-up ran some video through compressor, noticeable performance difference!
     
  13. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #13
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Although I'm glad the spotlight trick helped you, I wasn't replying directly to your problem as that seemed fixed. I was just clarifying the fact that the spotlight "loop" wasn't eating up HDD space, it was stupid Windows system files (I don't need a 16GB pagefile.sys !!).

    All said and done I still don't know if the spotlight indexing bug was creating a larger database on the OS X boot drive, although adding the bootcamp partition to the privacy settings probably cleaned it up if ever a problem there was.
     

Share This Page