I know there are a couple of threads on this topic but I have not seen one that fits my problem. TL;DR Macbook a1342 running slow. Apple said it was RAM. I tested an external drive with SL and Lion. Worked fine. Took back to Apple, ran AHT, everything was fine (they said it was OS/software issue). Upgraded to Lion from Safe Mode; problem not solved. How to fix without losing data? END TL;DR My friends macbook (a1342 on OSX 10.6.x with 2gb ram) was booting super slow and when it eventually would fully boot, all the applications would take forever to run (especially chrome). She took it to Apple who said it was the RAM. But when I got it, I had Snow Leopard AND Lion on an external HDD (to which her computer booted to with no problems and loaded apps with no problem). At this point I was pretty sure it wasn't the RAM and instead, the HDD. We took it back to Apple and had them run the Apple Hardware Test. It came back negative - everything was perfectly fine and the employee concluded it was the OS. (So I no longer thought it was the HDD - which, by the way, was making NO noises or doing any of the "failing hdd" symptoms). (Keep in mind, her computer is barely booting). I finally managed to boot it into safe mode (restart holding shift) and it was going much faster but still slower than normal. I upgraded her to Lion (from safe mode) and figured if it was the OS (or a software problem), this would surely fix it. No avail. It was still running slow. I think Chrome may have had something to do with it, but the problem was really with every application (either never opening/not responding). I deleted Chrome and things got only marginally better. I installed ONYX and let that do it's thing. Does anyone have any suggestions? We are also trying to save all of her important information/files. I'm almost 100% that a clean install of SL or Lion would solve the problem, but we'd lose all the info. I can barely boot into the computer w/o safe mode, so I can't run a time machine back up (and super duper kept freezing when I tried to copy it that way). Plus, even with a clean install and transferring data from a backup, if it's some sort of software problem, wouldn't the problem be transferred as well? Any help is greatly appreciated.