Beachball or whatever.. Macs DO crash!

sbb155

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 15, 2005
495
5
I am in the market for a Mac, and I borrowed my friends 1.0 Ghz PB to test it out over the weekend. He has 512MB ram.

Although the machine didn't crash, I found many times (3-4x this weekend) when I would get that multi-color ball that would spin FOREVER until I shut the machine down by rebooting.

I am a little discouraged, because I have heard that Macs don't crash, but geez, I know it didn't crash, but it just HUNG....

Is this common? I am getting a little nervous about switching because of this.

The "hangs" came when I was playing music, playing with imovie, or playing movies. Would more ram prevent this? It also happened when opening up powerpoint files. Those were the 4 separate times.

My friend says that this is not a "crash" and I could go to the apple store and this would happen, and he said that the beachball thing was part of life with a mac.... I find this a little frustrating. Let me know, please.
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
how many apps were open? what else were you trying to do at the same time? etc.

i have an older iMac that I photoshop with, listen to tunes, and use adium at the same time and rarely 'beachball'
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
Maybe you weren't quitting applications properly. You get that kind of slowdown when you're out of RAM and the thing starts disk-swapping (painfully slow on a laptop drive). I know, I only have 256 now on my 12".

512MB is bare minimum as it is, if you weren't command+q'ing apps after you'd finished your RAM could get eaten up really quickly. Otherwise, run Activity Monitor and check what's eating your CPU cycles.
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
5
The times my G4 beachballs, I just force quit the application causing the problem and relaunch the Finder.
The restart the App. again, I don't think I've ever had to shut the computer down.
 

Artful Dodger

macrumors 68020
The last time that happened to me I repaired permissions and all was good. I also only had 256 ram at that time and since I max out my ram I haven't had 1 beachball. I've had itunes, photoshop, ichat and acquisition open and running all at the same time and its been fine :D That was on my 800 g4 emac with 1gig ram and just look at my sig. for the rest :rolleyes:
 

emotion

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2004
3,186
3
Manchester, UK
I find it's common for Windows users to leave all the apps they think they've shut down open.

I had 256MB in my 1.33ghz 12" pb and i got the occasional beachball and since the 512MB stick has gone in on top of that (couldn't afford the 1GB stick) i've not see a beachball.

hope that helps
 

vtprinz

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2004
395
0
emotion said:
I find it's common for Windows users to leave all the apps they think they've shut down open.
This is probably the culprit. I know when I first got my ibook two years ago (first mac) it took me a LONG time to get used to the way the apps close. Unlike a PC, closing all the windows of an app doesn't actually close out the app. It's a nice feature once you get used to it, as the next time you need that app you don't have to wait for it to boot up. But if you don't realize you have all of those apps open, it can drain the memory.

My ibook is an 800MHz G3 with 640MB RAM, and I don't see the beachball all that often. If it starts to hang like that, just force quit whatever application is stalling out, and everything should be fine. There's never really any reason to restart a mac, just restart the apps.
 

Artful Dodger

macrumors 68020
vtprinz
This is probably the culprit. I know when I first got my ibook two years ago (first mac) it took me a LONG time to get used to the way the apps close. Unlike a PC, closing all the windows of an app doesn't actually close out the app. It's a nice feature once you get used to it, as the next time you need that app you don't have to wait for it to boot up. But if you don't realize you have all of those apps open, it can drain the memory.
Good one, I use to do the same thing, never would have remembered that-then again I don't remember much about windows anyway :rolleyes: since I switched to a mac 4 yrs. ago.
 

Veldek

macrumors 68000
Mar 29, 2003
1,789
1
Germany
sbb155 said:
Although the machine didn't crash, I found many times (3-4x this weekend) when I would get that multi-color ball that would spin FOREVER until I shut the machine down by rebooting.
You normally don't need to shutdown. Just force quit the app. If even this doesn't work killing the process using Terminal almost amways helps. This way, it's just apps crashing, not the whole Mac.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
It still sounds a little odd even if some of the apps weren't closed properly.

Has your buddy done any system maintenance recently? Repairing permissions/checking the cron jobs have run? Macs don't take much maintenance but when things beachball for no reason, it might be time to have a look.

In general, no - and it's very easy to upgrade the RAM in it. I've got 1.25GB and I see the beachball so rarely that it's a surprise if it ever appears.
 

john1123

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2005
246
0
Down Under
i have an old G3 ibook (see sig) and i rarely get the beachball. maybe once or twice a week do i have to force relaunch finder.

as all the others have said it is important to repair permissions and run the maintenance scripts (they run automatically at 3:30 til 5:30 but only if your mac isn't shutdown or sleeping). a good utility to have is onyx - a free system maintenance app.
 

MacRy

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2004
4,267
5,066
England
Today was the first time that I have had to hit the power button to shut my iBook down because of the spinning beachball. It was my fault though as I had highlighted the contents of my Applications folder to back it up to DVD and accidently double clicked it.......after 60 Apps had loaded it got a bit unresponsive and I couldn't be arsed to wait for it all to settle down.

Usually no problems though to be honest. My 800MHz iBook will happily multitask.
 
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