Cannot clean install (Yosemite, Mavericks or Mountain Lion). Finder crashing.

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by d aguado, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. d aguado macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #1
    Greetings, I am a new user here and have searched the forums extensively for answers to my specific problems without luck. Apologies if this has already been addressed though.

    Having noticed a bit of a subjective slow down on my system (running the latest version of Yosemite, 10.10.4), I decided to back-up, erase the disk and do a clean install. This has worked well for me in the past as a way to slightly rejuvenate, and an excuse to organise my files better.

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    This is my system: MacBook 13 inch Late 2008 Aluminium. 2.4 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo. 4GB RAM DDR3. 250 GB Samsung 840 Series SSD. Yosemite 10.10.4

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    I tried to re-install using a Yosemite installer USB made through terminal (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372), from a brand new download from the app store, multiple times. Each time the install failed with '7 minutes remaining' (I have the log report if anyone wants to take a look).

    I tried to re-install using internet recovery (which for some reason also selected Yosemite, although I was led to believe this method would install the OS of the original Mac, whatever that was in 2008!) - also failed, with no log report.

    Thinking another OS may be a way back in, I tried to re-install using a Mavericks installer USB (also made through terminal, with a fresh download from the app store, same method as Yosemite), and this also failed.

    Each time prior to install I erased Macintosh HD, re-partitioned using GUID structure, repaired disk and permissions etc. through Disk Utility. Still, no luck.

    I took my Mac to a certified dealer who tried a clean install of Yosemite as well. He got to '6 minutes remaining' before the installer crashed. He then copied an image of his basic Yosemite installation to my disk (Macintosh HD) and this was successful. However, he noted that some tasks were a little slow, causing the 'beach ball' to pop up.

    I tried to copy my iTunes library (saved on my external Lacie USB2 drive) back to my system disk (into the default Music folder created by iTunes) with iTunes closed. However, these transfers repeatedly failed (even when I tried to copy just a few albums at a time, rather then the entire 150 GB library!), freezing the system with the beach ball spinning or just an unresponsive cursor. After safe booting, repairing disk and trying to copy data across again multiple times the system seemed to get increasingly slow, up to a point where it would crash (again with the beach ball) at the login screen (both in safe and normal mode). No doubt the multiple 'hard restarts' I was forced to do did not help the health of the system...

    When I was able to login and access the finder I tried deleting the 'Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist' item from 'user/home folder' and restarting - as mentioned as a fix on some forums. It made no difference for me.

    So, it seems my computer can now only function with a cloned image of someone else's Yosemite installation (I have made a copy to my external hard drive and can reinstall it when all else fails - which it has, repeatedly!), but it will not tolerate any sizeable writing of data to the SSD without entering into a cycle of crashes and ultimately becoming completely unresponsive.

    In addition, to perhaps confuse even further, two of my 8 GB USB drives now refuse to show up in the finder or in Disk Utility. Have tried reformatting on a PC (where they show up fine), but they remain hidden. I also have a 16 GB USB that shows up fine, and all other USB devices are working (mouse, iPod, Lacie External HD). Very mysterious!

    Has anyone any idea what might be the problem? SSD malfunction? RAM issue? Something even more internal in the hardware? Malware? Tropical heat? Or could it simply be a software issue that will be resolved by El Capitan (hopeful!)?

    I am currently living in Colombia but unfortunately my Spanish is limited so a visit to the local certified dealer may be protracted and confusing, and end up costing me a huge un-negotiated fee! Any insights or suggestions anyone can give here would be greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #2
    I think you have a problem with your USB port(s) and/or with the USB sticks you are using. None of the hardware you have is unusual and those installers have worked millions of times for other users. Must be something to do with your hardware...

    One way around it would be to extract your HDD and install Yosemite to it when connected to another Mac as an external drive.
     
  3. Rclark03 macrumors newbie

    Rclark03

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    #3
    You can try running the Apple diagnostics by holding down 'D' immediately upon startup. If nothing shows then you can always try resetting the smc

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295

    I would suggest staying with the latest OS or go further and use the El Capitan public beta. I started running the beta on my 2009 mbp after getting a new battery and everything runs great.
     
  4. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #4
    Thanks. Yes, I guess a USB fault of some sort would make sense. I do wonder why clean install failed through internet recovery as well though. The USB is not involved in this task.

    Well, will try a diagnostic test as suggested by another user. Thanks for your suggestions and time.
     
  5. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #5
    Thank you. Will give these steps a try and let you know how it goes. Have just downloaded El Capitan in Beta too, so may try the upgrade.
     
  6. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #6
    Well, El Capitan seems to be working fine. I did the SMC reset, and also reset the PVRAM. Am having no problems, and all USB devices are now working except for one 8GB Thumb Drive.

    That said, I am avoiding iTunes altogether for now, and am keeping the internal drive as lightly laden as possible. It seems that having large amounts of data there was causing the finder to crash (or at least, not having large amounts of data there is keeping things steady for now - not necessarily the same thing).

    I do suspect there is some subtle fault with the USB port / Logic Board, but I can't replace it easily from my present location (Colombia), so will just make do.

    Thanks for your responses. Much appreciated.
     
  7. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #7
    P.S. Forgot to say. I couldn't run the diagnostic test. That feature seems to be missing from my software. From what I hear though it can be quite inconclusive, especially with intermittent / subtle faults.
     
  8. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #8
    See this link to instruction on the Apple Hardware Test:
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201257
    The Apple Diagnostics Test is for 2013 or newer the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) is for older than 2013. The instructions seems to indicate (towards the bottom of the instructions) that AHT would be on the original install disks since your Macbook shipped with OS 10.5.
     
  9. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #9
    Thanks for the info CoastalOR. Unfortunately I no longer have my original install DVDs however, so cannot run the AHT.

    Meanwhile, I succeeded in getting a clean install of Yosemite only through having a Mac specialist copy a clone of the system directly to my HD.

    Since then I am having similar problems I already described though. Does anyone know if it may be due to a logic board fault? Please allow me to explain the problem - sorry if I go on too much!

    As I already said, I have a Macbook, Late 2008 Unibody (in which I have fitted a Samsung S40 250GB SSD drive). I have had no problems with my machine ever, but when I recently attempted a clean install of the OS (Yosemite) from USB thumb drive, it failed repeatedly, even with a USB installer used by a Mac specialist, so I had to have a clone of the basic Yosemite installation copied directly to the HD.

    Since then I keep having problems when I try to copy my music library to the hard disk. Whether I copy the files directly into iTunes, or alternatively drag the files to the music folder (I have repeatedly tried both methods), at a certain point the transfer freezes and I have no other option other than force shut down (by holding down the power button). On restarting the computer then becomes very susceptible to freezing, until I delete the music library off the hard disk, and things then work smoothly again. As previously mentioned, I have also been having some problems with USB thumb drives. I had two which my Mac would not read, but which were visible on other computers (both Mac and PCs). I suspect that maybe there is an issue with the USB ports (i.e.. logic board?), and this is why the transfers of music files (from my external USB hard drive) freeze, and also why my attempts to install a clean OS from USB failed. However, this does not explain further freezing when the files are in place but the USB is no lower being used! And for other purposes (eg. mouse, transferring large video files from external HD etc.) the USB ports work fine.

    My question is this. what are the potential causes of this problem?

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Sincerely.

    Matthew Hopley
     
  10. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #10
    A couple of questions to see if I can understand what is going on and what the limitations are. Options are limited since you only have 2 USB2 ports and you suspect USB problems.
    How was Yosemite cloned to your internal drive (Samsung SSD), device and connections?
    What hardware and connections are you using to copy your music?
    Do you have a working optical drive?
    Do you have access to another working Mac computer to burn your music to a CD or DVD?
    Post #6: how did you install El Capitan?
     
  11. d aguado thread starter macrumors newbie

    d aguado

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    #11
    Hi there, many thanks for your response! In response to your questions:

    - Yosemite was cloned by removing the SSD and placing it in an enclosure, then copying the installation from a disk image on another Mac.

    - I have a 'LaCie Rugged Mini USB 3.0/ USB 2.0 1TB Hard Disk Drive' which has my iTunes library on it. The library is about 160GB, but I have been trying to copy 100MB - 5GB at a time, and I still experience the system freeze when the data on the internal HD reaches a certain (unknown) value.

    - My optical drive is very inconsistent. I think it has had too much use copying CDs to mp3 over the years!

    - No, at present I don't have access to another Mac.

    - I installed El Capitan through a download through the App Store.

    Everything is fine as long as I don't try to get my iTunes library going... but I would like to have it available on my Mac HD, and I am just very curious why I can't get it to work from there when I did in the past without a problem.

    Perhaps I should also note that I am currently living in Colombia and despite using a fan to keep my Mac cool, I think perhaps the heat may have affected it (this is a theory, since I can't think why else it is suddenly playing up).

    Thank you, any theories on the source of the problem appreciated :)
     
  12. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #12
    Thanks for the reply with the requested information. I was leaning towards your hard drive cable might be going bad, but since you were able to download and install El Capitan, I no longer think that.

    I'm starting to agree with you that you might be having a USB problems. Unfortunately, I have no other ideas.

    Hopefully someones has some other ideas to help.
     
  13. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #13
  14. BradHatter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    #14
    Logic board problems, cable problems, and drive problems can all have very similar symptoms when presented to the end user. You might want to go to the how to section at http://scsc-online.com and read the article on drive, system, and software problems. To me it sounds sort of like your logic board or a cable somewhere is making intermittent connection or there's something that's heat sensitive. Intermittent problems are a total PIA to isolate.
     

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