Constant spinning beach ball and can't resolve it

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ellenyrox, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. ellenyrox macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hi

    I have a white late 2008 MacBook. It's done well through the years but the last year I've had problems. Last year, it wiped itself clean twice. I'd left it in sleep for two days, opened it and everything appeared fine but was frozen so I force shut down and it wouldn't start up. I put in the install disc and managed to get it going and it was fine. Did it again a few months later but I fixed it and it's been okay the last 6 months although I haven't used it much.

    The past few weeks, I can't do anything without the spinning beach ball. If I open any application, it appears and I could leave it for hours and it wouldn't resolve. I booted up from the disc because I couldn't do anything with the beach ball. This allowed me to check the HD which shows as verified under smart status. I verified and repaired the disk and it did this fine and didn't find any problems. However, when I try to verify or repair permissions, it gets stuck and will not complete.

    I took it to the Genius Bar at an Apple Store. They seemed to think the permissions were significant and managed to back it up and wipe and reinstall. They told me to see how it worked before I put my back up on it to see if it was something I had downloaded. I tried to make a new user account but it would freeze and I couldn't get any further. I reverted to putting on the time machine back up so I could use the laptop. I'm still getting the beach ball and I can't do a thing. Please help!
     
  2. troubleonline macrumors 6502a

    troubleonline

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #2
    Have you tried to do anything whilst the beachball is still spinning? I noticed similar on my old MacBook and tehn discovered I could carry on, e.g. working on my word document, regardless.
     
  3. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    #3
    Maybe RAM or HDD has gone bad?? If you can start it in recovery mode and check the HDD that would be a start. If you've still got the original one in there from 2008, that would be the most likely culprit. Do a RAM test next if the HDD appears to be okay.
     
  4. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    Unfortunately I can't click on anything. It doesn't completely freeze but if I try to open any application, it doesn't even bounce up and down and that's when it starts. It is still the original hard drive, but from what I know, it seems okay. I've verified and repaired the disk and it didn't pick up anything. Apple ran a command on it and said it looked fine as well. I would have thought it was the hard drive but it seems okay...
     
  5. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    #5
    Seems a mystery! It might actually be worth picking up a super cheap regular spinning drive and throw it in there just to see if it is the culprit regardless.

    It seems like you are having a hardware problem of some kind.

    Would suggest the same with the RAM, as it isn't very expensive for your model either, or if you know anyone who has the same one and would be willing to swap out components for testing purposes.

    If you have a mom and pop computer repair shop in your neighborhood, they might even be willing to let you do this with compatible used components for testing, but do the right thing and purchase replacements from them if they do!
     
  6. Big Ron macrumors 6502

    Big Ron

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #6
    Sounds like an overheating problem to me, have you tried whipping the bottom off and see if the fan is clogged with dust?
     
  7. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    But how can it be an overheating problem when it happens stale aight away on start up the minute I try to open something. It's either hardware or something is corrupt. I've noticed that spotlight is indexing. If I turn it on and leave it, it doesn't give me any beach balls but it seems to be stuck at 9 minutes left now. Is this the problem. There's some kind of file problem I think. Just can't work out if it's something I've done or if it's a hard drive issue...
     
  8. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
     
  9. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #9
    Open the laptop and remove one of the RAM modules. Try to start it up with one of the modules in single channel. If that doesn't help, try it solely with the one you removed first as well. I'm assuming this is your setup, as according to everymac your model has two 512MB modules by default.

    If the computer starts up at all and brings you to the desktop, it is unlikely that the HDD isn't functioning properly. It would display a folder with a question mark or some other form of a "you're screwed" image, but that doesn't rule out the fact that it could need a replacement. I would troubleshoot your RAM first with what you have first.

    I hope this helps.
     
  10. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #11
    It's 7 because math. How old are you? Lets donate you. Who would suggest such a thing when someone is asking with help for a fix?
     
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #12
    My guess would be the harddrive. If you have an external available or a large USB stick, I would install OSX on either, and run for some time from that and see if it helps.
     
  13. Big Ron macrumors 6502

    Big Ron

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #13
    It sounds unrelated but to be honest I have been working with one of these MacBooks for years and I have seen some, at first glance, pretty 'last resort' answers fix problems. It's only a handful of screws and it can't hurt. You never know even the act of having a look can uncover something you initially never considered.
     
  14. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    No way am I donating it. I might sell it if it's too expensive to fix. These models are becoming more collectable now, so I'll get something decent for it anyway
     
  15. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #15
    Probably not, Apple produced hundreds of thousands of polycarbonate MacBook`s, and yours doesn't work. Am not suggesting you give it away, equally don't expect too much in return for it.

    Q-6
     
  16. fizzfoo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
  17. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #17
    I can get £100 - £200 for it working or not. I'm not giving it away, and I'm not stupid either. This post isn't about selling so please leave if you can't help with the issue. I don't intend on selling it or giving it away, I just want to sort out the issue I'm having
     
  18. ellenyrox thread starter macrumors newbie

    ellenyrox

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    For the people actually trying to help, I'm taking it to Apple again tomorrow so I'll see if they can figure it out. I tried to leave it to index last night but it got stuck at 9 minutes left. It's fine until I click an application to open and then the beach ball starts. I can use finder, system preferences etc, but no apps at all
     
  19. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #19
    It sounds like a dying hard drive to me, if you take it to apple take your time machine back up and get them to boot the machine from your backup over usb, if that works well then your hard drive is the issue. (or you could do this yourself).

    At 7 years old though you do have to face the idea that it is just dying, computers don't last forever and 7 years is great for any laptop.
     
  20. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #20
    Sounds like a dying hard drive to me. I've had this happen on different Macs over the years and it acts exactly like this. Hopefully you have a backup, replace the hard drive and restore the data.
     
  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #21
    I'm with these folks. Sounds like a failing drive to me.

    Just one thing to try... hold the shift key when booting to start in safe mode. That starts a stripped down system and bypasses any startup or login items so can eliminate those as the trouble spots.
     
  22. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #22
    Another for the HD, ask Apple to try "Target Disk Mode" or boot from and external drive, if your MacBook runs the slave drive and data without issue, your problem is isolated to your Macs internal HD and or software, equally whats being described is classic HD failure.

    Q-6
     
  23. CherryS16 macrumors newbie

    CherryS16

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    #23
    I recently bought a brand new Macbook Pro running El Capitan 10.11.5 and i have exactly the same problem. It's about 4 months old and recently started this nonsense. In fact my old white macbook (also bought in 2008) runs faster than this one... so frustrating! It's only just started and I was also planning a visit to the Genius Bar... Moral of the story - don't give up on your old macbook because a new one won't necessarily be any better :(
     

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