Freezes and Spinning Beach Balls on iMac

Discussion in 'macOS' started by quietthunder, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. quietthunder macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2011
    Since my son upgraded to FireFox 8.0.1 last night, his computer has been experiencing major hangs and slowdowns. He's on an iMac 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, w/ 6 gigs of RAM, running 10.5.8.

    The first symptom was the inability to launch ANY web browser quickly. Firefox wouldn't launch at all, just bouncing in the dock until it stopped. Safari and Chrome eventually (after three minutes or so), launched, but just about anything thereafter would cause the spinning beach ball o' doom, requiring a forced restart.

    I tried to boot from the system disk and use disk utilities. It found problems with the boot drive: "invalid sibling link." I then restarted in single user mode with the help of online advice and ran /sbin/fsck -fy which seemed to repair the drive. Disk Utilities then fixed permissions, although in several cases it said certain permissions were altered and "wouldn't be repaired." I then downloaded an entirely complete version of Firefox 8.0.1 in case something had gone wrong with the update. So far so good, however, things (such as opening a folder) which should take seconds, now take minutes, and the beach ball spins more often than not at the simplest task. Additionally, I still haven't been able to open iTunes (5.0.5) at all. Just leaving the computer running caused it to lock up when the screen saver came on.

    Since then, he's tried to back up some files (he's got his most important schoolwork backed up, thank goodness) and has had frequent freezes. I'm going to install Snow Leopard on the machine later this week... obviously this is way overdue, but he never seemed to need it, so we never bothered. Hopefully if it's a corrupt system this will straighten matters out.

    Anybody else have any ideas on what might be causing this?

    Thanks very much in advance,

  2. quietthunder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2011
    Update: As per suggestion from someone on another board, tried YASU... no improvement. If anything, things are worse. The computer is now been stuck on the blue screen for fifteen minutes, after trying to reboot. Anybody have ANY idea what's going on here?
  3. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I had LOTS of beach balls when I was running Firefox with 100+ tabs open. I switched to Chrome and things got better. Yesterday my Macbook was running slow and I went looking for a cure. I found that there were 15 gig of swap files. I force quit and relaunched Chrome and I was down to 8 gig of swap files including the 4 GB resume image. Almost all the beachballs were gone. So the moral is Chrome is better but still not perfect and quitting the browser from time to time kills beach balls. If your Mac is slow for a more serious reason, I would consider an archive and install. This has helped in the past when I was seeing a lot of beach balls.

    Stuck on the blue screen is not a good thing either. This is another indication you could benefit from an archive and install or even a wipe and install and migrate from your Time Machine backup. WARNING: Do not wipe until you have tested your TM backup and you know it is good. One way to do this is to mount the backup volume, launch disk utility and tell it to check the backup volume. If it's good the check only takes a few minutes. If it hangs or starts deep traversal, you don't have a backup, you have a placebo. My wife's HDD got wiped a few months ago and we found her TM backup was corrupted and useless. We had to resort to restoring from Crashplan. NEVER attempt to wipe a system no matter how badly it is behaving until you know you have at least 1 and preferably 2 good backups.
  4. quietthunder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2011
    Unfortunately this is my 20 year old son's computer and he doesn't have a TM backup, although he's manually backed up files that are important to him. Still thinking of doing a clean install of Snow Leopard when I get the disks, Hopefully that'll fix the issues, but who knows?
  5. Damo01 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    open up terminal and type this in, press enter

    sudo touch -f /Library/Extensions;  sudo kextcache -system-caches
    You'll need administrator password. Reboot the computer once this is done.
  6. quietthunder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2011
    @Damo01 - Before I saw your message I solved this issue (mostly) by booting up in safe mode, which (I guess) resets certain things, and upgrading his iTunes, which we discovered had a corrupt library/database. Rebuilding that solved most of the problem. I'm going to make sure he has everything of significance backed up and do a clean install of Snow Leopard later this week.

    Right now, he's running at about 95%... occasional non-significant slowdowns, but no freezes or inordinately long beach ball spins. Thanks for the help, though.

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