HDD issue since upgrade from Snow Leopard

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by dogbags, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. dogbags macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2012
    Hi all,

    I have an early 2011 mbp, 15", 2GHz i7 with 4GB ram.

    Around 2 weeks ago I updated from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion. The download was all OK, and despite some minor speed issues it all seemed fine.

    Then, seemingly from nowhere, the HDD started to stall, making everything very, very slow. And it makes a sort of string of clicking noises every 2-3 seconds. It basically makes it inoperable. Even opening a small program gets the beachball going. It seems like it's trying to access/open something, but can't, so just keeps on trying ...

    It runs fine in Safe Mode, though, so I cleared all the Startup items, Launch Agents, Cache, etc., all to no avail. I've run maintenance, verified and repaired the disk, reset PRAM. Still nothing.

    I'm kind of out of ideas.

    I'm away from home right now, so can't erase or reboot from OS disks. All I can do is run in Safe Mode. I will probably erase the disk and start again from Snow Leopard when I get the chance in a few weeks, but am interested to see if anyone has any bright ideas to fix the problem first.

    Given that it doesn't happen in Safe Mode, it would seem to suggest it's a software issue, or some process which has become corrupted, but I'm at a loss as to what else to try now.

    Any ideas would be gratefully received.

    Thanks all

  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Clunky noises from your hard drive are never good, and usually indicative of hardware failure.
    But if you don't get a problem with SafeBoot, then perhaps there is some software that is causing the excessive disk use.

    1. Make sure you have a complete, up-to-date backup.
    2. Test the problem in a brand new user account. (This is a test, that my identify the source of the problem.)
    3. Use Activity Monitor to see what processes may be using excessive CPU, memory or disk activity.
  3. dogbags thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2012
    Thanks for your reply, benwiggy.

    Unfortunately, the problem is replicated even with a new user account, and there is nothing at all in the activity monitor to indicate what the problem is—nothing hogging CPU usage, no process heavy work going on. I even disabled spotlight in the terminal, since it was indexing, but to no avail.

    So it looks like it might be a hardware problem after all. Again, another failing HDD with a not-too-old mac ...

    Just to clarify on the noise, it's not so much a clunking, more like the disk starts spinning every 2-3 seconds, but then stops. In terms of functionality in normal boot, everything works, I think. It just takes several minutes to do so.

    With limited functionality in Safe Boot, everything works fine.

    Very confusing!
  4. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Might be having HD sleep problems!

    Do you have an external bootable copy of the internal, if so then if it also has problems there it's an OS issue
  5. sammybaddy macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2010
    Mountain Lion Slow - Possible Fix...

    I finally found the solution to my problem with Mountain Lion running slow...

    If you have bootcamp installed, it is because Spotlight is trying to index the bootcamp partition. Add the bootcamp partition to the "Privacy" section of spotlight and you'll instantly notice your drive calm down and everything launching/running MUCH faster.
  6. dogbags thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2012

    just to close this out, i couldn't find any way of fixing the problem, so opted instead to erase the disk and start again with Snow Leopard rather than Mountain Lion. all sorted now. thanks for the advice, all.

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