iTunes freezes and crashes iMac during downloads (apps, podcasts, movies, etc)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by DarkHeraldMage, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #1
    I should've asked this long ago to see if anyone else had similar experiences, but wasn't sure if anything could be done or looked into without taking the iMac into an Apple store for investigation. I'm hoping someone has an idea I haven't tried that might help me out here because it's getting more frequent and more frustrating.

    I've had my iMac for just about 3 years and over the past year or so it's started bogging down in iTunes. I don't know if it's due to the size of my library, but when trying to download just about any kind of file through the iTunes store the iMac will come to a screeching halt and will have to be forcibly restarted. This occasionally causes the iTunes library file to become corrupted and I have to restore it from Time Machine in order to get everything back.

    I can't ever go and just update all my apps at once anymore, nor can I download multiple episodes of a podcast without fear of it crashing everything. It's gotten to the point that when I have digital downloads from blu-rays I will redeem them on my MBP and then transfer them over to the iMac from a USB drive. Repair permissions does nothing and that's unfortunately the extent of my troubleshooting for the most part.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. I'd like to be able to download from iTunes in peace, especially with Match (hopefully) on the horizon.
     
  2. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #2
    Hate to bump, but any input would be greatly appreciated. :confused:
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #3
    Sounds like a good time to reinstall or upgrade your OS.
     
  4. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #4
    That's actually been done. I had the problems starting in Snow Leopard, but did a clean install of Lion and still have the same problem unfortunately.
     
  5. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #5
    Could be a hardware or RAM problem. Did you ever upgrade the RAM?
     
  6. fred.bloggs macrumors member

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #6
    I have been suffering a similar issue, but it does not seem as bad a yours. It is an occasional irritation.

    I have never really been able to narrow it down, but itunes is always downloading when it happens.

    If all is quiet in the house when it occurs, I hear the hard drive spin down in the iMac, then slowly and surely everything locks up as it tries to get data off the hard drive that isn't there anymore.

    Holding the power button is the only way out.

    I'd love to get to the bottom of it.
     
  7. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #7
    I did not, haven't done any upgrades since it was purchased.

    Exactly, same problem here. Glad to know that it sounds like I'm not the only one seeing this though.
     
  8. fred.bloggs macrumors member

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #8
    Last year I did post the question on the apple support forums. Very helpful set of people, but eventually we exhausted all the possibilities and the problem remained.

    I figured I would have to put up with it until I eventually replace the iMac.

    I don't suppose it is model specific problem. Mine is an early 2008 24inch iMac, spec'd up to the 3GHz processor and 750GB hard drive.
     
  9. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #9
    I have the same iMac actually, bought in January of 2008. I'm not certain about the processor (can check when I get home) but I have the 24 inch and upgraded the RAM to 4 GB and the hard drive to 1 TB.
     
  10. girardina macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    #10
    Same here

    Hi,

    I've been experiencing the same thing on my iMac but it's gotten much, much more noticeable lately. It might not be worse, but since I added iTunes Match it's been a real pain. Basically, I'm trying to replace all my lower quality songs (about 3,000) with iTunes 256kbs versions. When I'm lucky, I can get iTunes to download about 100 or so songs but then I get a spinning beach ball which hangs everything. I end up having to do a hard reboot each time which is making this very frustrating.

    I'll keep my eye on this thread to see if anyone finds a solution/workaround.

    BTW, I'm running the latest version of iTunes (as of 18 Nov 11) and Lion is fully up-to-date as well. If it helps, it's a 24-inch early 2008 iMac with 4 GB of RAM.

    Best regards,

    Anthony

     
  11. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #11
    Yup, that's the exact iMac I have as well. Anyone else seeing a trend here? :-/ I wonder if Apple is aware of this. I may try to call them tonight and see if it's a known issue that can be addressed, or if I'm going to have to take it to an Apple Store and just hope for a cheap investigation/solution.
     
  12. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    Orlando
    #12
    I'm guessing from what you've described that you're looking at a hard drive that's slowly failing, or just has some bad sectors. There were some iMacs that had known-bad drives, don't recall if that was among the stated symptoms, but you might look into it.

    http://www.apple.com/support/imac-harddrive/

    If you're not part of that repair program, I'd consider making sure you have a good backup, then zeroing the drive from the install disk.

    jW
     
  13. Sayer macrumors 6502a

    Sayer

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    Austin, TX
    #13
    How much free space is on the hard drive?

    A little, a lot?

    How big is the iTunes library?

    If you hold the Option key down as iTunes launches it will ask if you want to create a new library, try making a new library and downloading a new podcast/movie/song.

    If the problem doesn't happen, it sounds like your library has issues. If its "REALLY" huge, you may need to recreate it to clean out any legacy cruft in there.
     
  14. DarkHeraldMage, Nov 22, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011

    DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #14
    Unfortunately that won't help most of the people who have posted here, the iMacs seeming to be affected were purchased in early 2008, not this year. I did a clean install of Lion when it came out, so that involved wiping and reinstalling from Time Machine; is this not the same thing as zeroing it out? Thanks though for the suggestions.

    I have a 1 TB drive with about 475 GB free. iTunes library is pretty large as I've spent years buying music in iTunes and importing old CDs, as well as movies, TV shows, and podcasts. Seeing some of the posts in the iTunes Match discussions about people with libraries in excess of 50,000 songs though makes me wonder if the problem could actually be my (much smaller than that) library or something else. Are there any preference files that can be cleaned up without killing my playlists perhaps? I know with some programs you can go into the Library folder and remove a plist file to help but I don't know if this is one of those cases.

    :confused:

    Edit: Just finished doing a repair permissions and then removing the iTunes plist file, but it still crashed after downloading about 10 episodes of a podcast. Haven't tried testing it from a newly built library, but the thought of that worries me since having to manually recreate my library would be a massive headache. :-/ Here's hoping someone else has another solution. Night!
     
  15. mikelouw macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #15
    I have the same problem with a MacPro early 2008. Plenty of drive space, 24 Gb RAM, and small library. System freezes when downloading not only podcasts, but also music (more than about 10 files in the queue at a time). I've done all the usual stuff as above, but still no solution....
     
  16. fred.bloggs, Dec 21, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011

    fred.bloggs macrumors member

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    #16
    finally fixed - early signs of hard disk death.

    OK, so you can imagine how much fun this problem is with iTunes match. I have had to reboot loads. It was getting worse than my last windows experience :)

    I started paying a lot of attention to the logs, and listening out for the hard drive.

    It was downloading some music and it started to beach ball, then I heard the tell tale chirp tick, chirp tick, pause, chirp tick, chirp tick sound from the hard drive. I had never heard this before.

    The log had a message indicating there had been a problem with the hard drive. The smart status indicated there were 4 pending problems.

    Did a surface scan with techtool pro. This reported 4 sector errors. Presumably the same 4 reported by the smart status.

    Downloaded smart status reporter. This pops up a message every time there is a disk error. This would pop up regularly when iTunes was downloading.

    I tried to format the drive with secure erase to write 0s set. This is supposed to re-map any bad sectors. Then re-installed. The problem was still there, so this does not work. It did reset the smart pending errors, but these came back as soon as the disk was exercised. I guess all the spare sectors had been used.

    I have just completed the surgery to replace the hard drive and a restore from time machine. It has now been downloading iTunes match for well over an hour. This would have equated to about 30 reboots before.

    Replacing the hard disk was not so bad. I have had PC cases in the past that were far worse.

    This had been going on for so long, getting gradually worse. It is weird that it largely seems to affect itunes. It appears it is just the signs of the hard drive failing.

    The whole mac seems a lot snappier now. It starts up quicker, and is more responsive.

    Scan your disk. If it finds errors replace your drive! Good luck!
     
  17. fred.bloggs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #17
    Hi

    Just to confirm. My iMac has been running iTunes match downloads all night. It has now downloaded over 2000 tracks and is still going strong.

    I can now confidently say that replacing the hard drive has fixed this issue.
     
  18. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #18
    I'm really glad to hear it worked for you. While I don't have Techtools Pro, I did download Smart Status Reporter to try and get a feel for any errors coming up. I ran iTunes for a while last night without any problems, but then it froze and the computer had to be force restarted, and SSR never flinched or gave any warnings. My next goal is to boot from the OS disk, or in Lion's case the USB drive I suppose, and try to run a verify/repair disk to check for any errors. Replacing the hard drive isn't something I'm comfortable with myself, but I'm under warranty for a little less than a month, so I may see what Apple can do.
     
  19. fred.bloggs macrumors member

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #19
    I was way out of warranty, so had nothing to loose. Mrs Bloggs had given me approval for a shiny new one, so I was going to be a winner either way :)

    May also be worth looking at the smart status in Disk Utility. If you click to select the physical drive and click the info button the SMART status will be displayed. Mine had 4 listed in the "Current Pending Sector Count", but I think anything listed in the counts at the bottom are bad news.

    From my reading on the internet, there can be many disk problems that upset performance, but are within the SMART limits and so the SMART status is returned "Verified". So treat it as a guideline.

    Stellar Drive toolbox has a surface scanner. They have a free download. Usually this will allow you to diagnose for free, but not repair. I haven't tried it but it may be a free way of performing a surface scan.

    Good Luck. Hope you get it sorted.
     
  20. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #20
    I've replaced the HDDs on two iMacs, a 2006 20" CD2 (this was the harder one to do, opening it took 30 minutes and carefully removing all that RF shielding)
    The 2009 iMac 27 i5 was much easier but more perilous as that's a lot of glass to keep clean & unscratched. Both operations were 100% successful.

    iFixit.com shows you how to do an HDD upgrade.
     
  21. PC Chopath macrumors member

    PC Chopath

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    Neverland
    #21
    Hi there, did you tried to resetting the SMC device on your iMac?
    If not, you should try it once.
    ". .Resetting the SMC can resolve some computer issues such as not starting up, not displaying video, sleep issues, fan noise issues, and so forth. ."
    source: http://is.gd/SsspL2
     
  22. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #22
    MacUpdate's website is having a big sale right now and part of the bundle happened to be Techtools Pro 6, so I grabbed it and started scans last night.

    Surface scan took 4 hours and found nothing. SMART test found no errors. Nothing it scans is coming back with any problems - no scan has thus far. I don't understand it. I was actually hoping for bad sectors, if only to have some explanation for the freezes and crashes. :(

    The only other thing I realized this morning is that while downloading anything in iTunes is what causes the crashes, I have a script that allows me to relocate data in iTunes (for the purpose of moving downloads off the main hard drive sometimes and onto a backup drive) while still retaining the iTunes connection and playlist entries, and if I try to do too many files at once it bogs down and crashes as well. It seems to be anything having to do with large data handling in iTunes but that's all I know. And I barely know that. :confused:
     
  23. fred.bloggs, Dec 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012

    fred.bloggs macrumors member

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    #23
    Good spot with tech tool. Sorry it didn't find anything.

    It isn't the other disk causing the issue is it?
     
  24. DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #24
    No because the other disk isn't involved in the majority of the crashes since those download straight from iTunes to the internal hard drive. The only commonality is iTunes in any of the crashes. :(
     
  25. DarkHeraldMage, Dec 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012

    DarkHeraldMage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #25
    I just went through and completely wiped iTunes off the face of my iMac, preference files and all. Reinstalled and started it up to download some podcasts as a test and it froze again. It lasted a little longer than it has in the past, but it still ultimately froze up and I had to force restart the computer. :( I am pretty much at a loss of what to do next. The hard drive doesn't seem to be the problem and a complete reinstall of iTunes isn't helping either.

    Update:
    I enabled the Guest account and logged into it to attempt downloading in iTunes, but it froze and crashed there too. This proves the problem isn't my library file either, so I'm really not sure what else to try. I guess the only step left is to try backing everything up, zeroing out the hard drive (even though scans haven't found any sector problems), and then restoring from back-up. This is getting so frustrating. :(
     

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