Loaded 5K iMac - slight lag and spinning beach ball - why?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by anthonymoody, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. anthonymoody, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #1
    Thread title pretty much says it all. But to be more specific, I got the iMac more or less when the 5K's first came out. 32GB RAM, 3TB Fusion Drive, 4GHz i7.

    For its entire existence it's run extremely fast and smooth. No lags, no hiccups, no spinning beach balls.

    Now, without having made any changes (i.e. installing new software or updates) I get some lag which shows up as follows:

    -mouse overs don't immediately highlight e.g. a weblink, or the little X to close a tab, highlighting a different tab; so when you click it doesn't immediately register
    -text doesn't immediately appear when I type - this happens in safari (web forms, typing URLs) as well as in other apps e.g. Word and Pages
    -scrolling a web page - hiccups during a scroll and/or starts scrolling late

    My guess is that on average when it happens it's about a second or 2; maybe a little longer or shorter. About 1/2 the time I get the spinning beach ball for the 2 second delays.

    I uninstalled flash. I ran Disk Utility/repair (nothing amiss). I disconnected my Time Machine drive (it sometimes takes a few seconds to spin up). I've closed all apps, restarted, used one app open at a time, etc. Still get the same problem.

    Activity Monitor doesn't reveal anything obvious.

    First world problem yes, but this is a very expensive piece of kit, and it never did this before. And it's extremely annoying in practice even if it sounds minor. It's like the computer is frozen for a half second or two and needs to wake up before it can respond. Internal drive sounds like it's spinning throughout.

    Help!

    TIA
     
  2. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    What happens when you make a new user account and try these actions over there? It sounds like one of those issues that are impossible to find, unless it goes away with the next update or you get annoyed and reinstall OSX.

    Best guess is that the SSD part of the fusion drive is having issues so it takes a bit for it to give up on the SSD and then try the hard drive. Slow text is really worrying as it should take any effort to keep it smooth. Do you have extended warranty? You can still bring it in and get a free quote if you don't.
     
  3. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #3
    Thanks cruisin! I will try another user account. I have Apple Care so should be fine regardless if I do have to take it in. Question - if I reinstall OS X but then restore from a TM backup, you think it likely that the problem would recur?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 20, 2016 ---
    I'm typing this from the Guest account and it's all very snappy, just like when I first got the Mac. I assume then that it's something(s) associated with my user/admin account.

    Is there an easy process to create a new admin account that sucks in everything from the existing admin account? Maybe it would leave behind whatever is causing the issues.

    TIA.
     
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    Canada
    #4
    If it is hardware related, then yes. Software related issues should be fixed with a reinstall unless a 3rd party app is the one causing the issue, but that is rare.

    You can reinstall OSX but delay the restore of the backup and see if Safari is still slow. If it is fine you can fire up Migration Assistant which will bring over your backup. If it becomes slow again, you can do another reinstall but this time only bring over the data and skip the rest (apps, settings). You would need to manually reinstall all the apps you use (most are a copy and paste in the Applications folder but some still need to be installed), but you can do it one at a time and check which app is affecting things.

    You can call Apple and ask for a consultation on your issue, and they might have better advice.
     
  5. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    Okay thanks. Maybe I'll give it a go this weekend when I can afford some down time.
     
  6. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #6
    If you feel up to it you can make a USB drive with OSX that will speed up installation and skip downloading the installer in recovery mode each time. It isn't necessary, but it does make the process faster if you are doing multiple installs and have a USB 3 flash drive handy.

    Heres a guide: http://osxdaily.com/2015/09/30/create-os-x-el-capitan-boot-install-drive/
     
  7. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Hey that's awesome - I'll definitely do that thanks!
     
  8. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #8
    Please post back with what you do and how it works for you.

    Although my iMac isn't as powerful as yours I feel like it's not as fast as it could be and guest account feels faster.

    'Windows Creep' was one feature I was hoping Apple wouldn't use in OS X.
     
  9. anthonymoody, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #9
    Well, I did something wrong. I set up the USB drive, held down option, chose the USB drive, told it to install OS X, but it re-installed it into my existing user account. Which of course still suffers from the lag. I didn't see an option along the lines of "wipe this computer/drive with a completely fresh factory type install" - did I miss it??

    EDIT - yeah I'm dumb. I was supposed to then select Disk Utility rather than Install OS X and go from there. Off to try that now.
     
  10. anthonymoody, Apr 21, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

    anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #10
    Well it took some doing but here's what I did and where things stand:

    1) I did a clean install. Played around with it for a while and it was super snappy. As new.
    2) I imported only Settings via the Migration Assistant. Still good. I installed (didn't import) Microsoft Office and the iWork suite, set up the dock the way I like, etc. My iCloud drive synced, all good. Got my mail accounts all up and running, again all good.
    3) I tried to use Photos and iTunes but of course my libraries weren't there so I figured it was time to import those using the Migration Assistant.

    Here's where the problem begins. I used the MA to import Music and Photos (and Movies) but when you do that it auto selects the Library under that user. There's no way to import the Music and Photos without also checking the Library. When you do this, it creates another user - the "old" me" on the system. There was an option to replace the "new" me with the "old" me except it was grayed out and nothing I did would change that. There was no choice to merge them.

    It took a looooooong time (1.4TB of data), overnight to be precise, but everything ported to the "old" me user. That's what I'm typing on now.

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnd....the lag is there.

    So it would appear to be something in my Library that is causing the system to bog down.

    Now I have to figure out if there's a way I can import (only) the photos and music into the "new" me. Then I can delete the old me - and the lag hopefully - once and for all!

    Any thoughts on how to do that?

    EDIT: I found instructions at the bottom of the page here -
    http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/201907/macbook-air-running-yosemite-merge-two-user-accounts

    At the moment it's setting up my Photos library. iTunes next. I'll report back to (hopefully) confirm that the libraries are up and running *without* the lag.
     
  11. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Well I'm back to report, with a heavy knock on wood, that all seems ok. iTunes and iPhoto libraries are imported and up and running (the fan was going non stop during the process), and things still seem snappy.

    I reeeeeeeeeally hope this did the trick for good.

    I never answered the question of "why?" it was happening. But I was able to locate the cause broadly speaking, to the User Library. And "fix" it by creating a new user from a clean install. Ugly, but it worked.
     
  12. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #12
    The problem is rare, likely won't ever happen again, and it is doubtful anyone can guarantee a fix anyway. Plus you discover how good your backups are in case of disaster.

    Now that you know what went wrong you probably could have made a new user and brought everything over. But the reinstall didn't add that much time to the operation (well, assuming you don't select the wrong option) and it covered all possible angles. Sometimes the best you can do is shrug and start with a clean slate.
     
  13. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #13
    Thanks and agreed. When I get new iPhones I almost never do a restore from a prior phone's backup. I like my new devices to feel new :)

    But yes next time I'll start with a new user straight away to see how that goes! Thanks again for the help.
     
  14. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    Elk Grove, CA
    #14
    It could also be an app changing the refresh rate. I noticed when I have Kodi playing a 24fps movie on monitor A and am doing work on monitor B. Everything is glitchy and lags even though only 1% CPU is used and 8GB ram free. It seems OS X sets both monitors to 24hz.
     
  15. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    That's interesting. Is there a straightforward way to check this?
     
  16. MistrSynistr macrumors 6502a

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    May 15, 2014
    #16
    I have noticed this with mine but it seems to happen when it's accessing itunes files that are on a separate HDD via USB. It's a little annoying.
     
  17. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #17
    Interesting. My iTunes library lives on my mac so in my case it's not that. Frustrating that with all this high powered tech there are still hiccups like this.
     

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