Mac driving me crazy with locked-up desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tom762, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Tom762 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #1
    This Mac is driving me crazy.

    It’s a mid 2010 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 32 GB of memory, running El Capitan 10.11.6, with four large hard drives installed in the Mac (all bays full), and running two monitors.

    I have two PCIe cards in the slots, one providing four USB3 ports, and one providing two FW400 ports.

    On startup, the desktop appears with all icons present. But double-clicking on any icon does nothing except make the icon of a folder on the other monitor flicker. Nothing will open, not a file, not a folder.

    The cursor flickers and sometimes disappears, then comes back.

    If I double-click on the icon of a photoshop file, that same folder icon on the desktop flickers (always the same folder, full of Photoshop files), but nothing else happens.

    Double-Clicking on any of the four hard drive icons on the desktop does nothing; their windows don’t open. No folders on the desktop will open.

    I can open Disk Utility from the dock and run First Aid through the startup disk (or any of the other disks) but nothing gets fixed. Disk Utility finds nothing wrong, but the problems remain.

    I have run Disk Warrior through all disks and it finds nothing wrong with them.

    I can, however, open programs from the dock, but only from the dock.

    Strangely, after I open some programs from the dock and get them working, after a while all the other problems go away and everything works normally again.

    So now my daily routine is this: start up the Mac to find that nothing on the desktop will open. Then go to the dock and open InDesign and Photoshop, and start using them (though sometimes at first their menus flicker and don't work). After a while all the problems go away and all the icons on the desktop work again.

    I hate starting the day with a defective computer and having to wait a while for everything to start working normally again.

    Anybody got any ideas how I can fix this?

    Tom
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #2
    What does your system log say when it happens?
     
  3. Tom762 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #3
    When I started up this morning the log said:

    Mar 26, 2018, 11:09:42 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/MacOS: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    I don't know what to make of any of that. As I write this the Mac is still behaving crazy. I can only open anything off the dock.
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #4
    That error just tells you that TeamViewer is having trouble starting.

    Anything else in the log?
     
  5. Tom762 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #5
    Thanks for your effort to help. That's all there was in the log yesterday. Today's startup log is much longer, but it seems to be saying the same thing over and over. Here is just a small piece of it as a sample:

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:49 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/Helpers: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:49 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/MacOS: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:49 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service only ran for 0 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 10 seconds.

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:49 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service only ran for 0 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 10 seconds.

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:51 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/MacOS: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:51 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service only ran for 0 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 10 seconds.

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:59 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/MacOS: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:59 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/Helpers: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-E328A07D7B91]: 0x2

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:59 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service only ran for 0 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 10 seconds.

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:55:59 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service only ran for 0 seconds. Pushing respawn out by 10 seconds.

    Mar 27, 2018, 8:56:01 AM com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: Service could not initialize: Unable to set current working directory. error = 2: No such file or directory, path = /Applications/TeamViewer.app/Contents/MacOS: 15G19009: xpcproxy + 12068 [1343][04735878-FE18-3961-8430-
     
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    In that case my only recommendation is to try and reinstall the system.
     
  7. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #7
    First...test your system with a clean, new User Account.
     
  8. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
  9. Tom762 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #9
    Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn’t thought of that. So I created a new User account, "Test User," and when I log in using that account, everything is still wonky. The cursor flickers, disappears, and reappears. All app menus flicker (and I can only open apps off the dock). Fly-out menus in Photoshop or InDesign flash and flicker and disappear.


    I’m using two monitors, and for a while after startup the cursor will not cross over to the second monitor. The cursor keeps flickering and disappearing, then suddenly it will cross to the other monitor, but nothing else on the desktop works. That’s the same thing that happens when I log into my own account.


    I re-installed El Capitan. No improvement. I removed from inside the Mac a PCIe card that provided a couple more firewire ports. No change. I disconnected the two external hard drives (one is Time Machine). No change. I disconnected one of the monitors. No change.


    I have Adobe CS6 in this Mac, but I only use Photoshop and InDesign. I threw out their .plists. No change.


    One time I started the Mac up and one of the hard drive icons didn't show up on the desktop (there were four internal drives drives in this Mac). Aha! I thought. A dying drive! (even though it was new?). So I opened up the Mac and removed that drive, then restarted. All was normal! Hooray! It was just a bad drive!


    Then I restarted. All the problems were back, even with the drive gone. Back to the pits. I ran Disk Utility through all three disks. No change. I ran Disk Warrior through the three drives again. Twice. No change.


    Every time I start up the Mac, there is always one icon on the desktop that is highlighted. Sometimes it’s a folder, sometimes a document, but it's highlighted. I cannot un-highlight this icon by clicking away from it. Clicking on any other icon on the desktop just makes the highlighted folder flicker.


    I can launch apps off the dock, but only off the dock. If I launch InDesign or Photoshop, they won’t work for a while, but if I play around with them, open a file from the dock, make some changes to it, after a while all the problems go away, suddenly. I know from experience now that eventually the problems will go away, instantly, like flipping a switch. Usually takes ten or fifteen minutes or more for things to get right.


    But sometimes it takes 20 or 30 minutes before the problems go away. It’s a maddening way to start the day, with no desktop icons working, waiting for things to start working. And I can't get any work done until they do.


    Getting frustrated here. Anybody got any other ideas what I might try to fix this?
     
  10. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #10
    Since you never mentioned SSD, so I assume you are running your OS from HDD.

    If it only happen at start up. Then it may means the OS need a lot of time to settle.

    1) running from HDD but not SSD may require 10min or more for the OS to settle.

    2) If there are some bugs keep lopping the I/O, HDD may make the situation much much worse. That may be the reason why sometimes you need to wait for 20-30min.

    3) It's hard to tell what's wrong. But you may try to boot into safe mode and see if same thing still happen.

    4) If you don't want to make a clean installation. You may boot into recovery mode, and re-install the OS from there. In this case, only cover on top, won't erase anything, but simply re-install the OS.

    5) A failing HDD may also make this issue suddenly pop up.

    6) If possible, I suggest you buy a SSD, plug that into the optical bay, and run the OS from there.
     
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #11
    You should probably eliminate your keyboard and mouse as possible culprits, also, by testing with other ones.
     
  12. Tom762, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018

    Tom762 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #12
    The problem is solved! Something that I tried must have fixed it, but I can’t figure out what it was. Whatever was causing the problem remains a mystery.

    Thank you h9826790 for taking the time to give me all those excellent suggestions and ideas! I didn't have an SSD drive to try, but I did boot into Safe Mode as you suggested and the problem vanished. There, I figured, is a clue.


    But when I restarted the Mac normally, the problem was back. The desktop was locked up again.

    Then BrianBaughn suggested that I try a different keyboard and mouse, something I had not thought of (thanks Brian!)

    So I got another keyboard and mouse (a wired mouse) and plugged them in instead of my old keyboard and wireless mouse. I also plugged this new keyboard into the front of the mac (my regular keyboard had been plugged into the back of the Mac, using an Apple USB extension cord).

    On restart, the problem was gone! So I thought, that means that the problem must be either my wireless mouse, or my regular keyboard, or the fact that my regular keyboard is on an extension cord, or that it is plugged into the back of the Mac instead of the front. (And yes, I had previously checked that the keyboard was plugged tightly into the Apple USB extension cord. It was not loose).

    So I decided to put the old things back, one by one, until the problem returned. That way I would be able to isolate the cause.

    First I removed the wired mouse and restarted the Mac with my Logitech wireless mouse working. The problem was still gone; all was well. So the trouble had not been caused by the mouse.

    Then I plugged my old keyboard, without the extension cord, into the front of the Mac, and restarted. The problem was still gone, and everything was fine. So, I thought, the problem must have been caused by either the extension cord, or the fact that I was plugging the keyboard into the back of the Mac (and in fact I was plugging it into a USB 3 port in a PCIe card).

    So I put the extension cord back on the keyboard, and plugged it back into the card in the back of the Mac (the same port as before).

    And on restart, the problem was still gone, and it has not come back. All is well! But why? Everything is now exactly the way it was before, except now the problem is gone, and after multiple restarts it has not returned.

    I am happy, but I am also confused. What caused the problem? I have now restarted the Mac many times and the trouble has not returned. Everything is working great!

    This is the kind of thing that makes me think that I’ll never make sense of computers. There must be an element of voodoo here!
     
  13. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #13
    Good to hear it's working again !

    Judging by your description, you might have had a USB connection gone wonky between keyboard and computer , which got fixed when you disconnected and reconnected the cables .

    Never underestimate the power of unplugging ! ;)
     
  14. Tom762 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2018
    #14
    Thanks for the comment, barman. You are probably right.

    I think about the only thing that I did not unplug and replug the first time was the extension cord for the keyboard. All I did the first time was try to push it tighter together, and I found that it was already tight.

    The second time, however, I unplugged the extension cord and then plugged it back together again. Maybe that did the trick. I can’t think of what else might have.

    All this computer stuff is magic to me anyway—good or bad.

    I did read somewhere that some person left instructions to his family that if he were ever in a hospital in a coma, and on life support, they should unplug his life support and then plug it back in again, and wait to see what happened. If he did not wake up then, they could pull it permanently.
     

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