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MacBook Pro acting weird

phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
I don’t really know how to explain what’s going on with my Mac, so bear with me.

Since a few months ago my Mac started to lag. It freezes for a seconds or so then comes back. And it happens almost every minute.

At first I thought it was caused by some open app, so I restarted the Mac and it kept happening – even though I was only using Finder since I restarted.

Then I tried repairing disk permissions and nothing changed. I tried I clean install of OS X and it’s still the same. Tried to reset SMC and NVRAM, still no change.

I tried keeping track of Activity Monitor and logs but nothing unusual seems to show up. On Activity Monitor, under Disk tab, the freezes sometimes are in sync with data written/sec peaks.

Any ideas what could it be?

Here are my specs:
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.9 GHz Intel Core i7
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
750 GB SATA HD
OS X Yosemite 10.10.4

Please help! It’s almost unbearable to use my Mac right now. I can’t listen to music or write anything without if freezing every ten words.

EDIT:
Solved. It was being caused by a dying HDD. I switched to SSD and now my MacBook is even faster then when I first bought it!
 
Last edited:

\-V-/

Suspended
May 3, 2012
3,155
2,689
Your hard drive could be dying. Might want to back up your stuff just in case.
 
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yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
I don’t really know how to explain what’s going on with my Mac, so bear with me.

Since a few months ago my Mac started to lag. It freezes for a seconds or so then comes back. And it happens almost every minute.

At first I thought it was caused by some open app, so I restarted the Mac and it kept happening – even though I was only using Finder since I restarted.

Then I tried repairing disk permissions and nothing changed. I tried I clean install of OS X and it’s still the same. Tried to reset SMC and NVRAM, still no change.

I tried keeping track of Activity Monitor and logs but nothing unusual seems to show up. On Activity Monitor, under Disk tab, the freezes sometimes are in sync with data written/sec peaks.

Any ideas what could it be?

Here are my specs:
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
2.9 GHz Intel Core i7
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
750 GB SATA HD
OS X Yosemite 10.10.4

Please help! It’s almost unbearable to use my Mac right now. I can’t listen to music or write anything without if freezing every ten words.
Sounds like a dead hard drive. You should take this opportunity to upgrade to an SSD.
 
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Dead0k

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2015
246
197
Poland
yep. dying HDD. had the same but my freezes were up to 90 sec once in a while. replace it asap
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
Sorry for taking such a long time to reply! I was out of town and without my MBP.

I ran AHT for extended testing twice and no trouble was found.
Could it be a dying HD or a faulty ribbon cable?
 
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iPad Retina

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2013
759
65
Toronto
Sorry for taking such a long time to reply! I was out of town and without my MBP.

I ran AHT for extended testing twice and no trouble was found.
Could it be a dying HD or a faulty ribbon cable?
I had a similar issue, I use to have a mid 2010 base with a hdd drive and things seem to have lagged up quite a bit. Safari took a long time to pop up and so as other applications. I think it's a hard drive issue too. Back it up, could save you couple hundred in data recovery.
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,123
Sorry for taking such a long time to reply! I was out of town and without my MBP.

I ran AHT for extended testing twice and no trouble was found.
Could it be a dying HD or a faulty ribbon cable?

Yes it could. Try booting it from an an external drive if you can, then, if the computer is fine, you know it's the hard drive or cable.
 
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ZVH

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2012
381
51
I'd suggest going to http://scsc-online.com and go to the how-to section, then read some of the articles on problems with bad hard drives and SSDs (and systems). It could easily be the hard drive, but it could be a system problem as well. It could even be a software problem. The best advice is, like the other said, to try another hard drive with it. If you don't have one I'd suggest getting one and if you don't have backups, now is the time to do it.

You could split the partition on an external into two parts and install an OS on one partition and use the other for Time Machine backups. This would always give you an emergency boot partition on the external drive in the event stuff like this happens again, and in the event the drive is going bad you'd be able to back it up. I would not recommend cloning the problematic drive because if there is some sort of software or kext issue the problem would likely be cloned over.

If, after installing the OS, boot from the external. If the problems go away then it's likely the internal HD or the cable. If the problems continue it's unfortunately probably system related.

One of the shortcomings of AHT is that it tests stuff at very low levels and although good at that it can't thermally load the system. If the problem is heat related it will often never appear with those tests. I also don't believe AHT does any real tests on the drive other than a SMART status check, and SMART will often miss a lot.
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
Thanks for the answers, people!

I don't have an external or spare HD, but I'm gonna try installing OS X (or Ubuntu?) on my 16gb USB drive tonight.
 
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CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,809
1,028
Oregon, USA
Thanks for the answers, people!
I don't have an external or spare HD, but I'm gonna try installing OS X (or Ubuntu?) on my 16gb USB drive tonight.
Does this mean NO back ups? A Time Machine back up and a clone (using Disk Utility, Carbon Copy Cloner, or Super Duper) are bootable. The advantage of a clone is that it is a fully functioning backup of you internal drive that could have you back up in a few minutes plus mitigate the risk of losing your data.

I would recommend getting an external drive and back up regularly. If you have a failing internal drive then you risk losing all of your data as iPad Retina said.
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
Last night I ran Ubuntu from a USB drive and everything worked smoothly. I actually kept using it for a few hours (off-topic: turns out Ubuntu is pretty cool), so it's most certainly a problem with my HD or cable as some of you noted.

Now, since I don't have a spare HD, how can I be sure if it is caused by the HD or the cable? Is there a way to test it via software?

PS: I do have backup of all my data. In the cloud and on a shared external HD -- since it is shared with a Windows user I couldn't just take it to make it bootable for testing.
 
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Mnowell69

macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2013
246
36
Bedford, UK
Last night I ran Ubuntu from a USB drive and everything worked smoothly. I actually kept using it for a few hours (off-topic: turns out Ubuntu is pretty cool), so it's most certainly a problem with my HD or cable as some of you noted.

Now, since I don't have a spare HD, how can I be sure if it is caused by the HD or the cable? Is there a way to test it via software?

PS: I do have backup of all my data. In the cloud and on a shared external HD -- since it is shared with a Windows user I couldn't just take it to make it bootable for testing.

No way to test it. cheapest thing to change, and the most likely culprit, is the cable. Plus if you buy it from a place like Amazon etc, you can send it back if you have to
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
31,175
10,894
California
Now, since I don't have a spare HD, how can I be sure if it is caused by the HD or the cable? Is there a way to test it via software?

The way to narrow it down a little more would be to buy a cheap USB external drive enclosure and pop the drive in there and option key boot to it. If the problem goes away, you know it is the internal cable. If the problem is still there, now you know it is the drive.
 
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BradHatter

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2014
191
13
Last night I ran Ubuntu from a USB drive and everything worked smoothly. I actually kept using it for a few hours (off-topic: turns out Ubuntu is pretty cool), so it's most certainly a problem with my HD or cable as some of you noted.

Now, since I don't have a spare HD, how can I be sure if it is caused by the HD or the cable? Is there a way to test it via software?

PS: I do have backup of all my data. In the cloud and on a shared external HD -- since it is shared with a Windows user I couldn't just take it to make it bootable for testing.

Scannerz could test the drive, the cables, and the logic board I/O subsystem , but not from Ubuntu. It's a Mac-only product. Maybe there's some Linux product out there you could try. If the system runs OK with Ubuntu then logic board problems can be ruled out. I have seen some software snafus that can act like drive problems, so one thing to try, just to rule them out, might be to boot the system in Safe Mode:

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201262

If the problems all of a sudden go away then it's something loaded or being loaded causing lock ups. A long time ago I used a third party RAID software package and when I went from Lion to Mountain Lion the drivers weren't compatible and I kept getting delays just like there was something wrong with the drive and it was solved once I got rid of the incompatible kernel extensions, so software can make your system act like it has something wrong.

Anyway, it's a free check…no parts, no money.
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
The way to narrow it down a little more would be to buy a cheap USB external drive enclosure and pop the drive in there and option key boot to it. If the problem goes away, you know it is the internal cable. If the problem is still there, now you know it is the drive.
Yes! As it turns out, a friend of mine has one of these enclosures. I'm gonna get it with him and test this weekend.

Scannerz could test the drive, the cables, and the logic board I/O subsystem , but not from Ubuntu. It's a Mac-only product. Maybe there's some Linux product out there you could try. If the system runs OK with Ubuntu then logic board problems can be ruled out.
BradHatter, Ubuntu only runs smoothly through an external drive. Also, I tried running OS X in Safe Mode and had no luck.
 
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MisterSensitive

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2012
121
4
I am having a nearly identical problem. I just upgraded my 480G SSD to a 960G SSD, so I doubt it's the drive starting to fail (as I understand it, SSD's give no forewarning of failure. I backup regularly, so I have that covered. I am noticing it happens when I'm really pushing the machine (I use it as a DAW running some very big projects), but only since the SSD upgrade have I noticed it happening.

I'm going to use Activity Monitor frequently, to see if it sees anything during the freezes.
 
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bmizzy

macrumors newbie
Aug 27, 2015
3
0
I am having a nearly identical problem. I just upgraded my 480G SSD to a 960G SSD, so I doubt it's the drive starting to fail (as I understand it, SSD's give no forewarning of failure. I backup regularly, so I have that covered. I am noticing it happens when I'm really pushing the machine (I use it as a DAW running some very big projects), but only since the SSD upgrade have I noticed it happening.

I'm going to use Activity Monitor frequently, to see if it sees anything during the freezes.



2-month old MBP 2015, 512GB SSD. Very similar issue(s)
 
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ZVH

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2012
381
51
I would be surprised, especially on a new unit, if it's the SSD or the cable. More than likely the OS, especially if it's El Capitan. El Capitan is in beta and should be treated accordingly, meaning don't expect it to be bug free.
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
I've tried my HD in an USB external drive enclosure and the problem persisted -- meaning it's probably a failing HD and not a faulty cable.

I was already thinking about upgrading to SSD anyway so I'll see my failing HD as an opportunity. ;)
 
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phmigotto

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2015
7
3
Just to give this thread some closure in case someone in the future has the same problem:

It was being caused by a dying HDD. I switched to SSD and now my MacBook is even faster then when I first bought it!

Thanks, guys!
 
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ZVH

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2012
381
51
Sorry for taking such a long time to reply! I was out of town and without my MBP.

I ran AHT for extended testing twice and no trouble was found.
Could it be a dying HD or a faulty ribbon cable?

For future reference to anyone, Disk Utility an AHT typically don't test the drive's media for errors…at least not the consumer versions.
 
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