MacBook Pro EPICALLY slow - how can it be remedied?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mildredop, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    My friend's MacBook Pro (2011 15", 2GHz i7 running OS X 10.9.4) is incredibly, ridiculously slow. I'd be interested to know how to improve it.

    Some examples:

    Start-up takes several minutes.

    Clicking on the Apple logo gives a spinning wheel for about 4-5 seconds before the menu appears. Then clicking 'About this Mac' gives the spinning wheel again and it takes about 20 seconds to open the About this Mac window.

    Opening Mail takes around 4 minutes.

    The whole thing is generally very, very slow.

    Any advice?!
     
  2. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #2
    Could be a sign that the hard drive is failing (I presume they've not upgraded to an SSD?). Mine started beach-balling on nearly everything I clicked on and about a month later it wouldn't boot from the HDD. Replaced it and restored from a backup and everything was fine.

    In any case, verify the disk in Disk Utility and see what it says, and make sure it's backed up.

    A reinstall of the OS could also help.
     
  3. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Great advice - first back-up was done yesterday on my advice.

    Reinstalling the OS might not be an option as there's illegal software on there that is needed for work but the owner can't afford to buy (I started a thread about that yesterday).
     
  4. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Have they checked to see how full the hard drive is? Go under the Apple symbol (upper left), choose About this Mac, and click on Storage at the top. It'll show how full the disk is. If there's very little space on it, there's your problem.

    As to your prior thread, your friend made a wrong decision. It's time to make it right. If she uses just Photoshop and Illustrator, one option would be to get the Photography CC and then choose Single App for Illustrator. That's a bit cheaper than the full Creative Cloud program. The other option - take a chance at maybe getting a legit copy of CS6 on Ebay...but they're still looking at paying almost full price for it.
     
  5. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    "Error: This disk needs to be repaired using the recovery HD"

    What does that actually mean?!

    ----------

    "346.65 GB free out of 499.25GB" so seems ok in that sense.
     
  6. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #6
    It could be a sign that there's impending failure, or it could be a sign that there are just a few corrupt blocks which need to be sorted.

    Boot into the recovery partition by restarting and holding Cmd-R at startup. From there, go into Disk Utility and click 'Repair Disk'. See if that helps.

    If it doesn't, chances are you need to buy a new hard drive. They're not very expensive though and are very easy to install.
     
  7. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Bearing in mind this isn't actually my computer, by doing this, can I ruin anything?
     
  8. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #8
    No.

    You made a backup, the worst that could happen is you give that final little push towards death to the hard drive. It would've died anyway, so what's there to lose?
     
  9. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #9
    No. All you're doing by using Repair Disk is verifying and, if problems are found, correcting issues with the directory on a disk or volume.

    Of course, if it really is failing, it could just give up at any time but that wouldn't really be your fault. As long as you have a backup you should be fine.

    Worst case scenario is that Disk Utility throws up an error when repairing it which is usually a sure sign that you need a new hard drive.

    An SSD could be bought and used in the computer which would have the added benefit of significantly speeding it up (even compared to when it was running normally.) They are no longer very expensive for smaller capacities, and since your friend is using around 150GB, a 256GB SSD could do wonders for the longevity of the machine (until it succumbs to Radeongate...)
    This SSD can be had for around £80, may be even cheaper elsewhere online: http://uk.crucial.com/gbr/en/macbook-pro-2*0ghz-intel-core-i7-(15-inch-ddr3)-early-2011/CT5419094

    With regards to losing software, if you do a clean OS install then use Migration Assistant to take things back across from the backup, you shouldn't lose anything.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    Since you made a backup, you're not going to ruin anything.

    I wouldn't upgrade the machine to an SSD though. That model is infamous for Radeongate. So it'll fail sooner or later.
     
  11. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Ok, thanks. I'm currently doing a second back-up (non-time machine) to be extra safe then I'll do the disk utility.

    The fact it said verifying would take about 11 minutes and it ended in about 30 second with the error says there's clearly a big issue!

    ----------

    I'm now trying to find out what Radeongate is. Some sort of graphics cards issue by the sounds of things?
     
  12. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #12
    You could always put it in a caddy and use it as an external drive if the computer does ever fail.

    If you're not in the position to buy a new Mac, an SSD can give it a new lease of life. If the drive is failing, the OP's friend will need a new one anyway, so it may be a good time to consider upgrading to an SSD.

    Most 2011 MBPs are still OK, so I don't think it's a good idea just to write them off completely just yet.

    ----------

    Radeongate affects the AMD Radeon graphics card in 15" and 17" early and late 2011 MBPs. It usually manifests as artefacts on the display followed by a completely blank screen and the computer not booting.

    It does seem a widespread issue, but there's not really anything you can do about it. Possibly dust the fans if you're replacing the hard drive to help with cooling, but I think the general consensus is it's caused by the thermal paste application or the lead-free solder used to join it to the motherboard.
     
  13. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Disk repaired but it's still just as slow. Maybe the hard drive is failing then (although it's been this slow for months)
     
  14. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #14
    Hard drives tend to gradually grind to a halt before croaking. They can last a few months that way then one morning just die. If you have a known working hard drive laying around, stick it in and install OS X, see how that goes.
     
  15. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Could you explain this further? By stick it in, you mean install it?
     
  16. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #16
  17. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #17
    I'm nowhere near that experienced in computers and it's not even my computer! I thought he meant somehow loading the contents onto an external drive and then running the computer from that over firewire or something, therefore confirming whether or not the internal HDD is the problem.
     
  18. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #18
    It's not a very hard fix and Apple even state it's a user replaceable part. I'm sure you could go to the Genius Bar and get them to install it, but at some extremely high labour cost.

    Anyway, loading the contents wouldn't show anything. You need to know if it's the drive itself that has a hardware fault.

    If you're diagnosing it, I'm going to hazard a guess that your friend is less technologically inclined? If you're not comfortable swapping out the hard drive, let them take it to the Apple Store, but it's really not a difficult repair.

    You don't need to disconnect the battery as iFixit say. Just take off the back cover, unscrew the hard drive, put a new one in and screw the panel back on. From there, boot up the computer and it will automatically start downloading OS X (Lion?), or you can use a USB installer to installer a newer version from the off.

    Good luck!
     
  19. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #19
    If you are skilled enough to operate a manual screwdriver without stabbing yourself with it, you have all the skill needed to change a hard drive in a MacBook Pro.
     
  20. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #20
    OP wrote above:
    [[ My friend's MacBook Pro (2011 15", 2GHz i7 running OS X 10.9.4) is incredibly, ridiculously slow. I'd be interested to know how to improve it. ]]

    There's really only ONE THING that's going to fix this.

    If the MacBook still has a platter-based hard disk drive, install an SSD.

    That's the answer that will produce results.
     
  21. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #21
    A MBP can still run perfectly well with a HDD. An SSD would help a lot, but I wouldn't say it was the 'ONE THING' that would fix it. A new standard HDD would improve performance tremendously if the drive is failing.
     
  22. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #22
    But when I had a MacBook Pro with an HDD it ran fine. Now I have a MBP with an SSD and I can't honestly say I notice any real difference. Other than noise.

    I can't believe taking 4 minutes to open Mail is down the the fact it doesn't have an SSD.
     
  23. austinpike macrumors 6502

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    #23
    It's not. I think the point is, if you have to buy a new hard drive anyway, an SSD will make things that much better. The difference would especially be noticed opening things like large Photoshop files. But then a clean install on a new platter hard drive will feel fairly snappy also.

    Most likely the only hope of saving the software as-is, is to clone the drive with Carbon Copy Cloner or similar. What I'm not sure of, as I haven't used it in quite some time, is if CCC can clone a drive while it is booted up. You may need to be booted from a third drive.

    I would assume the HD is failing, but it could also be corrupt files in the OS contributing to the slowdowns, in which case the problem could conceivably be transferred to the new drive. So a clean install is certainly best but there is no reason not to try the cloning first and see if everything works.
     
  24. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #24
    CCC can clone a boot drive in use.
     
  25. Natzoo macrumors 65816

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