MacBook sluggish and temperamental.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Meldar, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Meldar macrumors regular


    May 3, 2008
    pocket of liberalism in farm country
    I'm under the serious impression there's something wrong with my MacBook.

    I've got a 2nd-gen MacBook, running Tiger 10.4.11, and it's only got 1GB of RAM and a 2.0GHz Intel chip.

    It's worth noting that everything in the computer is original except the hard drive. The hard drive (it's 120GB) was replaced in May of this year after a freak meltdown destroyed the other one. All other components are nearly 2 years old.

    I had a suspicion my problems below may be related to RAM, but I decided to hit these forums rather than hit the computer store for a $90 4GB RAM upgrade.


    Computer occasionally will not respond to Restart or Shut Down commands and must be hard-shutdown.

    FireFox, Shiira, and Camino will sometimes not load pages the first try.

    Computer occasionally will not mount flash drives or audio CDs. iTunes also will occasionally not recognize audio CDs.

    Cooling fan will sometimes start blowing really hard when the CPU usage is hovering around or below 20%; normally, it turns on high at 55%.


    I don't feel like being the "Elitist Mac Kid" and being cocky about Macs not getting viruses - I have a bad feeling that that's what's up, and I don't know how it could have happened.

    I have NEVER had any problems of this nature with my MacBook before. I have also not modded the system in any way recently that would have caused side effects.

    If anyone could offer me any pointers on what may be going on and how I could remedy them (ie RAM upgrade, (preferably free) antivirus software, etc) I would appreciate it greatly.

  2. Meldar thread starter macrumors regular


    May 3, 2008
    pocket of liberalism in farm country
  3. amrk47 macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2007
  4. beret9987 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Well, depending, have you tried to do a re-install of your OS on your mac? As awesome as OS X is, it still runs great if you do a fresh install. And also, if you think its the RAM, find a nice place that has a good return policy, buy some RAM and see if it cures your issues. If it doesn't, just return it. I would recommend running a memory test. I'm pretty sure you still get the Apple Hardware Test CD with your documentation. Hope that helps!
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    A single 2GB module should be enough to solve the spinning ball problems.


    But looking at the logs for errors and also checking to see which apps are hogging resources should point you to the other problems with the machine.
  6. Purple Pelican macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Start by repairing permissions through disk utility. Then run system maintenance through terminal (the periodic commands). If the problems persist, then reset the SMC. Try that, see if it makes a difference.
  7. lwongveros macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2007
    Hi Meldar, I have a Macbook that is just over 2 years old so I suspect it's very similar - White Macbook with Intel Core Duo at 2.0GHz, but I upgraded my RAM to 2GB and have a 160GB hard drive.

    I can confirm that sometimes the system gets slow, unresponsive and requires a hard shutdown. As well, even when not doing intensive computing tasks the fans blow hard. I am running Leopard 10.5.5 and can tell you that some of the earlier dot releases of Leopard caused me some real headaches and system-wide instabilities (10.5.0-10.5.3 if I recall correctly).

    Even with these instabilities, my system was far better than the Windows systems I have had in the past!!

    Given all that, I would recommend you do the following:

    1. 2GB RAM definitely DOES make a difference (and it's a small investment) unless all you do is light tasks such as surfing a few pages, light email etc. DO NOT INSTALL 4GB as the Macbook we have only recognises 2GB max!

    2. Use a freeware maintenance program such as Onyx (Google it, you'll find it fast) to do maintenance tasks such as repairing file permissions, cleaning out the caches etc.

    3. Check the programs you have installed, ensure you remove all non-essential programs, some 3rd party utilities and applications may have a detrimental effect on stability. Check which programs are automatically loading upon startup and perhaps remove them from auto-start to check stability without them loading every time. I can't remember if it's in the same place in Tiger, but go into System Preferences, Accounts and you should see a tab for "Login Items" - here you can check what programs load when it starts up...

    4. Inspect the rear of the Macbook where the air blows out the vents to ensure there is no blockage or dustballs. Ensure that when you're running your Macbook, those vents are not blocked. I notice our Macbook generation gets hot very easily and even more so when we place them on surfaces such as on top of the bed's blanket!! Harder surfaces such as a tabletop are in my opinion much better...

    Other than that, all I can say is that occasional slow-downs, hangs etc. will still happen, hey, they are computers and are not perfect! :eek:

    Hope that helps somewhat... good luck!
  8. Meldar thread starter macrumors regular


    May 3, 2008
    pocket of liberalism in farm country
    Thanks everyone - I will get to work on these tips tomorrow and see how they work.

    For the record, I want to do everything short of a full backup/wipe/OS reinstall of my hard drive. Thats the extreme and I don't have time for all that.

    Even though I have a lot of third party freeware, I haven't installed anything in about a month. Plus, all these little programs I've got have been downloaded from links on the Apple website, so I would presume they're clean and stable.
  9. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    You have overheating symptoms which sound very similar to the "over applied thermal paste" problems of other Macs. Rectifying it involves disassembly, removal of thermal paste and correct reapplication. You can DIY if you Google it, but it is not for the technically meek. Otherwise, a repair may be in order.

    Another possibility is that too many of your freeware or other apps have installed themselves as login items, meaning they would be running in the background all the time. There could also be conflicts if there are muliple app processes running all the time. Check Login Items?

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