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Murl

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 30, 2010
62
0
I have a mid 2009 2.2ghz core 2 duo w/8gb ram and 160gb hdd. I upgraded the ram after purchase. Recently the computer just decided not to boot at all and I thought it was dead. A day later it boots up and runs really slow and I get the beach ball all of the time. It goes through periods where it will sporadically work fine and then runs really slow again. I attempted running AHT but don't have the discs. Does anyone have any ideas about how to run AHT or go about diagnosing the problem another way?

Thanks for the advice
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
727
642
Sunnyvale
I would open up Activity Monitor and start from there. When it slows down, note what processes are taking up the most resources. Check all tabs separately for CPU, RAM, disk, network - try to determine which of them is the bottleneck based on which one gets used up when the computer is running slow.
 
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KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,492
123
Kansas, USA
I'm not an expert, but I'm going to make a guess based in personal experience.

Check the cable that connects the hard drive to the logic board. These models are somewhat known for the cheap and very thin cable that can fail easily. You can find a replacement on Amazon for about $20, and iFixit has a guide. You can check your hard drive in another Mac or using a USB connector.

I've had cables fail a number of times in my mid-2009, so I'm reasonably sure that's what's wrong. That, or your hard drive might be going bad. But in 4 years my hard drive has never been the issue.
 
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themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
727
642
Sunnyvale
I would also suggest you consider getting yourself an SSD instead of the hard disk, especially if something is wrong with your current HDD. If 128GB SSD will be enough for you to replace that 160GB HDD, it's not terribly expensive in that size.

If you do upgrade that, you'll wonder how you ever used your computer before. An HDD will seem like a defect, even if working perfectly :D
 
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Murl

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 30, 2010
62
0
I considered upgrading to an SSD but would hate to spend the money if it turns out to be the logic board or something that makes it too expensive to justify fixing. It seemed like a hdd issue to me when it was having trouble booting and miraculously started working again.

Is there any way to check that cable other than buying a new one? I'm a student and would like to diagnose the problem before ordering parts if possible.

----------

I would open up Activity Monitor and start from there. When it slows down, note what processes are taking up the most resources. Check all tabs separately for CPU, RAM, disk, network - try to determine which of them is the bottleneck based on which one gets used up when the computer is running slow.

I'm going to start watching the activity monitor while I'm using it and will report back if I see anything of significance.
 
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BrettApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,120
444
Heart of the midwest
Highly likely that the HDD is going out. Make sure you have a backup of anything important and grab a new one. A 500GB HDD can be had for cheap, but if you don't need all the space, I would highly recommend an SSD however.

One quick and easy way to check is SMART Utility (http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php)

It may show some bad sectors that could be causing issues. I would start with that and go on from there.
 
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KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,492
123
Kansas, USA
I considered upgrading to an SSD but would hate to spend the money if it turns out to be the logic board or something that makes it too expensive to justify fixing. It seemed like a hdd issue to me when it was having trouble booting and miraculously started working again.

Is there any way to check that cable other than buying a new one? I'm a student and would like to diagnose the problem before ordering parts if possible.

----------



I'm going to start watching the activity monitor while I'm using it and will report back if I see anything of significance.

I'm a college student too, so I feel you. You can always take it to the Genius Bar if you're close to an Apple Store or any authorized service provider. At least at Apple it's a free diagnosis, and you're not obligated to have them fix it. Having them do it is something like $50-$75, so in the grand scheme of things it's not horribly expensive.

Unfortunately in my experience it's not just one cable and then the issue goes away. I've gone through probably five cables in the last two years. Anymore I suspect that something is wrong with the logic board connector, but I haven't figured out what.
 
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