Started PB on mains but switched to battery as mains power is a bit ropy here. Machine was slow to start but normal but when the wallpaper painted all normal menubar stuff on right appeared but not on the silver Apple menu bar and I had a beachball instead of the normal cursor. Looked pretty nice actually but indicated Finder had not started. Sure enough, when I clicked the Finder icon on the dock it would not respond. Other apps and applets were OK so started Terminal, from the dock, and repaired permissions and tidied up the daily, weekly and monthly maintenance. Should have done both last software update a couple of nights ago but didn't. All indications normal (except that both tasks seemed to take a longish time). Closed Terminal but still had beachball but no Finder. None of the keyboard shortcuts for shutting down would work. Thought to jolt it a bit so closed the lid but machine would not go into sleep. Hmm, reopen lid and within 30 secs, screen blanks and machine sleeps. Watch pulsing light and think . . . close lid, watch pulsing light, open lid and screen comes on - Beachball but no Finder. Also couldn't open a second account I'd made for testing purposes either - wouldn't accept the password. Well, its a laptop so out with the battery, wait a minute or two, reinsert battery. Press power button, get bong, everything comes up normal. Repair permissions again, do the periodic maint again, run thru keyboard shortcuts that didn't work before - all work. Restart, then delete and reinstall second account. A couple of questions: The power in this part of the world is very dodgy. I'm running on battery because when the machine is plugged into the mains I get a very noticeable vibration, not a shock, thru the body of the computer. Don't get it at work where the power is pretty well conditioned. Will this hurt the machine eventually? Has anyone else had this problem and noticed it to be the precursor to more serious problems? Any comments are welcome as long as they don't include the suggestion that I should visit an Apple store or certified repair shop - they're a long way away. Lessons learned (which is why this is in the software not hardware section) is to run Repair Permissions both before and after a Software Update. Second is that this forum is a lifesaver. I used the Common Keyboard Shortcuts from Diatribe's Mac Starter Guide. It was great help but on a Powerbook (this version anyway) Control-Eject brings up the Shutdown dialog box, not Control-F12. Usual apologies for length of post but hope it helps someone.