Noticing more Beach Balls, how do I minimize them?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by macswitcha2, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. macswitcha2 macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2008
    I have noticed beach balls a couple of times in a day.

    Does any of you advanced Mac users know what I can do or check to see why the beach balls appear? They do not occur a lot but I want to nip it in the butt you know.
  2. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    There can be a variety of culprits...

    - They can be caused by a data bus delay with some external (usually) device you have, e.g. something on a USB or Firewire port

    - They can be caused by a program that has corrupt preferences or which is locking up for some other reason

    - They happen more often when disk space is very low -- check your free disk space on your main drive and see if you can't get at least 10% or 8GB (whichever is greater) free.

    - Most commonly, they are due to running out of physical memory. You can check this by opening Activity Monitor (in the Utilities folder) and then choosing the system memory page in the lower part. The page-outs are listed there. If this number is large and is going up consistently over the course of your use, then you would have significantly better performance if you were to get more RAM. Depending on which version of OS X you are using, you can (if getting more RAM is not an option) conserve memory by doing things like using less programs at once, disabling dashboard, and perhaps disabling spotlight and spaces.
  4. macswitcha2 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2008
    Thanks members,

    I don't think it is Ram issue because my iMac is pretty new, and has 4 GB of memory. It is not disk space because out of my 232.89 GB disk space, I have only used 30.14GB.

    I will check f it is any external device. I only plug in my digital camera, my iPod, and USB thumb drive. I'll check those out.

    However, how do I check for corrupt preferences in programs?

    Thanks Chapper for the helpful link.
  5. wesleyh macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2007
    Macs in general cannot be optimized contrary to what many people would lead you to believe.

    Yes, you can do some general tests, but digging in deep like you can in windows is simply impossible.
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Okay, soo you can check memory off the list, most likely, and drive space. Hmmm, that will make it a little harder. Probably the best thing you can do is try, for a while, to leave activity monitor open. Get a view of active processes in it, and leave it on one side of your screen, exposed so you can see it, if possible. Sort it so that the processes with the highest CPU time are at the top of the list. And then watch what shows up top in that list during a beachball. That will tell you whether a driver, device, or program is causing your problem.

    One other possibility to consider is that you have some bad memory. Sometimes this causes crashes and sometimes it just causes beachballing. You might try an app like this:

    To test that, also.
  7. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    I had the beach balls appearing more often on my original CD iMac - in that case, it was corrupt permissions. After verify disk / repair permissions under disk utilities - it went away. I had to put the OSX dvd into the imac to perform repair disk - as you can't do this while running OSX normally.

    I had almost the same exact thing happen on my 24" iMac - but in this case, it was a physically failing hard drive. (upgraded to larger hd and problem went away).

    It has happened since - when my WD Mybook Pro overheats (do NOT buy this drive - go Lacie) - anyhow, when it gets hot - it'll brick my iMac with the Beach Ball of Death. Unplugging the FW800 - and my system goes straight back to normal. (@*$ing WD drive. :(
  8. macswitcha2 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2008
    checked memory with Rember all test passed.

    Im going to do the monitor thing.
  9. timestoby macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    north devon,uk
    how do you disable dashboard,spotlight and spaces

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