Please Help: Seeking Intervention for my 2009 MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MimiJoy, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. MimiJoy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #1
    Hello,

    I am hoping one of you can help me. My mid 2009 MacBook Pro is extremely SLOW. I've read several of the posts regarding slow Macs but I'm hoping there is something I can do to fix it without having to upgrade it with new hardware because I do not have that skillset.

    Anyway, I read in one of the posts suggesting EtreCheck so I did that and I will post my results below. I am guessing that 1.59 GB Page-outs is not a good thing but is there anything I can do to fix it that is not too complicated?

    Anyway, thanks for your time and attention to my request--any advice/recommendations you can give me would be most appreciated. Here are my EtreCheck results:

    Hardware Information:
    MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
    MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro5,3
    1 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU: 2 cores
    4 GB RAM

    Video Information:
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M - VRAM: 256 MB
    NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT - VRAM: 256 MB

    System Software:
    OS X 10.9.2 (13C64) - Uptime: 2 days 16:42:44

    Disk Information:
    Hitachi HTS545032B9SA02 disk0 : (320.07 GB)
    EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted>: 209.7 MB
    Macintosh HD (disk0s2) / [Startup]: 319.21 GB (222.07 GB free)
    Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted>: 650 MB

    MATSHITADVD-R UJ-868

    USB Information:
    SAMSUNG SAMSUNG_Android_SCH-I535

    Apple Inc. Built-in iSight

    Apple Internal Memory Card Reader

    Apple Inc. Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad

    Apple Computer, Inc. IR Receiver

    Logitech USB Receiver

    Apple Inc. BRCM2046 Hub
    Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller

    FireWire Information:

    Thunderbolt Information:

    Launch Daemons:
    [System] com.adobe.fpsaud.plist 3rd-Party support link
    [System] com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist 3rd-Party support link

    User Launch Agents:
    [not loaded] com.adobe.ARM.[...].plist 3rd-Party support link
    [not loaded] com.apple.CSConfigDotMacCert-[...]@me.com-SharedServices.Agent.plist
    [not loaded] com.google.keystone.agent.plist 3rd-Party support link

    User Login Items:
    BusyCalAlarm
    iTunesHelper
    Spanning Sync Notifier
    Dropbox

    Internet Plug-ins:
    Flip4Mac WMV Plugin: Version: 2.4.0.11 3rd-Party support link
    FlashPlayer-10.6: Version: 12.0.0.70 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
    Default Browser: Version: 537 - SDK 10.9
    Flash Player: Version: 12.0.0.70 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
    AdobePDFViewer: Version: 9.5.5 3rd-Party support link
    QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.3
    OfficeLiveBrowserPlugin: Version: 12.2.9 3rd-Party support link
    nplastpass: Version: 2.0.15 3rd-Party support link
    SharePointBrowserPlugin: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
    Silverlight: Version: 4.0.60531.0 3rd-Party support link
    iPhotoPhotocast: Version: 7.0

    Safari Extensions:
    LastPass: Version: 3.1.0

    Audio Plug-ins:
    BluetoothAudioPlugIn: Version: 1.0 - SDK 10.9
    AirPlay: Version: 2.0 - SDK 10.9
    AppleAVBAudio: Version: 203.2 - SDK 10.9
    iSightAudio: Version: 7.7.3 - SDK 10.9

    iTunes Plug-ins:
    Quartz Composer Visualizer: Version: 1.4 - SDK 10.9

    User Internet Plug-ins:
    CitrixOnlineWebDeploymentPlugin: Version: 1.0.104 3rd-Party support link

    3rd Party Preference Panes:
    Flash Player 3rd-Party support link
    Flip4Mac WMV 3rd-Party support link

    Old Applications:
    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MERP2.0
    Microsoft Error Reporting: Version: 2.2.9 - SDK 10.4 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Ship Asserts: Version: 1.1.4 - SDK 10.4 3rd-Party support link
    Solver: Version: 1.0 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Add-Ins/Solver.app
    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office
    Microsoft Graph: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Database Utility: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Office Reminders: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Upload Center: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    My Day: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    SyncServicesAgent: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Open XML for Excel: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Alerts Daemon: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Database Daemon: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Chart Converter: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Clip Gallery: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011
    Microsoft PowerPoint: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Excel: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Outlook: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Word: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Document Connection: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    Microsoft Language Register: Version: 14.3.9 - SDK 10.5 3rd-Party support link
    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Additional Tools/Microsoft Language Register/Microsoft Language Register.app
    Microsoft AutoUpdate: Version: 2.3.6 - SDK 10.4 3rd-Party support link
    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MAU2.0/Microsoft AutoUpdate.app
    /Applications/iWork '09

    Time Machine:
    Auto backup: YES
    Time Machine not configured!

    Top Processes by CPU:
    4% WindowServer
    2% Google Chrome
    2% EtreCheck
    1% Microsoft Word
    0% com.apple.WebKit.WebContent

    Top Processes by Memory:
    242 MB com.apple.WebKit.WebContent
    106 MB Google Chrome
    90 MB Finder
    89 MB Google Chrome Helper
    61 MB WindowServer

    Virtual Memory Information:
    582 MB Free RAM
    1.36 GB Active RAM
    447 MB Inactive RAM
    689 MB Wired RAM
    14.36 GB Page-ins
    1.59 GB Page-outs
     
  2. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a

    prvt.donut

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #2
    Run a storage drive benchmark and see the result.

    A very slow HDD would make it run like mud and usually means the drive is about to die. If so, then get an SSD drive to replace it.
     
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #3
    There's no such thing as making it much faster without having to replace some hardware.

    You seem to be paging quite some RAM. At this point, you should go for 8GB of RAM, or whatever's the max your MBP supports. Plus an SSD.

    An SSD is the only way to speed up the computer quickly. And I'm talking about 11-second boot times.
     
  4. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #4
    I believe 8gb is the Max that 2009 models support.

    OP, RAM is pretty easy to change out. If you don't feel comfortable doing it, find a techie friend. It really will help things run better.

    You probably need a new hard drive as well, either another standard drive or a solid state.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #5

    RAM is very cheap these days and your MacBook can accept up to 8GB of 2*4 GB DDR3 modules running at 1066 MHz. Don't worry if you can't get 1066 as faster RAM will down clock to the 1066 MHz speed.

    As for SSDs, I highly recommend the Samsung 840 Evo. I am running it on a Mid-2012 MBP with 16 GB of RAM and it flies! It benchmarks over 460 MB/s. However, I believe your MBP is SATA-II so the benefit will not be as huge but still substantial over your slow hard drive.
     
  6. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #6
    Maybe I missed it somewhere, but I didn't see anyone inform you on what's actually going on, so I'll offer some help. Most of this is from a post I made this week to another MR member with RAM issues.

    From the look of things, you may be maxxing out your RAM; the more programs you open, the less RAM you'll have to work with. It's possible you don't know what RAM is, so let me explain it to you. RAM is super fast memory that is used by the OS to run programs. When you open a program, the program is executed, and runs in RAM. The more programs you open, then less RAM you'll have. Once you've exhausted all of your RAM, the OS starts using your hard drive (HDD) as virtual memory, and since the HDD is so much slower than RAM, you end up getting a very slow computer.

    One of the giveaways is the amount of virtual memory you have, and how often that virtual memory is used (your amount of page outs). So with that being said, to breathe new life into your Mac, upgrade your RAM. Your particular model can be maxxed out at 8GB, which is what you'll want, so order 2 sticks of RAM at 4GB per stick.

    You don't have to have Apple cert'd RAM from your MBP; you just need the correct size dimms and clock speed. Your MBP uses 204-pin SO-DIMM at 1066 MHz (aka PC-8500). I pick whatever's got decent reviews and low cost. Brands that I've personally used are Mushkin, OWC, Kingston and Corsair, and would recommend any one of them. Also, if the memory doesn't have a lifetime warranty, it's a no buy for me.

    When purchasing, I use either newegg.com, macsales.com, or amazon.com. Any one of the links I've provided will take you to the RAM product page that corresponds to the type of RAM that your specific computer uses, with the exception of amazon.com, which may include RAM that is "similar" to the searched for results, so pay attention to the products listed there.

    It's an easy task to change out your RAM. Visit here Apple.com or here iFixIt.com for instructions.
     
  7. MimiJoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #7
    Thanks so much for your detailed feedback. Your explanation about RAM makes a lot of sense to me as I tend to have a lot of programs open. I will review the links you provided about how I can replace the RAM myself. I tend to feel "overwhelmed" by the thought of these things (in case I mess them up)--but this might be a good "barrier" for me to overcome so I can feel more confident in my ability to do this myself. Again, thank you for your generosity in taking the time to provide me with this feedback... :)

    ----------

    Thank you for your feedback. I am going to look into how I can replace the RAM myself. :)
     
  8. jamesjingyi macrumors 6502a

    jamesjingyi

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    This should help:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2009+RAM+Replacement/1334
     
  9. princealyy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    #9
    Sometimes a simple reformat works too, I know most people like to replace hardware, and honestly I think the SSD will give you the best return for speed if that is something you are willing to do.

    I would personally replace the HD to SSD & 4 GB to 8 GB ram and you will probably be good to go for a few years.

    I know that is what I did with our Macbook Pro (2006 version) and my brother is still using it daily and it has juice to spare (granted he doesn't do anything too intensive, but similar to what you have going on)

    Worst case scenario .. find a friend, you are looking about about $300 in upgrades and about 3 - 5 hours of work to reformat and really give yourself a good unit.
     
  10. KUguardgrl13, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014

    KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #10
    If you aren't up to messing with hard drives yet, you can try repairing disk permissions to speed things up a little bit.

    Repair disk permissions to speed up your Mac

    Edit: Sorry tried to post from my phone lol...
     
  11. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #11
    You're welcome. I'm glad I could be of some help.
     
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #12
    Machine is going on 5 years, so don't expect wonders.

    RAM upgrade + SSD is what you can do, and you can expect a nice boost in system responsiveness. In my opinion the SSD is more important than the RAM, but others will disagree on that. Both is better of course.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    The swap outs are an indication that your 4GB of ram is insufficient, I echo what the others mentioned. Upgrade your ram, plus if you go with an SSD, that will also further increase your performance.
     
  14. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #14
    The skill set is being able to operate a screwdriver. Anyone over 12 should be able to open a Macbook, replace two SIMMs (upgrade to 8GB), and swap the SSD. There are many movies on YouTube for doing same. Last Friday I upgraded the niece's white MB 7,1 250GB HD to Samsung 840 EVO 500GB. I also upgraded her MB to Mavericks and turned on trim.

    With the HD boot time was 1:03. With the SSD boot time was 0:25. Big improvement also in app launch time. She was very happy with the improvement.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    To the original poster:

    My guess is that your internal drive has become hopelessly fragmented, and that the lack of "contiguous free space" is messing with the OS's virtual memory, causing page outs/ins to be slow, thus slowing down the machine.

    Simple question:
    Do you have an external drive available, large enough to hold the contents of the internal drive?

    There's an easy way to get rid of the fragmentation and get all your free space "together again" at the "end" of the internal HDD.

    What to do:
    1. Use CarbonCopyCloner (FREE to download and use for 30 days) to clone the contents of your internal drive to an external drive
    2. Boot from the external clone (restart and hold down the option key until the startup manager appears, then select external drive and hit return)
    3. Once up and running from the clone, RE-initialize the internal drive (yes, re-initialize).
    4. Now, RE-CLONE the contents of the external drive BACK TO the internal drive.

    Why this will help:
    When the back is re-cloned to the internal drive, the files will all be copied _contiguously_. When done, you will have restored an area of "free space" at the "end" of the drive. This space is used by the OS for VM and other temp files.

    My guess is that after doing this, things will go much better....

    I have a 2010 MacBook Pro, and it still runs as clean as when I bought it.
    Yours still has years of life left in it.
    You might also consider an SSD -- they've come down in price and now are very affordable in the 240-250gb size range.
     
  16. ecschwarz macrumors 6502a

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #16
    To the OP, it's probably a mix of not enough RAM, a slow hard drive, and maybe general crap on the drive (or needing a new installation of OS X). Although it is an old computer, it's still pretty capable, and I also vote for upping the RAM to 8GB and an SSD (and my current pick is also the 840 Evo). Both upgrades are pretty easy to install and your computer will feel much snappier. Here's a machine slightly faster than yours before and after an SSD upgrade:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX1Hrh88wpw
     
  17. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #17
    I appreciate you trying to help the OP, and I don't want to sound rude, but please don't suggest "fixes" for computer problems when you don't have enough general computer and Mac knowledge to diagnose the problem. Please don't "guess" what a user's problems are. What will happen, is you'll confuse the person, and waste their time and money doing things that are completely unnecessary.

    Case in point-- The OP has:
    1. RAM: 4GB of RAM

    2. Virtual Memory Information:
    582 MB Free RAM
    1.36 GB Active RAM
    447 MB Inactive RAM
    689 MB Wired RAM
    14.36 GB Page-ins
    1.59 GB Page-outs

    3. Disk Information:
    Hitachi HTS545032B9SA02 disk0 : (320.07 GB)
    Macintosh HD (disk0s2) / [Startup]: 319.21 GB (222.07 GB free)

    What we can see here, is that not only has the OP used the 4GB of onboard RAM, the computer is also using 1.5GB of virtual memory, has 1.59GB in page outs, and also has 222.07GB of free storage out of the total 320GB HDD. To someone that knows how to diagnose and repair computer issues, there is no doubt that the primary issue with the OP's computer is a lack of RAM. If the OP followed your suggestions, they'd be led down a rabbit hole with nothing to show at the end. A hard drive with ~75% free space is not "hopelessly fragmented" and nowhere near that, besides the fact that Macs don't need to be defragmented.

    Again, I'm not trying to be rude here, but I'd rather just be blunt than spending time trying to be soft about it.
     
  18. MimiJoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #18
    Thanks, everyone, for your willingness to take the time and provide feedback and recommendations. I am going to watch some of the instructional videos and gather up my courage to add the RAM and SSD. The RAM looks easy...the SSD scares me a little. Wish me luck... :)
     
  19. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #19
    You might want to try just the ram first and see what results you get. It's relatively cheap and easy to do. If you decide it's still too slow, then do the SSD upgrade. That's a bit more difficult but still a user task.
     
  20. ecschwarz macrumors 6502a

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #20
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #21
    [[ I appreciate you trying to help the OP, and I don't want to sound rude, but please don't suggest "fixes" for computer problems when you don't have enough general computer and Mac knowledge to diagnose the problem. Please don't "guess" what a user's problems are. What will happen, is you'll confuse the person, and waste their time and money doing things that are completely unnecessary. ]]

    I've probably been a Mac user longer than you've been alive. My first Mac was a dual-drive floppy-powered Mac SE in 1987. What was yours?

    4gb of RAM is fine for many users. I use 4gb in both my MBPro and Late-2012 Mini, and normally get no page outs at all. I do audio production on my iMac, and that only has 2.5gb of RAM. it really depends on what the user is doing.

    Perhaps he just keeps loading apps, never shuts the thing off or never restarts.
    More than a few folks do this, and never have a clue as to why the computer could become "clogged up" and unresponsive.

    Sometimes the easiest "fix" is to simply power off, then power back up.
    Or at the very least, log out and then log back in.

    On a 4-year old computer, he almost certainly could do with a simple defragging of the drive, as well. It will get rid of the [proabably hundreds/thousands of) bits of free space that develop between the files during normal usage.

    I would be suspicious of the MS Silverlight, as well. I've never touched it, but have read reports from others that it can be problematical.

    An SSD would help. Can literally make an older Mac "spring back to life". 128-240gb seems to be "the sweet spot" right now, price-wise. A cheap and easy upgrade.
     
  22. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #22
    I have to agree with BigBeast, your analysis of the OPs problems is wrong. Fragmentation is most likely not an issue when 2/3 of the HDD are empty.

    The OP runs out of RAM, the OS writes memory content to the slow HDD and there comes the beachball.

    This just makes it obvious that having had Macs for 20+ years doesn't make you more knowledgeable on modern (Intel) Macs.
    On the other hand you could maybe learn how to properly quote a post ;)
     
  23. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #23
    Thank you for saving me some time. :D
     
  24. MimiJoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #24
    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to update you that I successfully upgraded my RAM and it really was quite easy and fast. My fear about what the process might be was much worse than the reality. I had to buy a special toolkit that had the right bits to open the back of the Mac but that, too, was quite easy.

    Results: well, I do notice some improvement with speed (and fewer "beach balls") but not as much as I guess I was hoping for. Now I am trying to get up the courage to upgrade to a SSD. I'm not so concerned about replacing the hardware (after my success with the RAM); I'm more concerned about the transfer of data/programs from my old drive to the new one. I will have to watch some videos on this to increase my comfort level that I can do this.

    Anyway, just wanted to update you on my RAM success and to say "thanks" for the previous posts with suggestions and encouragement.
     
  25. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #25
    You can simply insert any OS X disk and hold C. Then restore the old hard drive connected via USB to the SSD. Just make sure you format the new SSD first.
     

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