Powerbook REALLY slow...What's wrong??

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by sjjordan, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. sjjordan macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2003
    United States
    I have a 400 mhz G3 "firewire" powerbook with 640 MB Ram, and everything else is factory. It has always been pretty perky in reacting to my requests, but lately simple things like hitting the screen-dim button or turning up the volume causes the computer to freeze for a while (3-5 seconds).

    It's never done this before. What do you think is wrong???

    I bought Norton Utilities 7 and optimized it. Didn't help
  2. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Dec 14, 2001
    Stay away from Norton, you should try Disk Warrior and Optimizer Plus instead. How's your HD space? When was the last time you did a fsck -y? (assuming you're on X)
  3. sjjordan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2003
    United States
    I've used up about 70% of my hard drive space. I don't know what fsck -y is...What does that do?

    I'm running 10.2.8
  4. Dale Sorel macrumors 6502a

    Dale Sorel

    Jan 12, 2003
    That, plus just 640 MB of RAM, could be a part of the problem.
  5. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    pull up a terminal screen and run top.

    you might have some background processes taking up some CPU time...

    that and the HD, as the prev. poster suggested... though that shouldn't affect things like turning up the volume...
  6. sjjordan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2003
    United States
    I ran the top function and attached a pic of it to this reply. It was run with ONLY terminal running. Nothing else.

    I don't understand how 640 MB ram can make my computer slow? I've had this much for about 2 years and it has been great until recently.

    Attached Files:

  7. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    fsck is a Unix program that, when coupled with the -y will find and repair any problems with your disk. And I would reccomend DiskWarrior over Norton as well. Supposedly the directory repair is far superior.
  8. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Jun 23, 2003
    St Augustine, FL
    Norton is evil, I once used System Utilities to "optimize" my Gateway and it screwed it up beyond belief. I took it to a Gateway store and them told me quite literally "Do not ever EVER install Norton onto a computer, it will screw it up and Gateway does not support it." In general, I stay away from Norton altogether, it just isn't worth the money and all the headaches from what I've heard from others, either.

    That being said, perhaps a repair of permissions, scan of the hard drive, and possibly reset of the PMU is needed.
  9. pianojoe macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2001
    N 49.50121 E008.54558
    fsck works like this

    (excerpt from the Apple knowledge database)

    The fsck utility is run from the command line. This means that you must type a text command at a prompt (#), rather than using the mouse pointer to open an application. Examples of a CLI are the Terminal application and single-user mode. You should start up in single-user mode to use fsck.

    How to start up in single-user mode

    1. Restart the computer (see Note).
    2. Immediately after the startup sound, press and hold both the Command (Apple) and "s" keys on your keyboard. The computer will display a series of text messages, at which time you may release these keys.

    When the computer has started up, it will display a command line prompt (#). The computer is now in single-user mode.

    Note: If necessary, perform a forced restart as described in the Emergency Troubleshooting Handbook that came with your computer. On desktop computers, this is generally achieved by pressing the reset/interrupt button, which is marked with a triangle. On portable computers, this is generally achieved by pressing the Command-Control-power keys. If a portable computer does not respond to this method, you may need to reset the power manager. See technical document 14449, "PowerBook and iBook: Resetting Power Management Unit (PMU)".

    How to Use fsck From the Command Line:

    Once you have reached a command line, follow these steps to use fsck:

    1. At the prompt, type: fsck -y
    2. Press Return.

    The fsck utility will go through five "phases" and then return information about the disk's utilization and fragmentation. Once the check is finished, if no issue is found, you should see "** The volume <name of volume> appears to be OK."

    If fsck alters, repairs, or fixes anything, it will display the message:


    Important: If this message appears, repeat the "fsck -y" command until this message no longer appears. It is normal for your computer to require several "passes" of fsck, because first-pass repairs may uncover additional errors.

    3. When fsck reports that no problems were found, type: reboot
    4. Press Return.

    The computer should start up normally and allow you to log in.
  10. sjjordan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2003
    United States

    I ran fsck -y and my laptop runs SO much faster!!!! I can dim/brighten the screen, change the volume, and have no pauses incurring!

    Thanks for all your advise and help!

    How often do you guys run fsck?

    Death to Norton Software!
  11. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    You shouldn't have to run it unless your filesystem gets corrupted, either by powering off without shutting down gracefully or programs crashing while performing operations.

    If the filesystem is ok, fsck should run quickly so it's no big deal to run it often.
  12. illumin8 macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2003
    East Coast, US
    Also, don't run fsck if you're using Panther with journalling enabled (this is the default for a clean install of Panther). It's not necessary and it could cause filesystem corruption on a good filesystem. Journalling removes the need for this.
  13. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    Never never never use that Norton crap.

    It's absolute garbage, and it will screw your system beyond repair. I've seen it happen time and time again.

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