Slow launches on 27" i7 iMac - super frustrating!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by OldCorpse, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    OK, in general, I've been very, very happy with the 27" i7 I bought this February (i.e. previous version, not the very latest). But in recent weeks a problem has been getting worse and worse.

    My specs: 27" i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, running 10.6.4. with all the updates.

    I have 2 external HDD hooked up to my iMac - one of them running TimeMachine. I've had this setup from day one, back in February.

    Problem: the last few weeks, I cannot launch anything without several seconds, sometimes as long as 20 seconds of the iMac stalling while the external HDDs spin up. It's crazy - there's no reason for them to spin up. There's always been the intermittent idiotic problem with this when you "Save" in OS X - any document or whatever, before the dialogue comes up, it spins up all the external drives... it's stupid, but OK, at least it makes some kind of sense, in case you want to save to an external drive. But in recent weeks it's gotten ridiculous - it now spins up the stupid external drives when I launch any random program, for example it just happened when I launched Apple's Dictionary app! I mean there's no reason on earth why the iMac should stall and spin up the external drives before it launches the freakin' dictionary!!! It even happens sometimes - and I have no idea why - that it hesitates and spins up the drives when I'm trying to write an email in Gmail in Safari!! It's absolutely insane.

    This is so frustrating. This iMac used to be so fast. Now it's constantly throwing up spinning balls every time I try to launch anything. Aargh! It's a chore to operate this computer now.

    I can't think of what changed. The HDD is not full by any means. I've repaired permissions until I'm blue in the face, I've rebooted, I've connected and disconnected the external drives. Nada. WTF???! Any ideas? TIA!
  2. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
    Have you tried a test account to see if the issue is system wide?
  3. dnenciu macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2007
    I have the exact same issue with my 17" Imac that has 2 external drives connected. It even happens when opening safari or some other programs that have nothing to do with the external disks.

    I also observed this on my mbp that has an ssd all of a sudden it started slowing down and than I realized that I had an external usb drive connected to it.

    I would really like to know if there is any workaround for this.
  4. JAPears macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2010
    tried going into preferences then startup disk, and then selecting your primary boot drive, this fixed the issue for me
  5. ottonomy macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    Dictionary is the application that's been driving me nuts with its slow launch, and sent me searching for a resolution. Every time I launch it, not only do I have to wait for external drives to spin up, I get to listen to several seconds of intense hard drive activity. This is a fairly lightweight app, but I swear, Photoshop CS5 launches faster. It's practically a dead heat between Dictionary and MS Word '08... I don't understand this. I have experienced this with other applications as well, so it's not an isolated issue with Dictionary on my machine.

    21" iMac 3.06 4GB 10.6.4
  6. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    I still have the same problem, worse than ever. I'm very busy right now, but some time in November, I'm gonna call AppleCare. This is ridiculous. Btw. selecting boot drive (it was already selected) does nothing to fix this. It's really bad - the stupid thing will spin and spin and spin when I'm just emptying trash! Ridiculous.
  7. KRDHarris macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2004
    I have same problem; $$$ spent on fast quad core but I wait and wait for spin up…

    I have been experiencing the same problem on an external drive that I use only for Time Machine, which I would think is a quite common scenario. It seems worse on my quad-core iMac and Snow Leopard than it was on my G4 iMac with Leopard! It is REALLY frustrating to have spent all that money on a "fast" quad-core and then have to repeatedly wait for 10 - 20 seconds every time Mac OS X decides to spin the drive up; which is not just for MS Office, but for a wide variety of Apple and non-Apple apps.

    Has anyone got an explanation from Apple as to what software module causes this, (I assume it is one called from lots of different apps), and what it is looking for on the Time Machine (or other) drive?

    It would seem fairly simple to optionally flag a drive as dedicated to Time Machine, and never spin it up unless Time Machine or a Disk Utility wants to access it, so why has Apple not done something like this over the last few years?

    Do Apple consider this normal, acceptable behavior, or are they trying to fix it? I can't believe that Steve Jobs would tolerate this, so what did they do to his Macs to work around this problem?
  8. NancyZ macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    Selden, NY
    I put all the applications on an internal SSD and the files on the ATA. Photoshop for example opens instantly.
  9. evoixdan macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2010
    Any resolution? I'm experiencing the same problems.

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