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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
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Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
So here's a problem I can't solve...

I have (or had in the Mac mini's case) three Macs running Snow Leopard right now in my collection, a 2011 13" Pro, a 2009 13" Pro and a 2007 Mac mini. The MBP's are running 10.6 client, while the Mac mini was running 10.6 Server (I've put on Lion now as I needed it working). They are all fresh installs made within the last few weeks.

As soon as you load into the desktop on the first boot after install (happens every time afterwards) and click on anything clickable on the screen (menu bar item, dock app icon, stack...) it hangs the entire OS. Mouse is still movable but nothing is clickable and the keyboard doesn't register anything.

They were each installed with different USB sticks (freshly formatted in HFS+, GPT), using the 10.6.3 retail disc (on the 2009 MBP and mini) and 10.6.7 recovery disc (2011 MBP).

So different hardware, different software images (not on 10.6.8 since I couldn't get into Software Update), installed from different USB sticks and using different pepherials, yet they all have the exact same issue. They never had this problem previously (of which were installs done pre-2023, if that makes any difference?).

Does anyone know what's happening here? The issue doesn't occur on any other OS (Windows, Linux, other versions of OS X), only Snow Leopard. I'm at a loss.
 
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rampancy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
687
921
I've experienced oddities with Snow Leopard hanging when using wonky bluetooth external mice. Perhaps that could be the issue? Apart from that I'd speculate that there could be an expired certificate issue causing this, since the issue is only limited to clean Snow Leopard installs across different Macs, which otherwise work fine with different OS installations.

Is there a way you could somehow SSH into either one of those Macs to get at what the console logs are saying?
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
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Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
This is happening with no external devices attached to them?
Nope. Only the internal drive is plugged in.

I've experienced oddities with Snow Leopard hanging when using wonky bluetooth external mice. Perhaps that could be the issue?
No bluetooth mice attached. Only the trackpads on the MBP's and a USB Apple Mouse on the Mac mini.

...there could be an expired certificate issue causing this, since the issue is only limited to clean Snow Leopard installs across different Macs, which otherwise work fine with different OS installations.

Is there a way you could somehow SSH into either one of those Macs to get at what the console logs are saying?
What kind of certificate? It hangs so fast that I can't get into anything that uses the internet, apart from the date/time perhaps? It read the date/time and timezone correctly in Setup Assistant, although I do recall it for some reason defaulted to not using network time syncing, instead going manually.

If I could enable SSH, then I could.

Maybe it something to do the drive? They are all SSD's, however the 2009 had the 2011's SSD when these issues started happening. I'd tried First Aid in the installer's version of Disk Utility but I'll hookup it up to my rMBP externally and see what it says.
 
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So here's a problem I can't solve...

I have (or had in the Mac mini's case) three Macs running Snow Leopard right now in my collection, a 2011 13" Pro, a 2009 13" Pro and a 2007 Mac mini. The MBP's are running 10.6 client, while the Mac mini was running 10.6 Server (I've put on Lion now as I needed it working). They are all fresh installs made within the last few weeks.

As soon as you load into the desktop on the first boot after install (happens every time afterwards) and click on anything clickable on the screen (menu bar item, dock app icon, stack...) it hangs the entire OS. Mouse is still movable but nothing is clickable and the keyboard doesn't register anything.

They were each installed with different USB sticks (freshly formatted in HFS+, GPT), using the 10.6.3 retail disc (on the 2009 MBP and mini) and 10.6.7 recovery disc (2011 MBP).

So different hardware, different software images (not on 10.6.8 since I couldn't get into Software Update), installed from different USB sticks and using different pepherials, yet they all have the exact same issue. They never had this problem previously (of which were installs done pre-2023, if that makes any difference?).

Does anyone know what's happening here? The issue doesn't occur on any other OS (Windows, Linux, other versions of OS X), only Snow Leopard. I'm at a loss.

The very first thing I’d want to do in this situation is to try booting into each Mac as a safe boot (holding down shift when powering on) and check to see whether these freeze issues persist just after the desktop comes up.

The second thing I’d want to do here is to connect one or more of them via firewire target mode and to, from the host Mac, go into the firewire-connected Mac volumes and look through their crash logs.

Next, I’d want to run Disk Utility on them (both repair and repair permissions), followed by something robust on them like Tech Tool to run a low-level disk surface scan, just to make sure there weren’t faulty blocks on the boot volumes (long shot, given this has happened on three different Macs, but nevertheless a consideration to account for). I’m guessing at this stage each Mac is running on a spinner and not solid state, yes?

The fourth thing, pending on what I’d learn from the second steps findings, is to keep those volumes connected in target disk mode. Then, grab all the updates I can think of from Apple’s support page for Snow Leopard. Next, I’d try to install all I could onto those volumes whilst still connected in target disk mode. As some updates require being booted into the intended volume being updated, those would have to be postponed until later.

The fifth thing (or the second thing, frankly, me being me) is to load each Mac into single-user mode (Cmd-S), mount the root volume, make it writable, and then write the -v boot flag to nvram so that subsequent reboots come up in verbose mode, allowing me to watch for unusual errors or failures to pop up during boot sequence, prior to WindowServer launching.

But more so than anything, I’d be looking through those crash logs. My guess is this will offer a starting point for each system.

And lastly: try mirroring a working build of 10.6.8 and all updates from a system you’ve had running smoothly for years, onto one of the target Macs. It should, regardless which Mac it is, work just as well as that mirror source works on your old standby. If so, and it does on one of the three Macs you’re having these issues, then this points to the fresh-install SL OS in some unstable state (whether as a function of not having all updates in place or something else).

Let us know how it goes.


I'd speculate that there could be an expired certificate issue causing this, since the issue is only limited to clean Snow Leopard installs across different Macs, which otherwise work fine with different OS installations.

Possibly, but I’d be disinclined to arrive to this, as OS X/macOS’s heavy dependence on security certificates didn’t really come to the fore until Lion, when downloading from Apple the OS was the principal way to run an install/restore in the absence of a DVD installer.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
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Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Next, I’d want to run Disk Utility on them (both repair and repair permissions)
Already tried that. Zero errors detected. I also hooked up the drives up to my rMBP to see whether it could detect any. None still.

I’m guessing at this stage each Mac is running on a spinner and not solid state, yes?
All three are full solid state machines. The Mac mini and 2009 MacBook Pro are running SanDisk 240GB SSD's (of which are in perfect health) and the 2011 MacBook Pro is running one of my extremely venerable Crucial MX500 500GB's. No issues either. I don't have a single Intel Mac with "spinning rust" anymore.

Possibly, but I’d be disinclined to arrive to this, as OS X/macOS’s heavy dependence on security certificates didn’t really come to the fore until Lion, when downloading from Apple the OS was the principal way to run an install/restore in the absence of a DVD installer.
Yeah, I highly doubt certificates as well. Last night I had to pull an update from Software Update on my G3 B/W running Tiger. Worked perfectly fine. G5 doesn't need any updates done, but all internet services work fine. I also put my 2011 on Lion, since I wanted to use it, working fine so far.

And lastly: try mirroring a working build of 10.6.8 and all updates from a system you’ve had running smoothly for years, onto one of the target Macs. It should, regardless which Mac it is, work just as well as that mirror source works on your old standby. If so, and it does on one of the three Macs you’re having these issues, then this points to the fresh-install SL OS in some unstable state (whether as a function of not having all updates in place or something else).

Let us know how it goes.
Well my next course of action will be SuperDuper-ing my A1342's install over to a small partition on my 2011 MBP. I'll see whether that does anything. Ironically the only Mac I have right now with a working SL install is the only one which doesn't have a FireWire port... (excluding my rMBP here since my TB Display has a FW800 port)
 

Certificate of Excellence

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2021
845
1,292
Already tried that. Zero errors detected. I also hooked up the drives up to my rMBP to see whether it could detect any. None still.


All three are full solid state machines. The Mac mini and 2009 MacBook Pro are running SanDisk 240GB SSD's (of which are in perfect health) and the 2011 MacBook Pro is running one of my extremely venerable Crucial MX500 500GB's. No issues either. I don't have a single Intel Mac with "spinning rust" anymore.


Yeah, I highly doubt certificates as well. Last night I had to pull an update from Software Update on my G3 B/W running Tiger. Worked perfectly fine. G5 doesn't need any updates done, but all internet services work fine. I also put my 2011 on Lion, since I wanted to use it, working fine so far.


Well my next course of action will be SuperDuper-ing my A1342's install over to a small partition on my 2011 MBP. I'll see whether that does anything. Ironically the only Mac I have right now with a working SL install is the only one which doesn't have a FireWire port... (excluding my rMBP here since my TB Display has a FW800 port)
Was the a1342 clone stable on the a1278 mbp?
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
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Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Was the a1342 clone stable on the a1278 mbp?
Curiously it has started presenting with the exact same symptoms. Even more curious is that I set the date back to 31 Dec 2022 and it stopped. Though, I only tested it for a minute or two, haven't had the time to spend hours on it.

Checked all roots certs in Keychain Access, nothing has expired or will for a while.
 
Curiously it has started presenting with the exact same symptoms. Even more curious is that I set the date back to 31 Dec 2022 and it stopped. Though, I only tested it for a minute or two, haven't had the time to spend hours on it.

Checked all roots certs in Keychain Access, nothing has expired or will for a while.

This is, honestly, baffling, and I hope you isolate the culprit giving you trouble. It’s baffling to me because I have multiple Macs running a build of 10.6.8 I’ve used continuously since, well, a week after Snow Leopard went on sale in 2009, and none has presented anything like what you’ve been facing.

About the only noteworthy difference I can spot off-hand is my build of 10.6.8 is derived directly from 10.6.0 (from the DVDs bundled with the mid-2009 MBP 13"), whereas your installations derive from the 10.6.3 retail DVD and the 10.6.7 recovery DVD.
 
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Certificate of Excellence

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2021
845
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Curiously it has started presenting with the exact same symptoms. Even more curious is that I set the date back to 31 Dec 2022 and it stopped. Though, I only tested it for a minute or two, haven't had the time to spend hours on it.

Checked all roots certs in Keychain Access, nothing has expired or will for a while.
Im tempted to throw a SL install on one of my intel macs now and see if I can replicate the instability.
 
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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
1,362
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Im tempted to throw a SL install on one of my intel macs now and see if I can replicate the instability.
I appreciate all the help I can get :)

The 10.6.3 image I used was from Macintosh Garden, while the 10.6.7 image was from Internet Archive. Search for "MacBook Pro Install DVD". It's the one with the highest view count. I've used those images for years without any problems until very recently.

About the only noteworthy difference I can spot off-hand is my build of 10.6.8 is derived directly from 10.6.0 (from the DVDs bundled with the mid-2009 MBP 13"), whereas your installations derive from the 10.6.3 retail DVD and the 10.6.7 recovery DVD.
I used 10.6.0 Server on my Mac mini, still had the issue.

This is complete speculation here, but as I was seeing if I could spot anything wrong on my A1342, I disabled and reenabled NTP (network time). While re-enabling NTP, it showed some day in January 2038 for a split second? I know that's where one of the big year crashes occurs but I don't see any reason why it would set that date. All my other machines are pulling from the same time servers without issue.
 
This is complete speculation here, but as I was seeing if I could spot anything wrong on my A1342, I disabled and reenabled NTP (network time). While re-enabling NTP, it showed some day in January 2038 for a split second?

Huh. That’s really peculiar! And if, for a second, the date/time reports 2038 like that, I can see that upsetting the system.

By chance, do you rely on Apple’s default NTP servers? Admittedly, I don’t. I use ca.pool.ntp.org (which is localized in Canada, but ought to work anywhere). There are others which aren’t Apple-related, and those also might be worth testing.

I know that's where one of the big year crashes occurs but I don't see any reason why it would set that date. All my other machines are pulling from the same time servers without issue.

Yah. I have no idea why it would do that. But it appears to be a piece to this puzzle.
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,409
11,564
Curiously it has started presenting with the exact same symptoms. Even more curious is that I set the date back to 31 Dec 2022 and it stopped. Though, I only tested it for a minute or two, haven't had the time to spend hours on it.
Try the following: set the date back to 31 Dec 2022, open Applications > Utilities > Console and open system.log. Keep it open, reset the date and watch what appears in the log until it hangs.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
1,362
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
By chance, do you rely on Apple’s default NTP servers? Admittedly, I don’t. I use ca.pool.ntp.org (which is localized in Canada, but ought to work anywhere). There are others which aren’t Apple-related, and those also might be worth testing.
How do you go about adding your own NTP server on SL? Cannot seem to find a menu option anywhere.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
976
1,362
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Solved!

Well this is annoying. I go and spend all this time swapping hardware, trying different OS X images, looking through dozens of forum threads, etc... and it ends up being the most mundane fix ever 😒

It started when I reinstalled Leopard onto my iMac G4 (it had Tiger and a half-borked Lubuntu install previously). It installed fine, and when I got to the desktop it didn't freeze up! So then I realise that I didn't plug the Ethernet cord in, and as soon as I plug it in, it froze.

At this point, I knew it was not an issue with Snow Leopard itself, rather something to do with my internet. That was also hinted to by the fact that logs in Console didn't show anything out of the ordinary. I tried connecting to AirPort as well and it still froze up.

So in one hand I have multiple machines, of differing operating systems and architecture freezing as soon as they are connected to the internet, and on the other hand my internet works fine on anything running Lion or newer.
From here, I did a fresh install (again) on my iMac G4, but this time selected the "I have no internet" option in Setup Assistant so that I could test a fix that I read on a decade-old Apple Support thread. And it worked!

I turned off IPv6.

I have no idea how that could make the entire system freeze, but since I turned it off, no freezes, no hangs! I'm writing this on my '09 MacBook Pro, running both 10.5.8 and 10.6.8 with a responsive keyboard and mouse!

desktop01.png
 
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01mggt

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2010
309
11
Oh. My. God. I am about to try this! I have the exact same issues with a clean install on my 2009 MBP 2.53 ghz 13 inch! I have been at it for two days! I even took out the SSD and moved it to a white late 2009 MacBook and it did the same things there. I could get to the desktop though and use the computer just a bit and then it would beech ball forever. Clean installed multiple times.

But now that you mention this, I had to disable IPv6 on my Quick Silver DP G4 running Leopard and I think Tiger as well or I had the same issues! I'm off to try it out!
 

Slix

macrumors 65816
Mar 24, 2010
1,483
2,074
I remember running into an issue similar to this a while back and spent hours trying to figure it out too. IPv6 caused it too, I think, and I have no idea why. Thanks for sharing the fix!
 
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