Sporadic problem from hell driving me insane

Discussion in 'macOS' started by gfroyle, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. gfroyle macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2004
    I am at my wit's end about a sporadic problem from hell...

    I am using a 2.5 year old 1.25G G4 Powerbook with 768Mb RAM.. I have 6 months of extended warranty left.

    I have a sporadic, but recurrent, problem that of course vanishes whenever I take the computer to be checked out, but then comes back a few days later.

    The symptoms are as follows: while in normal use, usually with quite a few apps running and quite a few windows open, things start to "glug up"

    - spinning beach ball starts to appear frequently
    - applications briefly hang then recover

    This gradually gets worse until

    - every action, no matter how minor (e.g moving a window a teeny bit) is met with a few seconds of spinning beach ball, and then it suddenly jerks into place
    - every application becomes unusably slow

    If I manage to start the "Activity Monitor" to check the processes, what I see is that every application that is being used hangs (stops responding) and appears in red in the process list... maybe for 1 second, maybe for 10 seconds, maybe for a minute.

    Eventually the Finder hangs on every action and I have to force-quit everything and reboot.

    Then the next reboot takes maybe 20 minutes, so I shutdown and reboot again - another 20 minutes. Eventually after 4 or 5 iterations it seems to spontaneously "recover" and I get another week or so of normal action.

    When I last took it in to the service centre the guys said that they had been "unable to replicate my problem" and hence couldn't do anything about it...

    They said that they had

    - run it continuously for a long time
    - performed multiple boot-cycles
    - done hardware tests
    - repaired disk permissions etc.

    What do I do next? I desperately need to have this resolved before the warranty expires ...

    Any clues greatly welcomed..


  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I know it's not the greatest solution, but have you tried backing everything up, reformatting the drive and reinstalling the OS?
  3. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Have you tried creating a new user account and replicating the behavior there? Maybe you have a corrupted file somewhere that's getting out of control. Of course, mj's suggestion would fix this, too. Before you take that drastic step you might try a new user account.
  4. gfroyle thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Possible reason located..

    Thanks for the suggestions...

    However I may not need them, as I think I have located the fault - after several frustrating hours, I went for the umpteenth time to Disk Utility and discovered that it reported "S.M.A.R.T Status: failing" in red.

    So my hard disk is about to die..

    So now (on Monday) I can take it back to the service centre and tell them that the hard disk needs to be replaced...



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