Stumped on Spinning Wheel issue

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by London Glens, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. London Glens macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    Afternoon folks, I hope you can help I'm genuinely stumped on this one. I have scoured the net and any literature I can find and have exhausted all options I can think of but still, alas to no avail.

    Last week I started getting issues with the spinning wheel. It seemed to come on when using text based programs like Text Edit, Wrangler and Mail. Now it seems to be when I try to play with any files. For instance I can launch Photoshop with no issues, but as soon as I select file-open- I'll get the wheel for up to five minutes, at which point the machine is unusable, not just the application. Same goes for trying to open a file from within the text based apps mentioned. I've even had the same problem trying to drag and drop files into the trash.

    I tried the usual repairs with no luck. Although the RAM wasn't appearing to be heavily vexed I'd been meaning to get around to upgrading for a while anyway. So I did, from the 2GB that comes supplied with the MacBook Pro (late 2009), to the full 8GB it can take. (Successful install, RAM shows up fine, memory came from Crucial). The rest of the machine now works swimmingly with great speed, but the same problem still exists. About to hunt for my start up disc I noticed Lion was available, yay! So I downloaded it thinking it would solve the issue. It didn't. But this is where things got weird.

    I had 51GB free on my hard-drive prior to the Lion install, of a total 159. After the install and reboot I was getting a 'Start-up disk full' error. I checked and I now had only a few hundred meg spare! I purchased MacKeeper after I couldn't locate where the space had gone and it found over 100GB of space taken up by 'recovered messages' in mail! I deleted these and now have over two thirds of my hard-drive free and 8GB of RAM, still the wheel persists!!

    I used MacKeeper to clean up the system, duplicates, installs, all caches cleared. Still getting it!

    I tried the Lion version of the start-up disk to repair my hard-drive on the off chance that was the issue. Nope!

    The only thing I can think of now is an erase and reinstall, but at the minute I've no external hard drive to back everything up, so I thought I'd ask you good people if you could think of anything I'd missed before I go for the final option?

    I will actually love anyone who fixes this, I am perplexed!
  2. London Glens thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    Based only on the very loose theory that this is a Mail problem. If I deleted Mail and all it's connections from my system in its entirety. Is there a way for me to reload it again? Would reloading Lion do it?
  3. thatisme macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2010
    United States
    I have found with previous Macs, that when you get more and more spinning wheel instances, it could be an indicator of a failing HD. I would recommend running a Time Machine backup of your drive immediately if you haven't already, then consider replacing the HD, as they are relatively inexpensive these days for a new one.
  4. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    At this point, I think your only choice is a format and reinstall. Get an external for backup and reinstall a fresh copy of Lion.

    thatisme also makes a good point. A failing hard drive could be the culprit, so your safest bet is to treat yourself to a new larger hard drive for your notebook and an external enclosure for the old one. Then install Lion on the new drive and restore your files from the old drive.
  5. London Glens thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    Thanks for the advice both of you. I'd like to think that a hard drive would last longer than the 18 months I've had it for?

    But alas, I've just ordered a new external anyway. I'll back up and format, and if that doesn't solve it I'll splash out on a new one I guess.

    Thanks again.
  6. Daffodil macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    In a sunny state of mind
    Do you have applecare? Backing up your system is always a good idea (and I think the fact that you had to buy a HDD speaks volumes, so get on that!), but if you bought applecare you should take it in and see if they can help you diagnose.

    Good luck!
  7. London Glens thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    Sadly I don't have AppleCare and having owned the machine for 18 months I don't think it's worth the price. I'll see how I get on with the format and then I might just bite the bullet and make a Genius Bar appointment.
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    You have my commiserations re the spinning wheel; I've never much cared for it myself as something about that spinning beach ball of death always seems more ominous than Microsoft's hourglass ever did.

    Those who have posted that you may have a HD issue could well be right; I had a HD failure on a 2008 MBP that hadn't been used much (as I had Applecare, it was replaced).

    Unfortunately, re Applecare, the situation is that you can get it at any time during the first year, up until the expiry date of the original one-year warranty which is a year after you bought it, but not at any time after that. My personal experience is that Applecare is well worth it, and gives peace of mind for three years, but that is a different matter.

    Back up your system while you can, (very stupidly, it hadn't occurred to me to do so, a mistake I'll not make again), and make an appointment to see a Genius. Best of luck with it.


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