Superslow startup on my 27" iMac

badbooster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2017
28
9
Gurgaon, India
Hi guys,
I as stated in the title, my 2013 end, 27" iMac has a very slow start up time. Ive tries using various operating systems, right from El capitan to High Sierra but to no avail My brother has his iMac, same configurations and in the same room and there is no problems with it at all. Its got a 1TB HDD and 16GB Ram.

Kindly advise.
 

HDFan

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,487
362
There are a lot of things that can cause a slow startup. It's a process of elimination. Make sure you have good backups of all drives before you try any of this and you have bootable media or a good recovery partition to reinstall if disaster strikes. Take lots of screenshots before you start so you can make sure when you do the restore you've got everything.

1. Try removing all of your login items (System Preferences/Users & Groups/Login Items)
2. Boot into Safe Mode (hold down the shift key when you boot until you see the boot progress indicator). Then reboot. This cleans some things up.
2. If that doesn't help move any 3rd party kernel daemons or extensions to a folder on your desktop to see if that helps.

/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Extensions
~/Library/LaunchAgents

Warning: be sure you know what you are doing. Most extensions/daemons are recognizable, such as say, LittleSnitch.kext, but others are not (ACS6x.kext, which evidently a RAID driver). It is possible to to real damage to your system/filesystem if your remove something that is critical. I've never had any problems doing this, but your mileage may vary. Be safe.

If any step fixes the problem, then just re-enable the things you disabled one at a time by moving them back into the appropriate folder until you find the login item/extension/daemon that is causing the problem.

Any of these items that require an internet connection to function (such as verifying that the programs is properly licensed) is always a first thing to check.

You can also wipe your disk, do a clean install, and restore your user data and then your apps one by one to find the problem. There are good reasons to do this is this really cleans up your system.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,528
OP:

What's "slowing you down" is the fact that you have a platter-based hard drive inside the iMac.

The more recent versions of the Mac OS (from 10.9 up to the present) just don't run that well on Macs with platter-based drives. The OS runs, but instead of "running" it feels more like the system is "walking"...

There's a simple fix:
Buy a USB3 SSD drive, plug it in, and set it up to become your "external booter".

Put the OS, applications, and a "basic" home folder on the SSD.

By "basic home folder", I mean that you should leave large libraries that normally are within the home folder (such as movies, music and pictures) on the internal drive, and then set up your apps to "find them there".

These libraries contain files that generally aren't accessed that much, and when they are, "speed" isn't that much of a consideration.

The idea is to keep the boot SSD "clean and lean", so it will run at its best.

This is MUCH easier than it may seem!
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
980
261
on the land line mr. smith.
Good points so far.

If it were me though, I would replace the internal HD with SSD, not go external. But, that assumes you are up for a project. Exactly how involved depends on the exact model.

External will work fine though.

Oh, and how slow is slow? Have you timed start up? Is it just start up, or are other functions feeling slow too?
 
Last edited:
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badbooster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2017
28
9
Gurgaon, India
Hey.

You said you have tried various OSes. Always installed on the internal HD?

It would be good to test booting from an external drive with a known good OS it, to rule out both software and a slow/failing HD.
Seems like a decent idea. Ill try this sometime.
[doublepost=1508656919][/doublepost]
There are a lot of things that can cause a slow startup. It's a process of elimination. Make sure you have good backups of all drives before you try any of this and you have bootable media or a good recovery partition to reinstall if disaster strikes. Take lots of screenshots before you start so you can make sure when you do the restore you've got everything.

1. Try removing all of your login items (System Preferences/Users & Groups/Login Items)
2. Boot into Safe Mode (hold down the shift key when you boot until you see the boot progress indicator). Then reboot. This cleans some things up.
2. If that doesn't help move any 3rd party kernel daemons or extensions to a folder on your desktop to see if that helps.

/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Extensions
~/Library/LaunchAgents

Warning: be sure you know what you are doing. Most extensions/daemons are recognizable, such as say, LittleSnitch.kext, but others are not (ACS6x.kext, which evidently a RAID driver). It is possible to to real damage to your system/filesystem if your remove something that is critical. I've never had any problems doing this, but your mileage may vary. Be safe.

If any step fixes the problem, then just re-enable the things you disabled one at a time by moving them back into the appropriate folder until you find the login item/extension/daemon that is causing the problem.

Any of these items that require an internet connection to function (such as verifying that the programs is properly licensed) is always a first thing to check.

You can also wipe your disk, do a clean install, and restore your user data and then your apps one by one to find the problem. There are good reasons to do this is this really cleans up your system.
good lord. Thank you so much for the reply but I think this might be a bit too complicated for me and since I do work on this Mac, backing up 3 TB of data will be a chore.
[doublepost=1508656979][/doublepost]
OP:

What's "slowing you down" is the fact that you have a platter-based hard drive inside the iMac.

The more recent versions of the Mac OS (from 10.9 up to the present) just don't run that well on Macs with platter-based drives. The OS runs, but instead of "running" it feels more like the system is "walking"...

There's a simple fix:
Buy a USB3 SSD drive, plug it in, and set it up to become your "external booter".

Put the OS, applications, and a "basic" home folder on the SSD.

By "basic home folder", I mean that you should leave large libraries that normally are within the home folder (such as movies, music and pictures) on the internal drive, and then set up your apps to "find them there".

These libraries contain files that generally aren't accessed that much, and when they are, "speed" isn't that much of a consideration.

The idea is to keep the boot SSD "clean and lean", so it will run at its best.

This is MUCH easier than it may seem!
Actually the thing is that the second iMac, same specs n all, boots yup normally while this one takes time.
[doublepost=1508657097][/doublepost]
Good points so far.

If it were me though, I would replace the internal HD with SSD, not go external. But, that assumes you are up for a project. Exactly how involved depends on the exact model.

External will work fine though.

Oh, and how slow is slow? Have you timed start up? Is it just start up, or are other functions feeling slow too?
The other functions are normal. NO sound and no slowness otherwise. Copying copies amounts of data is also fine. Its just the boot up that takes time.


Since all of you suggested moving on to an SSD, I enquired, unfortunately they do dot offer an SSD addition or even an SSD swap in India.

Any other suggestions would be welcome.
 

HDFan

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,487
362
What's "slowing you down" is the fact that you have a platter-based hard drive inside the iMac
Possible, but unlikely, since his brother has the same configuration with no slowdown. If the issue is software, then any expenditure on hardware is just going to be throwing away money. Simple enough to diagnose by simply removing all startup items not included in a clean install. I have seen this problem frequently enough that that is the first place I look.

If making the backup is a problem then that in itself is a problem. You should be making backups regularly in case your system fails, but that is a different discussion.
 
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badbooster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2017
28
9
Gurgaon, India
Possible, but unlikely, since his brother has the same configuration with no slowdown. If the issue is software, then any expenditure on hardware is just going to be throwing away money. Simple enough to diagnose by simply removing all startup items not included in a clean install. I have seen this problem frequently enough that that is the first place I look.

If making the backup is a problem then that in itself is a problem. You should be making backups regularly in case your system fails, but that is a different discussion.
Ive tried an clean install too. Doesn't work.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,528
OP wrote:
"Since all of you suggested moving on to an SSD, I enquired, unfortunately they do dot offer an SSD addition or even an SSD swap in India.
Any other suggestions would be welcome"


You're not getting it.

What you do is buy an EXTERNAL SSD and plug it into a USB3 port.
Then you set it up to be the external boot drive.
Put the OS, applications, and home folder onto it.
Keep any "large libraries" on the internal drive.

Do this, and your overall drive "read speeds" will increase about 4 times.

Do they sell drives like this in India?
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY532?tag=delt-20
 

mbosse

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2015
364
88
Vienna, Austria
...Thank you so much for the reply but I think this might be a bit too complicated for me and since I do work on this Mac, backing up 3 TB of data will be a chore...
Find the problem in above sentence... losing 3 TB of data is nothing compared to the effort if backing it up?
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
980
261
on the land line mr. smith.
Find the problem in above sentence... losing 3 TB of data is nothing compared to the effort if backing it up?

Yeah...gotta have backups. Any machine, any platform. Given the age of your iMac, your odds of losing data to HD failure are going up every month. Not uncommon to only get 4-6 years from a SATA HD. Sure, some folks get as much as double that. But no way to know. Often by the time you know a HD is failing, some (or all) of your data is gone.

Be safe. Backup everything that is precious, or is very difficult to replace. If you get an external USB3 drive, you will ready to protect your data.

Plus:

Before your first backup, you can install a new fresh OS on the external. HD. Boot to it, and see if it boots normally (fast).

If yes - there is a problem with either the OS (software) or internal HD (hardware).

If no - there is something else going on with the machine; not OS or internal HD.


Other reminders:

1. Try a Safe Boot to see how the machine behaves.
2. Time your start up. How long is long?
3. Look at your console logs after booting for clues.
4. What OS are you on right now?
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,528
OP:

Gonna repeat it a THIRD time.
You need to use an external SSD as your boot drive.
This will SOLVE the speed problems.
You won't understand until you do it.