troubleshooting help needed

Discussion in 'macOS' started by paulold, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. paulold macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Sorry if this is the wrong forum, but I really need help.

    I have an older MacBook Pro - it's a 2.0 Core Duo - with the latest OSX. I haven't had any problems with it and I've had it for over 2 years. A couple of nights ago, I was adding cds to my iTunes 9 (latest version) and I noticed that my TuneUp (a program for cleaning up the iTunes library) had an update available. So I went ahead and let it install the update while I was doing stuff. Maybe not a wise move, but there it is.

    The installer finished by my TuneUp program never came back on. And then at some point I noticed that my iTunes was no longer responding, in the middle of adding a cd. Then I noticed that I couldn't do anything on my computer and I had to restart by hitting the power button. I very rarely have to do this.

    But since I restarted, my laptop has been really screwed up. Here's some examples of what's been happening:

    1. My start up takes a lot longer and it goes thru a bunch of different shades of blue before it shows me my desktop. Also the menu bar at the top of the screen blinks on and off a number of times before it finishes.

    2. Once I have restarted, I run into different problems depending on what I try to do. If I try to run iTunes, my laptop freezes (spinning wheel) and I can't force quit iTunes. I am stuck having to shut down with the power button. If I try running Safari, like I am doing now, it will run, but it will get stuck when I try to close Safari. Sometimes I am able to force quit Safari.

    3. I can try to run Mail but I will have problems with it. One time I tried to reply to an email and I could not type. It kept making a beeping noise with every key I pressed. I also have trouble force quitting my mail. It will be onscreen but I can't quit out of it. I have to restart by pressing the power button.

    4. I once saw something really weird. My Mail icon was missing from my Dock. The space for the Mail icon was there on the dock and the little label that says "Mail" was there floating in the space but the icon itself was gone. I clicked on the blank space where it should have been and my Mail program started up and the icon reappeared. Very odd. Never saw that before and it only happened once.

    5. Sometimes, when I restart, I will get a message that my Finder has unexpectedly quit and it wants to send a report to Apple, which I do. I have a copy of that report if you want to see it. That doesn't happen every time, tho my Finder is quitting.

    6. I've been in touch with the tech support of TuneUp since they are saying that they are having problems with their updater. I tried following their recommendations but it didn't help. They said something about the cache still hanging onto the faulty installer. Not sure how to clear the cache they are referring to. I did reset Safari but that didn't help.

    7. I tried running Disk Utility. I tried fixing the permissions which didn't help. I tried Verifying the Disk which found no problems so there was nothing to fix.

    8. I am visiting family for the holiday, but when I was home I tried to access Time Machine, but kept having trouble with it. I had trouble getting it to come on and then once on, I had trouble using it, moving thru time and the backups. I was thinking I am going to have to go back to a backup from before I ran that updater, but I'm not sure if I am going to be able to access it.

    9. Sometimes when I go to Force Quit, I get an empty window, even though I have programs open that could be quit. So at some point, I think my Finder quits without letting me know, making everything else fail to work properly. Thus, the Force Quit doesn't work since the Finder has already quit.

    I'm really not sure what to do. Something seems really wrong with my Finder. It keeps crashing. How do I fix this? Is my laptop simply stuck trying to install the update to that TuneUp software? Or do I have something seriously wrong?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    First, you probably want to remove your e-mail address from your post. One, because it can be harvested and you could get lots of spam. Two, people won't reply to an e-mail address with help. The point is to post here so others can also benefit.

    Now, something to try:
    I have 10.5.8, so mine is in Users/MyUserName/Library/Preferences
    Move that file to your Desktop. Do not delete it, yet.
    Problem gone? Then delete that file, and try to wipe that silly grin off your face.
    Still have the problem? Then that obviously wasn't the solution. You can put that file back if you changed any Finder preferences and want them back. This action will overwrite the new plist file that was created when you restarted.
  3. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Unfortunately, removing the finder plist didn't help.

    I've been in email contact with the developers at TuneUp since all of my problems started when I was using their software and trying to update it. They asked to see my system log and just got back to me saying that it looks like my system is having issues that are unrelated to TuneUp, but they didn't tell me what those issues were. What do I do now? I don't know how to read system logs. I was just taking a look at it and it's fairly lengthy, but then it appears to go back to when my system started crashing. So it's full of days of crashes and failed attempts at getting stuff to work. Might I have actually gotten a rare Mac virus?? I've attached my log in case anyone can make sense of what might be going on...

    Attached Files:

  4. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
  5. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Thank you for that link! I will definitely look into that. Looks promising!

    I do have an external drive that is actually attached to my Time Capsule. So, I can access both my Time Capsule and my external drive wirelessly. I haven't really had a problem with this. It is a little slow when I try to access files on my external drive - just takes a moment before I can see the files - but nothing abnormal. Once the connection is established and the file directory is loaded, it behaves fine.

    I did notice that when my laptop sleeps, it loses the wireless connection and thus my Time Machine backups are paused and I'll sometimes get a message upon waking up about the system not being able to connect to my external drive. I always just ignore it cause I know that it's taking a moment for the internet connection to reistablish itself upon waking up.

    But I don't think I use my external drive for anything other than storing files I don't use often.

    I've been a mac user for years now without any major problems. I successfully upgraded the harddrive in my MacBook Pro on my own without any difficulties even. But I've never had to reinstall my OSX. What exactly does that involve? Will I have to reinstall everything - every program, every piece of media? What happens to my Time Capsule backups? I start over?

    I probably have an extra external harddrive I could use to make a replica of my harddrive before I do a reinstall, just for insurance.
  6. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    safari errors
    I glanced at your log file. The most recent entry dealing with any iTunes issue was 12/25 on line 5,000 of a 32,000 line file ending on 12/28. It struck me that you are complaining about an iTunes problem and posting a file that is: 1 - Over a week old and 2 - contains no iTunes errors in the last 80 percent of the file. Most of the errors dealt with Safari.

    First of all, get firefox. It's fine to leave Safari the default browser on OS X, but you really should use Firefox for everyday use.

    Are you married to iTunes (ie purchased content, etc)? Songbird is an excellent open source music app that runs on the usual suspects: Windows, Linux, OS X, etc. Give it a try and see if it is any better for you.

    A faster fix
    Usually, when I'm having kernel panics or extremely slow OS performance, I pop in my OS X DVD and do an "archive and install". There are a few times "repair permissions" fixed my problem but it takes almost as long as archive and install and archive and install almost always works. In rare instances, you need to go all the way to belt sand and install. I had to do this on my daughter's machine when Apple level 2 support failed to get iTunes working for her. She copied the stuff she cared about to a folder on a removable drive. Then I popped in the DVD but instead of letting the install continue, I ran disk utility and formatted her macintosh HD, then I let the install proceed. Installing OS X is not that painful. The worst part is sitting through the updates that are needed since whatever DVD you are using came out. I recently picked up a copy of Snow Leopard so there are minimal updates needed after I do an OS install.

    I used to think of an OS install as a Windows-ish thing. A last resort, brute force thing. But Apple has put so much thought into making the process seamless, I sometimes resort to an archive and install rather than wasting my time reading logs trying to find the root cause of a problem. With 6 macs in our household, I wind up tinkering with one of them about every 90 days or so. That's nothing compared to the constant litany of "Dad, I can't print!" and "Dad, I can't connect to the internet!" I had to endure before switching to 100 Apple hardware and software. The most annoying thing I run across these days are occasional failed Time Machine backups and infrequent iTunes glitches. Not a big deal, really.

    iTunes software robustness (or lack thereof)
    iTunes is entertainment software. As such, it is not written to be robust like corporate software would be. It doesn't bother me if it's a little more flaky than the average OS X software. iLife software is the same way. I've seen glitches in iWeb, iPhoto and iMovie. No biggie. They work well enough for my purposes. Apple could do better at making these "recreational" or "entertainment" oriented programs more robust but I still give them high marks. I wouldn't go anywhere near that "TuneUp" addin until you get your machine working smoothly.

    Coincidence? Disk Errors?
    The fact you started having trouble when you installed TuneUp really could be a coincidence. I noticed that backupd was having trouble copying one of your mp3 files. That smells like disk errors. Repair permissons could solve it but archive and install gives you a more complete solution for only 50% more time investment. A note of caution: before doing anything, get a removeable disk and copy your home folder's contents to it. That's your entire home folder, not just your documents folder! This is in case your macintosh hd is on it's way out. Having everything on a removable disk would be a great relief if you ever had a hard drive crash.

    Time Machine shouldn't be your only hope...
    Notice how I didn't recommend letting Time Machine take over for you? I would rather have "another copy" in place rather than relying on Time Machine. With 6 machines, I've had 2 situations in 3 years where the backup files became corrupted and if I lost my macintosh hd I would have had nothing. That's 2 too many for my liking. Using "archive and install" means your stuff is saved locally while the OS is being reinstalled and you effectively have 2 copies. Copying your home folder (not just documents) to a removeable drive before running a wipe and install means you have 2 copies of everything at all times. Rule number one, never have less than 2 copies of all your stuff, even during an OS reinstall.
  7. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Not rare: Nonexistent.

    And, I use Safari all the time, rarely use Firefox. Safari does work.

    Good luck with that link, hope it helps you get things straightened out!
  8. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Thank you for your response.

    I multitask when I use my laptop, so I'm sure I had been browsing while I was using iTunes. My crash occurred precisely when I was importing a new cd into iTunes. At the same time, my TuneUp told me there was an update available and I stupidly told it to go ahead an update itself, even though I had other programs open and I was in the middle of importing a cd. Probably not the best moment to update software... I've learned my lesson.

    The main reason I got TuneUp was because I've had a strange problem with my iTunes where it no longer pulls in the album artwork when I import a cd. And these are not obscure cds - these are current/new releases. The track info gets loaded but not the artwork. So I got TuneUp cause it can fill in the artwork for me. I don't use it to change any of the track info. Of course, if I buy a song from Apple, the artwork appears fine.

    One other thing to note about my iTunes - I've had this iTunes Library for some time (I have over 50 Gigs of music) and I used to be a PC user. So the library was originally created in iTunes on a PC and I transferred it to a Mac (by simply using copy/paste) and have been using it on a Mac ever since. So I've always wondered if it's not fully Mac and therefore a little unstable... So the album artwork issue doesn't really surprise me. Is there any way to fix this? Re-import all of my songs into a new library (once I get my laptop working properly)?

    I do have Firefox, but I admit I don't really use it. I find it crashes just as much as Safari so I haven't really seen the benefits of using it more than Safari. But I suppose I can give it another try, see if I can get myself hooked to using Firefox instead.

    Archive and Install? So this would just repair my OS without messing with my programs? Would I have to reinstall all of my programs? My laptop has a lot of music software installed (Logic Studio, Digital Performer, etc) which take forever to install... So if I could fix things without having to do a total, clean reinstall, that would be great.

    What about my Time Capsule? Aren't I supposed to be able to restore my laptop back to a point where I wasn't experiencing these problems? Might that solve my problem? I've faithfully used my Time Machine/Capsule, but I've never attempted to restore anything from it. Never needed to.

    It does worry me that perhaps my laptop was already problematic before the TuneUp installation fiasco and I just didn't notice it. All I know is I have not had to restart my laptop using the power button in a very long time and I've never done it so much as I have recently.

    Regarding my hard drive - it's not that old. I upgraded my harddrive back in August. Have had no problems. And I simply upgraded since I wanted more space on the drive, plus I got a faster drive. I did run repair permissions and it didn't find anything wrong. Interesting to hear that my backup was stuck on an mp3 file. I wonder if it's the same song that iTunes was importing when everything crashed. I never did get that album fully imported...

    As for having extra backups, I have no problem with that. I still have my old harddrive that is basically a backup of how things looked back in August. I would hate to have to go back that far in time, but it's been nice having that extra copy.
  9. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    With an archive and install, you don't have to reinstall all your programs. It's a brute force to stabilize a Mac that is running poorly. It's not the correct or elegant solution, but it only takes 45 minutes or so and is thus worth doing.

    Also I forgot to mention that there are no mac viruses. I did notice an entry in your log about a program trying to "hijack" something. I didn't go very far thinking about what it might mean because I had already decided to recommend "archive and install" as a quick exit from your pain. Now that you mention both safari and firefox are crashing, it sounds like you would benefit from an "archive and install". I suggest you plug in that extra drive and drag some updated things to it. Don't replace it. It might turn out your current drive is corrupted and you might be backing up corrupted stuff. That's why I recommend multiple backups. So if one backup is corrupted, you still have your stuff.

    A backup isn't a backup until you have tested restoring from it. So how do you test a backup without risking losing everything? You need a second backup. I've cheated on this point. To test Time Machine, I browsed to the backup volume, opened the "sparsebundle" file containing the backed up files and browsed to the files I wanted to test and verified they were intact. Not quite as good as performing the complete restore but enough to build my confidence that time machine actually works. I have done 2 archive and installs in 3 years on my Macbook. I have always had archive and install work without a hitch and never needed to go looking for stuff in the Time Machine backup. Yet.

    If you do an archive and install, everything comes back including applications. In my experience, it's really painless.
  10. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Terrific! Now I have a plan.

    1. I will create a new backup on one of my spare drives.
    2. I'll leave my Time Capsule and previous backups alone.
    3. I will do an Archive and Install of my OS.
    4. I'll cross my fingers.

    Thanks again!

  11. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Still haven't tackled the Archive and Install just yet - need to wait till I have a block of time this weekend. But in the meantime, I did get something from the techie at TuneUp. He said:

    "All apple laptops have an accelerometer built in. It is called the Sudden Motion Sensor as it's main goal is to detect that somebody is dropping the laptop and park hard drive heads before the laptop hits the ground. While this is a great feature, sometimes it gets in a way, which may be happening in your case. Based on some error codes in your log files, it looks like sometimes the Sudden Motion Sensor is bogging down the system by parking hard drives too much, which slows it down and possible triggers other issues. Our developers would like you to try doing the following:"

    -Go to: Finder>Applications>Utilities and launch the program "Terminal"

    -Once launched, please copy and paste the following text into the window,
    followed by the "enter" key:

    sudo pmset -a sms 0​

    I tried this but I'm not sure if it made a difference. My laptop has been functional lately - I can actually play music in iTunes again - but I can tell it's still not back to normal. Startup is still slow and strange, performance feels sluggish. But it hasn't totally crashed in a little while now though, so maybe something I had already tried improved things? I'm still going to do the reinstall though.

    Oh and I should mention that when I upgraded my harddrive back in August, it was to the same Seagate harddrive that Apple was having trouble with in their new MacBook Pros - where it would make an occassional little beep. Apple released a few updates to address that issue, but it only installed on the newer MacBook Pros. So I never benefitted from the update... I don't hear the beep that often - heard it more often in the past than lately. Not sure when the last time was.
  12. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC

    Oh well. The Archive and Install procedure did not work for me. At first, I had trouble getting my cd drive to work. I had restarted my laptop for good measure and then I stuck the Snow Leopard disk in the drive. And my laptop crashed. The disk never mounted. This is interesting cause my original crash occurred when I was importing a cd into iTunes using the disk drive.

    Then I remembered what someone said about an external drive possibly interfering and causing these problems, so I unplugged it from my Time Capsule just to see if that would help since I didn't really need it connected. After hard rebooting and a few attempts at getting a normal restart (normal meaning the Finder was actually there and operating properly), I tried again with sticking in the Snow Leopard disk and it worked! I was able to proceed with reinstalling Snow Leopard.

    It completed the install and it was time to restart my machine. And I thought everything was going to be back to normal, but instead my laptop never came back. When I restarted it, it appeared to be going through some setup work, where it gave me a status bar to show me how much time it still needed to complete the work. It finished filling the bar and then it went to blue screen (all still fairly normal looking) and then it just got stuck. It seemed to cycle through something where it looked like it was doing something and then the mouse disappeared for a second and it repeated. I've tried restarting a few times, no luck. It seemed to get stuck at different points but always had a similar appearance of being stuck and repeating itself over and over. At first I thought maybe it was because the disk was still in the drive so I took it out and that didn't help. Then I tried putting it back in, in case it needed it after all, but that didn't help either.

    Then I tried restarting holding down the 'd' button, to boot from the snow leopard disk but that didn't work. Then I tried restarting holding down the c button and that worked to boot me up using the snow leopard disk. I then tried to resinstall again, but it kept getting stuck. At first it took a while to find the harddrive to install to. Then it told me there was no room on the drive. But I know that I have about 250 Gigs of space on the drive.

    So now my laptop is dead. I can't do anything. So what are my options?

    1. I was thinking I would try installing my old harddrive back into the laptop. If nothing is wrong with my laptop that should just startup fine, right? I had switched out the drives simply cause I was running out of space, not because there was a problem with the drive. If that works, then I should consider this a hard drive crash, buy a new drive and restore from backup, right? Any chance that doing so could kill my old harddrive?

    2. If my older drive doesn't work, then perhaps something is wrong with the motherboard or whatever. If that's the case, I will have to assume that my laptop must have gotten fried by a power surge or something. Or should I take it to Apple? That might cost me a bit since I no longer have a warranty or AppleCare. I might end up spending hundreds of dollars just to learn I need a new computer.

    3. Or should I just give up and buy a new laptop that I can't really afford right now?
  13. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    So it looks like my hard drive must have crashed. I installed my old hard drive from August and my computer is working. It feels a bit slow, so I'm not convinced I'm in the clear. I will have to test things out.

    And if all is well, I'll have to find a new hard drive for my laptop. The Seagate one has issues with the MacBook Pro apart from the crash, so I should probably go with another brand. Any recommendations? I have a 15" 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro from a few years ago.

    Oh and since it was only in August that I bought the drive, do I get to return it? Might it have been defective? How does that work?
  14. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    How Should I Restore My Data?

    I am waiting for my replacement hard drive to arrive in the mail. I went with an Hitachi drive since Apple has had issues with the Seagate drives. I also opted for a 320 GB drive instead of 500 since the 500's were out of stock everywhere. (Was 500 GB perhaps pushing things too much for my older MacBook Pro?)

    So I have to decide how to restore my system and data. Considering all the strange things that happened with my laptop recently, I don't really trust the data on the drive that just died. My hard drive from August is fine but it's from August. I think I want something that is a bit more current.

    That leaves my Time Capsule, which should have been backing up since before I started having problems (around the 23rd of December I think).

    So do I do a total restore from my Time Capsule? Or could I use this as an opporunity to do a clean install of my OSX and all my software? Would it be possible for me to selectively restore the data from my Time Capsule? Or is it really just an all or nothing approach? I know Time Machine lets me find individual files to restore. But what about my entire iTunes library (mp3s and all) and my iPhoto photo library, both of which are fairly huge?

    Or another idea... Should I do a total restore from my Time Capsule (from a restore date just prior to 12/23) and then do an Archive and Install of my OSX? I'm a little worried that 320 might not be enough space to do the Archive and Install, since I think I was close to 250 GB of files. That's only 70 GB of space to work with...

    Any ideas/recommendations?
  15. topcat102 macrumors newbie


    Jan 20, 2010
    lincolnshire UK
    safari problems

    these problems sound like what has been happening to our safari. it keeps quitting and freezing I am new to macs and am not sure what to do so have been browsing the site for similar experiences and remedy posts. I have sussed I can put in the restore disc but this archives and install procedure sounds quite a bit more promising.

    At the moment I am waiting for some dvd to arrive to backup my itunes as I fear my husband may lose all of his music when I do this. Can anyone confirm whether i will lose itunes and iphoto content if i restore from the OS disc.

    I would appreciate any comments as I am only thinking about what the best solution would be at the moment. I have got macscan on the imac and was wondering if rapport and my firewall could be the problem. The imac is so much slower than it was in the beginning. I have also deleted some programmes which I do not use anymore.

    Could anyone tell me how to delete temporary internet files or does macscan get rid of those for me. I have not manually deleted any of these i dont think since i brought the imac and this could be one of my problems. Sorry i have got soo much to ask you all.

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