What is the 'spinning pinwheel of death'?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by LOLZpersonok, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. LOLZpersonok macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #1
    It's something I've heard of and I get it on my Mac occasionally. It's just a temporary freeze, so why is it called the Spinning Pinwheel of death?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    It's referred to by many names, most commonly "beachball" or "beachballing". It only means an app or the system is busy, in a loop, or hung up. It doesn't mean death. In the worst cases, a restart is necessary, but nothing more severe.
     
  3. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #3
    Oh, I think I get it now. It's just that when I first heard of it, that's what it was called, the Pinwheel of Death. I guess it's similar in function to the hourglass in Windows XP or the glassy loop thing in Windows Vista, 7, or 8.

    Is it bad if that happens and you have no programs open and Mac OS X is just running as is? That doesn't happen on Windows and so I'm not sure what it means because my Mac did it once since I've owned it.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Even if you don't have any apps launched, that doesn't mean there aren't processes running. To see what's running at any point in time, follow every step of the following instructions precisely. Do not skip any steps.
    1. Launch Activity Monitor
    2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
    3. Click on the "% CPU" column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
      (If that column isn't visible, right-click on the column headings and check it, NOT "CPU Time")
    4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
    5. Take a screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
    6. Post your screenshots.
     
  5. LOLZpersonok thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #5
    I already know about the background processes but for me they don't cause any problems on Windows (Most of the time) and I am not sure if they're the cause for the freeze that happened on my Mac. It's only happened once and isn't reoccurring. Besides, when I purchased it, it didn't have a clean install of OS X.

    But nevertheless, I'll give it a try the next time I have a USB keyboard on hand.

    And yes, that freeze did cause me to have to power it down manually as I couldn't do it any other way. I've also only experienced a Kernel Panic once when it was starting up too, which was weird.
     

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