my macbook is driving me insane
August 28, 2008 5:38 PM   Subscribe

My macbook, running OSX 10.5.4, has been working really poorly lately

It has trouble booting up (if I try to restart, I can end up with a blank screen), applications constantly crash or get glitchy, and my two external hard drives keep getting "improperly disconnected" even though they remain plugged in. Safari runs slow, always freezing things up, and there seems to be a general decrease in performance. This onset of problems is driving me insane. Could my hard drive be dying? Do I have some kind of virus? Should I start looking for a new computer?
posted by god particle to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Now much free space do you have on your internal drive? If the OS can't use VM all sorts of bad behavior will start to crop up. I don't know what the recommended amount is but if your down to you last 5 GB, It would be worth off loading some stuff and seeing if it gets any better.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:55 PM on August 28, 2008

Make that "How much freespace.."
posted by doctor_negative at 5:56 PM on August 28, 2008

Ok, Yeah....I don't think it's your hard drive, at least not yet.....and there's no 'true' virii for the mac (at least not yet - a couple of proof of concept trojans...but unlikely you have that.)

Yes, totally make sure you have 5-10 gigs (min) on your internal drive...

But there is some generally osx voodoo you can do.

First, grab your OSX DVD and boot to it (System prefs or hold down the C key on startup.)

After the first screen, you can get to some utilities - run disk utility and verify+repair disk - and do the same with disk permissions. Keep doing this until there are no errors. (There's a way around this if you don't have that disk around.)

Basically, you're following this apple tech doc.

Then download Onyx, go to the automation pane and run that. Onyx is a utility that will do some of the regular maintenance for you. (There are other freeware tools aside from Onyx. I just happen to like it.)

And then let's see how your apps perform.
posted by filmgeek at 7:26 PM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sounds like the kind of weirdness that failing RAM might give rise to. Don't suppose you've installed any new recently, have you? Does About this Mac show the amount of memory that you expect it to?
posted by mumkin at 9:55 PM on August 28, 2008

I'd definitely start backing up the data on your hard drive ASAP, if I were you.
posted by Lucy2Times at 10:46 PM on August 28, 2008

About a week and a half ago, my Macbook was doing the same thing. Running slow, applications having to be forcefully quit, and it was generally non-cooperative.

I got that little rainbow spinning wheel for a few minutes and decided to just turn it off by holding down the power button. I got a grey screen upon startup and the OS wouldn't boot at all.

Like filmgeek said, run disk utility asap. You may have to hold the "C" button down when you turn on your computer to get the disk to run. His directions are accurate. This may fix your problem. Do not run through the steps provided, the utilities are in the menu bar, which is somewhat counter intuitive.

Like Lucy2Times said, back up your files.

After disk utility failed, and a reinstall of the OS failed as well, I took it into the Apple store.

My hard drive crashed. I lost everything on my computer.

If the disk utility doesn't fix the errors, and the other steps provided by filmgeek do not work, you may want to do an archive and install of the OS. This will reinstall your OS, but keep your files and programs intact as I understand it.

Although I had to replace my hard drive, my computer was still under warranty. It took 2 days to fix and was free of charge. The Apple Geniuses were really helpful and you may just want to back up your files and make an appointment with them assuming you have an Apple Store nearby.

Good Luck.
posted by clearly at 1:49 AM on August 29, 2008

Response by poster: My hard drive has almost 20 out of 80GB free, and I have backed everything up, but I'm worry that all this messing with my external hard drives might corrupt that data. I'll try the disk utility and then reinstalling the os, thanks.
posted by god particle at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2008

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