Spinning Beach Ball of Doom
August 24, 2012 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Mac Lion Filter: Autosave in Word = GIANT FAIL.

I have a 2007 Mac with an SSD card so it's really fast. I normally don't have problems with it. Specs (if it matters) are: 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM. Lots of memory. I don't even use 1/2 of it.

Exit Leopard, Enter Lion - now Word for Mac 2010 is an absolute disaster.

I don't always remember to save as I go (though I've recently discovered that losing work lights a fire under my butt). Since my Lion upgrade, Word for Mac has been fickle at best, downright $#!@ at its worst. I've been using special characters and crazy formatting (subscripts, tables, line drawings) for a statistics class, and sometimes it just locks up with the spinning beachball of doom whizzing in the middle of my screen. I have autosave set to save every five minutes, which in reality, saves every zero minutes.

Is it Lion? Is it Word? Word-with-crazy-formatting? Maybe they just don't play nice?
posted by luciddream928 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am noticing occasional beachballs when coming back from idle, didn't do it before Lion. Both Office and Lion may need updates.
posted by epo at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2012

Update Word and Lion.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Word is a bit fickle, and quite a bit of a resource hog on Macs, I find. However, your problem may be the 2GB of RAM you have.

I am running Word 2010 on a 2010 Macbook Air which also has C2D processor and an SSD, but it has 4GB of RAM. I've used it under Snow Leopard, Lion, and now Mountain Lion, and while Word can be a bit pokey compared to its Windows counterpart, I've not run into the extreme difficulties you have.

If reinstalling both Word and Lion (and making sure you've downloaded all relevant software updates to them) doesn't help, I'd look into adding more RAM if you can.
posted by modernnomad at 11:51 AM on August 24, 2012

I thought 2GB of RAM was good (guess not!)

Sounds right though - I'm running a few programs at the same time, and it's probably crashing because it's hogging resources. I notice it happens only when I cut and paste, esp. when there's formatting within the text that I'm cutting and pasting.

My first clue that my computer is out of date popped up yesterday when I learned that Apple no longer supports this generation of Mac's. I can't upgrade to Mountain Lion because I have the 2007 model.
posted by luciddream928 at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2012

2 GB of RAM is really an absolute bare minimum, and Word is a resource hog. Lion also added more little processes that are supposed to run "under the hood," but do take resources, esp ram. Considering how cheap 4GB of ram is (probably 25 bucks? maybe?) it is definitely a worth-it upgrade.
posted by rockindata at 12:30 PM on August 24, 2012

Word on a mac is pretty crappy/buggy/resource-hoggy anyway. (I have a repeating problem where it won't change focus between open windows in Word, and it won't let me resize windows that have magically changed size.) And I'm running 10.7.4 on a more recent machine with 4 GB RAM.

(Have you considered LaTeX for the sort of stuff you want to do in your Statistics class? Tables are straightforward enough, math is easy to write, and it's easy enough to import graphs from other programs. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's the right choice if you plan to do more writing in Statistics.)
posted by leahwrenn at 12:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been using a 2GB mac with a (old, relatively slow) SSD with Lion. I haven't tried it with Word. Overall, it is Ok, but not great. I get hitches due to memory pressure and swapping. Past experience is that even on a Mac with 4GB of RAM is that Lion tended to require more memory than Snow Leopard.

One thing that seemed to help in cutting down on beach balls was going into the Energy Saver preferences and telling it not to put the hard drive to sleep. In theory this might result in shorter battery life, but I don't think it is that significant with an SSD.

Also, see if you can find some recycled RAM. I think that machine can go to 3 or 4 GB.
posted by Good Brain at 12:43 PM on August 24, 2012

I have a MacBook Pro from 2007 with similar specs but a normal hard drive. While I don't use Word much, 2GB was insufficient for Snow Leopard plus Chrome for browsing. Lots of beach ball spinning. Upgrading RAM to 4GB made my machine happier. I suspect it will for yours too.
posted by zippy at 1:09 PM on August 24, 2012

I found a possible answer! Hope this helps others with the same issue.

Go to Word > Preferences > Edit and unselect the checkbox for Smart Cut/Copy/Paste.
There is some issue between Lion and Office that has not been correct yet.
posted by luciddream928 at 6:01 PM on August 24, 2012

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