What is wrong with my Ibook?
June 21, 2006 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Why is the "dock" of my OSX freezing? What does this problem say about the general health of my Ibook?

I have had my Ibook for about 9 months now, and this is the very first problem I've had. Twice in the last two days, my dock has frozen: when i run my mouse over it, it doesn't magnify; I can't right-click it or regular click it, and when I shut down a program from the menu bar, the dock does not reflect that change. This has been associated with an all-around slowness of system. I have had to force a shut down each time, because everything is getting gummed up -- once it shut down itself when i finally pressed the power button after attempting to select a shut down a few times; the other time, I actually had to eject the battery to get the darn thing to turn off (I'm sure this isn't advisable, but I didn't know what else to do.)

The only change to the system that I can think of having been made recently, prior to the dock issue, is an upgrade of Limewire to the most recent free version.

I'm still pretty much a Mac newbie and don't know really where to even start diagnosing this problem. Please help. In addition, any general advice on how to upkeep a Mac would be helpful; anything similar to deleting temp internet files, defrag and scandisk on a PC?
posted by Soulbee to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This isn't your solution, but when the dock freezes, and the mac is still somewhat functional, you can restart the dock and not the entire system.

Open Activity Monitor. It's in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. Find the Dock process and quit it. Your dock will disappear and restart.

By the way this also restarts Dashboard, which operates within Dock. (Someone smarter than me: maybe Soulbee has a Dashboard problem?)
posted by Sfving at 9:19 AM on June 21, 2006

Next time this happens, run Activity Monitor, select the Dock and choose Quit Process > Force Quit. This saves you a restart. The Dock will magically reappear.

Also in Activity Monito, click Sample Process while the Dock is frozen. This will show you what the Dock is doing. The output from Sample is pretty technical, but you should be able to look for keywords hidden within it. Things at the deepest level of each tree with high percentages (and that aren't "mach_msg_trap") are the most important.
posted by cillit bang at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2006

Have you done a permissions repair in a while?
posted by k8t at 10:27 AM on June 21, 2006


Don't panic. Your mac needs a little regular maintenance. Not alot.

Right here is a good primer.

Basically, your mac has some cleanup utilities that only run int he middle the of night (when likely your machine is off.)

Those chronometer based cleanups,
Permissions of files (sometimes screwed up during installs)
and a File System check (#s 1,2 and 4 in the link), are things that perhaps, you should do every couple of months.
posted by filmgeek at 10:50 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Permissions repair is like the desktop rebuilding of OS 9, always mentioned but almost never the solution.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2006

This is a known bug, by the way.

To answer a question that you didn't ask: yes, Limewire does transmit information about all your net activities back to its home corporation. Acquisition doesn't, though.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:14 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Filmgeek, the page you link is from 2004, and it mentions a utility called Macaroni, also with reviews and copy largely from 2004. Are these concepts, tips, and tools still relevant today with 10.4?

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my iMac, which stalled on bootup. The Genius Bar fixed it, and thanks to MeFi (and DiskWarrior) I think I know how to fix it again myself later.

But since then, my iMac has still been a bit off... usually in the form of sudden and uncommented-on crashes of Firefox and Safari. So I'm beginning to think things like file permissions and other "maintenance" are a factor.
posted by pzarquon at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2006

Thanks for the ideas! I wish i could test them out right now, unfortunately I won't return to my poor ill ibook till late tonight ! *fingers crossed*
posted by Soulbee at 11:50 AM on June 21, 2006

If things are generally slow or "sticky," there are two possibilities that I have personally run into. One, it's been a long time since you restarted/started up the computer, and you've been using safari and/or iphoto a lot. I found that if I quit both programs and start them again, the slowness goes away. Two, you don't have enough memory (RAM) installed, which will make all kinds of things wonky. Another RAM related issue is that when I installed my new chip, I didn't seat it properly. Eventually it worked its way out and caused all sorts of havoc.

Anyway, sounds like others have suggested more likely issues, but I thought I would throw in a couple more ideas, just to confuse things. ;)
posted by shifafa at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2006

I'm a huge fan of Onyx - it does lots of cleanup/automation and is fairly easy to use. Bonus free.

yeah, steps 1,2 and 4 are identical with Tiger.
posted by filmgeek at 9:04 PM on June 23, 2006

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