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Mid 2011 Macbook Air Painfully slow.

9271 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 10, 2013 6:31 PM by harman_faiz RSS
ZXA Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 2, 2012 11:12 AM

Mid 2011 Macbook Air Painfully slow.

 

Hey everyone.  I am writing about my 13 inch Mid 2011 Macbook Air. 

 

Recently it has been extremely slow and on occasion has not started up.

 

I have reset the PRAM and SMC already, yet it is still very slow.  I have a couple theories about what might have caused it, are they plausible?

 

Theory 1:  It’s a software problem. I tried to upgrade to 10.8.2 but halfway through the upgrade the computer restarted and somehow I was still on 10.8.1.  For fear of a big issue happening I didn’t try to upgrade again. Perhaps it is a flaw in Apple’s software update? 

 

The important thing to note about this update is that I tried to install 10.8.2 around a month or two weeks BEFORE I started having problems.  So if these issues were due to 10.8.2’s failed update then it certainly was a delayed reaction. 

 

I would of course like to update to 10.8.2 BUT as my computer is acting EXTREMELY slow and having trouble turning on occasionally I am worried the software update will completely brick the machine.  Is that possible?  Should I actually finish through with the software update?

 

Theory 2:  It was an electricity problem. 

 

The computer died when I was sitting at a café plugged into their wall sockets.  A few days later when I came back to the same spot with my old macbook which is now being used in lieu of the Air it suddenly turned black for a little while. Sensing it might be an electricity surge or something with their system I unplugged the cable.  I am not sure if that was paranoia though. 

 

Can an electricity surge or a bad outlet fry a computer?  Can it fry the ram so the computer is extremely slow? Does that theory hold any water? 

 

 

Thanks for your help diagnosing this problem.

 

All the best. 

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,080 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2012 11:21 AM (in response to ZXA)

    Shut down your MBA and restart while holding the D key. This should start Apple Hardware Test. Run the default tests. If everything passes "no problems found" then run the extended tests, which might take 45 minutes. Report anything other than "no problems found".

     

    I have no reason to believe updating OS X would be cause for concern, and might fix the problem. Try downloading and installing the update again.

    … Can an electricity surge or a bad outlet fry a computer?  Can it fry the ram so the computer is extremely slow? Does that theory hold any water? 

     

    Anything is possible but all Apple portables are fairly isolated from power quality problems like you suspect. Any surge would have to pass through the charger as well as the battery, both of which absorb a certain amount of energy before it is capable of causing more damage.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,745 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2012 12:13 PM (in response to ZXA)

    First, back up all data immediately, as your boot drive might be failing.

     

    Take these steps when you notice the problem.

     

    Step 1

     

    Launch the Activity Monitor application in any of the following ways:

     

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

     

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

     

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Activity Monitor in the icon grid.

     

    Select the CPU tab of the Activity Monitor window.

     

    Select All Processes from the menu in the toolbar, if not already selected.

     

    Click the heading of the % CPU column in the process table to sort the entries by CPU usage. You may have to click it twice to get the highest value at the top. What is it, and what is the process? Also post the values for % User, % System, and % Idle at the bottom of the window.

     

    Select the System Memory tab. What values are shown in the bottom part of the window for Page outs and Swap used?

     

    Next, select the Disk Activity tab. Post the approximate values shown for Reads in/sec and Writes out/sec (not Reads in and Writes out.)

     

    Step 2

     

    You must be logged in as an administrator to carry out this step.

     

    Launch the Console application in the same way as above. Make sure the title of the Console window is All Messages. If it isn't, select All Messages from the SYSTEM LOG QUERIES menu on the left.

     

    Post the 50 or so most recent messages in the log — the text, please, not a screenshot.

     

    When posting a log extract, be selective. Don't post more than is requested.

    Please do not indiscriminately dump thousands of lines from the log into a message.

    Important: Some personal information, such as your name, may appear in the log. Edit it out before posting.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,745 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2012 1:35 PM (in response to ZXA)

    Please read this whole message before doing anything.

     

    This procedure is a diagnostic test. It’s unlikely to solve your problem. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.

     

    The purpose of this exercise is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login. Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode* and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:

     

    1. Shut down your computer, wait 30 seconds, and then hold down the shift key while pressing the power button.
    2. When you see the gray Apple logo, release the shift key.
    3. If you are prompted to log in, type your password, and then hold down the shift key again as you click  Log in.

     

    *Note: If FileVault is enabled under OS X 10.7 or later, or if a firmware password is set, or if the boot volume is a software RAID, you can’t boot in safe mode.

     

    Safe mode is much slower to boot than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on certain Macs.

     

    The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.

     

    Test while in safe mode. Same problem(s)?

     

    After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode) and verify that you still have the problem. Post the results of the test.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,745 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 1:23 PM (in response to ZXA)

    Please read this whole message before doing anything.
      
    This procedure is a diagnostic test. It won’t solve your problem. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.
       
    Third-party system modifications are a common cause of usability problems. By a “system modification,” I mean software that affects the operation of other software — potentially for the worse. The following procedure will help identify which such modifications you've installed. Don’t be alarmed by the complexity of these instructions — they’re easy to carry out and won’t change anything on your Mac.

     

    These steps are to be taken while booted in “normal” mode, not in safe mode. If you’re now running in safe mode, reboot as usual before continuing.

     

    Below are instructions to enter some UNIX shell commands. The commands are harmless, but they must be entered exactly as given in order to work. If you have doubts about the safety of the procedure suggested here, search this site for other discussions in which it’s been followed without any report of ill effects.

     

    Some of the commands will line-wrap or scroll in your browser, but each one is really just a single line, all of which must be selected. You can accomplish this easily by triple-clicking anywhere in the line. The whole line will highlight, and you can then either copy or drag it. The headings “Step 1” and so on are not part of the commands.

     

    Note: If you have more than one user account, Step 2 must be taken as an administrator. Ordinarily that would be the user created automatically when you booted the system for the first time. The other steps should be taken as the user who has the problem, if different. Most personal Macs have only one user, and in that case this paragraph doesn’t apply.

     

    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:

     

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

     

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go ▹ Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

     

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the icon grid.

     

    When you launch Terminal, a text window will open with a line already in it, ending either in a dollar sign (“$”) or a percent sign (“%”). If you get the percent sign, enter “sh” and press return. You should then get a new line ending in a dollar sign.

     

    Step 1

     

    Copy or drag — do not type — the line below into the Terminal window, then press return:
    kextstat -kl | awk '!/com\.apple/{printf "%s %s\n", $6, $7}'
     
    Post the lines of output (if any) that appear below what you just entered (the text, please, not a screenshot.) You can omit the final line ending in “$”.

     

    Step 2

     

    Repeat with this line:
    sudo launchctl list | sed 1d | awk '!/0x|com\.(apple|openssh|vix)|edu\.mit|org\.(amavis|apache|cups|isc|ntp|postfix|x)/{print $3}'
     
    This time, you'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning not to screw up. You don't need to post the warning.

     

    Note: If you don’t have a login password, you’ll need to set one before taking this step. If that’s not possible, skip to the next step.

     

    Step 3
    launchctl list | sed 1d | awk '!/0x|com\.apple|edu\.mit|org\.(x|openbsd)/{print $3}'
     
    Step 4
    ls -1A /e*/mach* {,/}L*/{Ad,Compon,Ex,Fram,In,Keyb,La,Mail/Bu,P*P,Priv,Qu,Scripti,Servi,Spo,Sta}* L*/Fonts 2> /dev/null
      
    Important: If you formerly synchronized with a MobileMe account, your me.com email address may appear in the output of the above command. If so, anonymize it before posting.

     

    Step 5
    osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to get name of every login item' 2> /dev/null
     
    Remember, steps 1-5 are all drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste, whichever you prefer — no typing, except your password. Also remember to post the output.

     

    You can then quit Terminal.

  • harman_faiz Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 8, 2012 4:36 PM (in response to ZXA)

    ZXA,

     

    I had the exact same problem. Kernel activity going up to more than 300% and everything else slowing down with the fan at full speed. I did the hardware tests and they showed no faults. As I was about to do a clean install, the MBA quieted down and everything is back to normal now. Whatever was making it go crazy has gone away. I have tried a lot of things before, safe boot, reset PRAM, reset SMC, but nothing worked. As it is now, the mystery is not solved.

     

    Good luck on yours and hope the helpful Linc can provide some insight into the problem.

     

    Cheers,

    Harman

    MBA 13 early 2012

  • harman_faiz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2012 2:32 PM (in response to harman_faiz)

    Unfortunately, the problem came back. I will try to do a clean install and see if it persists.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,745 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 2:43 PM (in response to ZXA)

    The kernel is using excessive processor cycles. Below is a partial list of causes for this condition.

    Thermal overload

    This can be due to accumulation of dust, high ambient temperature, or to the malfunction of a cooling fan or temperature sensor. The kernel tries to compensate by throttling back the CPU's. You might, or might not, see messages like the following in the Console window:

    SMC::smcHandleInterruptEvent WARNING status=0x0 (0x40 not set) notif=0x0
    

    The timestamps of those messages (if any) indicate the times, since the log was last cleared, when a processor was being throttled because of high temperature.

    Note that if the problem is caused by a faulty sensor that reads too high, there may be no actual overheating.

    The Apple Hardware Test, though not very reliable, is sometimes able to detect a bad fan or temperature sensor.

    Using Apple Hardware Test

     

    Encryption

    Transferring large amounts of data to or from an encrypted disk image or FileVault volume puts an extra load on the kernel. If both the source and the destination are encrypted, the load may be doubled. If you transfer data from an encrypted disk image on an encrypted partition to another such image on another encrypted partition, the load may be quadrupled.

    This issue probably doesn't affect late-model Macs with an Intel i-series, recent Xeon, or later processor. Those processors support hardware-accelerated encryption. You can determine what kind of processor you have by selectingAbout This Mac from the Apple menu in the menu bar.

    Installed software

    User-installed software that includes a device driver or other kernel code may thrash the kernel. Some system-monitoring applications, such as "iStat," can also contribute to the problem. You can test for this possibility bycompletely disabling or removing the software according to the developer's instructions, or booting in safe mode (with the shift key held down at the startup chime.) Note, however, that disabling a system modification without removing it or booting in safe mode may not be as easy as you think it is.

    Corrupt NVRAM or SMC data

    In some cases the issue has reportedly been resolved by resetting the NVRAM or the SMC.

  • harman_faiz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2013 6:31 PM (in response to ZXA)

    ZXA,

     

    My problem was finally solved when the Apple guys replaced the top casing of the keyboard. Apparently a sensor issue. All running fine now.

     

    Good luck.

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