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Screen flashes/Ball spinning

812 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 6, 2013 1:43 PM by Eddie Jr. RSS
Eddie Jr. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 28, 2013 1:24 AM

Does anyone know why my screen occasionally starts to flash for no apparent reason. Usually it stops within a few minutes, but I am curious so I can address any issues. Any help would be appreciated! I have a MacBook 13", 2006 model, 1st generation.


Also a weird ball that looks like a beach ball shows up and starts spinning for a while. When it does this, I am locked out of the main screen. What is going on here? I really need help as I just started on Mac about 5 weeks ago after 25 years in Windows. Any and all help, no matter how trivial, would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 2 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 28, 2013 1:54 AM (in response to Eddie Jr.)

    More information is required to begin troubleshooting. Can you explain how you only started using a Mac five weeks ago, yet it is a 2006 model?


    Back up your documents and everything else important to you, not that there is any reason to believe your hard disk may be failing, but the symptoms you describe may presage an impending disk failure, and you should have backups anyway.


    To help determine the possible causes of this behaviour read the following. None of what follows is intended to fix anything, but it will provide the additional information required to advance troubleshooting:

    Start your Mac while holding the c key with its original grey OS X Install DVD inserted in its optical drive.


    At the Mac OS X Utilities screen, select Disk Utility. Select your startup volume (usually named "Macintosh HD") and click the Repair Disk button. Describe any errors it reports in red.


    When it finishes restart your Mac and test again for operation. If it's still not behaving as you expect it should, please post the results of EtreCheck in accordance with the following instructions:

    Apple Support Communities contributor etresoft wrote a very useful app to quickly gather certain system information that may help point to a cause of this problem. Go to his website, download and run EtreCheck:



    Etrecheck will be in your Downloads folder. Open it from there. You may see the following dialog box:




    Click Open - etresoft contributes to this forum frequently and can be considered a trustworthy developer.


    It will take a moment to run as it collects its data.


    Copy and paste its output in a reply.


    Do not be concerned about anything that says "Problem" or “failed” or anything else that may appear in red.


    EtreCheck was designed to remove any personal information (such as your computer's name and serial numbers) but if you see anything that looks like an email address or any other personal information that should not be divulged to others, please delete or obscure that information when you post the reply.


    When you are finished with EtreCheck, quit the program. It occupies very little space, and you can keep it or drag it to the Trash as you wish.

    After completing the above please determine if the problems also occur in "Safe Mode":


    • Safe Mode or "Safe Boot" is a troubleshooting mode that bypasses all third party system extensions and loads only required system components. Read about it: Starting up in Safe Mode
    • Starting your Mac in Safe Mode will take longer than usual, graphics will not render smoothly, audio is disabled on some Macs, and some programs (iTunes for example) may not work at all.
    • Merely starting your Mac in Safe Mode is not intended to resolve the problem, it's to observe its performance without certain additional components.
    • To end Safe Mode restart your Mac normally. Shutdown will take longer as well.


    MacBooks  iMacs  iPads  AirPorts, OS X Mavericks (10.9),  28 years Apple!
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 11:18 PM (in response to Eddie Jr.)

    Safe Mode results?

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 2, 2013 8:39 AM (in response to Eddie Jr.)

    I think your MacBook is simply being pushed to its limit with only 1.5 GB memory. You would most likely benefit by installing its maximum, 2 GB.


    Google Chrome in particular is a notorious resource hog that will perform poorly without an abundance of RAM. More memory is always beneficial, but it is not a panacea since it doesn't fix poorly written programs. If you choose to run resource-demanding apps such as Chrome, you will eventually need to upgrade your hardware.


    Purchase RAM from a vendor known to supply Mac-compatible memory. At present there are only two I have used and can personally recommend, Crucial and OWC / MacSales. Generic PC-compatible RAM often does not meet Apple's stringent specifications and may fail immediately or sporadically at any time.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPads  AirPorts, OS X Mavericks (10.9),  28 years Apple!
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 2, 2013 2:29 PM (in response to Eddie Jr.)

    You should go to Crucial's web site and order it directly from them, not from Amazon:



    Crucial sells Mac compatible RAM in packages like this, bearing the words Mac Compatible and with the Mac logo:





    After you install it run Apple Hardware Test. Run the extended tests. If it passes then it's probably OK.


    If the memory you bought from Amazon doesn't work they will take it back.


    Your hard disk isn't large by today's standards but there is no pressing need to replace it.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPads  AirPorts, OS X Mavericks (10.9),  28 years Apple!


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