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corrupt OS?

3719 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2011 7:06 PM by Ric Lobosco RSS
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Ric Lobosco Calculating status...
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Jun 17, 2009 8:16 AM
I'm seeing an increase in problems over the last 8 months since I got my iBook and installed OS 10.4.11, and am concerned it might be the System that's corrupted.

First problem (took months to learn what exactly was wrong), the System password keychain was corrupted. One of the good folks here guided me through that issue.

Next, after being VERY stable for several months, Firefox started crashing a few months ago, insanely frequently. It seemed to start right after an update. It acted a bit like a memory management problem, but I checked the Activity Monitor, and that's not it. Plus Safari does it, too! Sometimes I'll attempt to launch the app and it will crash instantly, sometimes it crashes when the computer is asleep or idle. It will crash on "simple" websites, with several or a few windows open, with no other apps running. Rebooting sometimes seems to help, but not always. I even deleted everything Firefox, and downloaded a fresh, up-to-date version... still crashes.

Initially, when I would use any of my old apps in Classic mode, this would start the instability problem, which would resolve when I rebooted, but the instability got worse, and Firefox or Safari can crash soon after a reboot, no Classic mode involved.

Last week, Office '08 crashed, and I couldn't launch ANY of its apps. I researched this, and learned that deleting the Preferences would fix this, but not in my case: the app starts to launch, then quits. MS technical support suggested some things (including fresh install), but no success (install failed, they've sent me a new disc). They suggested I try to download a free trial version, but an hour into that download, the browser crashed.

Also, one of the widgets in my Dashboard fell off the desktop. It's still in the dock, so I tried (repeatedly) to drag it back to the desktop, but after a few moments, it falls off again and generates an error report. I searched my install discs for a way to reinstall that, or to find the file on the Apple site or with Google, all with no luck. A day later, ALL the widgets fell off the desktop, but I was eventually able to get them back.

I never experienced a corrupted System or other s/w with previous Macs, and I'm still a neophyte with OSX, but I'm now suspicious of this OS as the culprit. Am I on the right track or not???

If I AM on the right track, and I need to reformat and reinstall everything (Geez, how "Windows"!), I'm lost at finding the files to back up. I've sequestered nearly all my data files into one folder, and found the Firefox bookmarks, etc. But I don't know where the Address Book data is, or Mail, or Keychain, or iTunes. Perhaps there's other files and settings I can back up?

(I need to know this info, to back up, anyway... long over due after 8 months! And I'm thinking of upgrading the HD in the iBook to 320G, so will need to know how to do this then.)

You might imagine how frustrating this is, and how much it interferes with productivity! But I'm reluctant to simply reformat, and go through all that entails, if that's not the problem. Any experience with something like this, anyone???

iBook 1.42GHz G4 (1.5GB, Superdrive), LaserWriter 360 Select/AsanteTalk, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Mike Harrison Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2009 10:58 AM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    Hi Ric...

    As you're obviously in need of some reassurance, and no one else has responded yet, I can tell you that one of the wonderful things about the Mac OS is this thing called 'Archive and Install.' It's a process that allows you to completely restore your OS but WITHOUT losing ANY of your personal data or the various settings. And it doesn't take a half-day to do, either. But as I'm not nearly as well-versed with exactly what steps you need to take and what to be careful of, I'll leave that to someone more qualified. I just wanted you to know your situation will probably be very easily solved, and you shouldn't have to wait too much longer for someone to come to your rescue!

    In the meantime, you can learn more about 'Archive and Install' for Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5 by scrolling about halfway down this page:

    Good luck!
    Power Mac G4 1.25GHz MDD, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 2 GB RAM
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2009 2:32 PM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    Great advice from Mike, just to add...

    Archive & Install, which gives you a new/old OS, but can preserve all your files, pics, music, settings, etc., as long as you have plenty of free disk space and no Disk corruption, and is relatively quick & painless...

    Just be sure to select Preserve Users & Settings.

    To backup your drive...

    I strongly recommend that you get a good Firewire drive to Clone your Internal drive to ASAP!

    Many of those come with Backup SW, or...

    Get carbon copy cloner to make an exact copy of your old HD to the New one...


    Or the most expensive one & my favorite, Tri-Backup...
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
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    Jun 18, 2009 4:02 PM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    I'm not sure why I'd want to back up an OS install that seems to be bad.

    Strictly so when you install a clean OS on the new drive, at first boot you'll have the option to Migrate all your APPs, Users, Data, etc., but Migration Assistant won't see it as an option unless it has some kind of OSX Install on the Drive.

    You can move everything on that drive into a Folder with a Unique name that won't get overwritten, (as long as you choose DON"T ERASE DESTINATION), something like a folder called OldDasta.

    Do these things you suggest allow me to grab these things, without backing up everything on my HD?

    I believe they allow allow you to choose, but I'm most familiar with Tri-Backup which does anything you wish, in fact it confuses some that expect a TV Remote like situation!

    We can work on your present problems, but if you could get a new drive, or a bootable one anyway, it'd be better.

    In fact, if your external is bootable, you could just Install the OS to that and migrate data from the Internal, & boot from the external drive.
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2009 4:47 PM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    If I understand you, I'd copy everything wholesale to the external drive, reformat, re-install the OS and other s/w, then use MA to bring back my data and settings?

    Sort of, move everything on it to a safely named folder, clone without erasing, you can pick many things, it'll move your APPs back too, so you won't need to reinstall them unless they are bad.

    if I understand, I could install OSX on the FW drive, along with Firefox for example, change the Startup Disk to that drive, and test whether the OS (or even iBook HD) is to blame! Am I on the right track???

    Correct, you can hold the Option key down at bootup to select which disk to boot from also... a slick thing about OSX really !

    I could probably use Disk Doctor on it...

    Yikes, not Norton I hope, your best bet is DiskWarrior from Alsoft...

    Give NDD to someone you really dislike!
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2009 5:42 PM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    OK, I install the OS, then use MA to import all that data, settings, AND apps?


    Perhaps I'll freshly install the OS and Firefox on the FW drive, as I mentioned, test it for a few days. *If* this works (and identify that I can resolve my problems), should I use MA to move everything to the external drive, then repeat the process when I get the larger internal drive installed?


    I was thinking of Disk First Aid, in OS9. I guess the OSX version is Disk Utility? Is this not a good program to set-up/repair a HD?

    DU is OK but limited, it won't ruin it like NDD, but may or may not repair it.

    Just got a call about some work next week, so I'll probably go ahead and order the 320GB internal drive, if the FW drive trick works...

    Good news and good luck with the job!

    Thanks again, will let y'all know what develops!!!

    Please do.
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2009 11:49 AM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    I was looking for a choice, WHERE I wanted to install the OS, but several steps into the process, I never saw that dialog...

    I forget exactly where that choice is, but it should be nearly first.

    "Try Disk Utility

    1. Insert the Mac OS X Tiger Install disc that came with your computer, then restart the computer while holding the C key.
    2. When your computer finishes starting up from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu. (In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first.)
    *Important: Do not click Continue in the first screen of the Installer. If you do, you must restart from the disc again to access Disk Utility.*
    3. Click the First Aid tab.
    4. Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the hard drive icon to display the names of your hard disk volumes and partitions.
    5. Select your Mac OS X volume.
    6. Click Repair. Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk."

    Does the FW drive show up in DU from there?
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,835 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 24, 2009 9:59 PM (in response to Ric Lobosco)
    Sounds like a definite Hardware problem at this point.
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